[Quotes from the Watchtower, including their New World Translation, are in blue.]
This is the question the Watchtower [hereafter WT] means to answer in their article, Who is Michael the Archangel? (Awake! 2/8/02; p. 16). The WT admits, “there is no statement in the Bible that categorically identifies Michael the archangel as Jesus…” but they close the article with, “Yet, the Scriptures point to the resurrected Jesus Christ as the chief of all angels – Michael the archangel.” The WT is wrong. The WT has published a number of articles on the subject over the years and it seems the articles are getting shorter; this one is very short. The brevity is no doubt due to lack of sound evidence that will stand up to scrutiny, yet the WT continues to identify Michael the Archangel with Jesus.
The fact of the matter is the WT needs Jesus to be Michael. Here’s why:
The WT agrees with the Christian Church that Jesus Christ existed prior to his human birth in Bethlehem, but it refuses to acknowledge that as the Son of God he had God’s very Nature. The WT’s dilemma is, then: if, before he was born in Bethlehem, he wasn’t human, and he wasn’t God, what else could he be? Their solution: he had to be an angel!! - this against clear biblical evidence that he wasn’t, and isn’t, an angel.
Let’s look at that evidence.
But first, how important is this discussion, anyway? Jesus said, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins" (John 8:24 NIV). To die in one’s sins -- that’s serious! This discussion is very important! So whom does the Bible say Jesus is, and whom does it say he isn’t?
Heb. 1:5-8, 13,14:
“For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’? Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God's angels worship him.’ In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.’ But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom….
“To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’”
Clearly, Jesus is contrasted to, not identified with, angels; any angel! He is greater than all angels. Hebrews has been called ‘the Book of Better Things’: Jesus is better than the angels, chapter 1; better than Moses, chapter 3; better than the Old Testament priests, chapter 4:14,15.., and so forth.
This first chapter of Hebrews, then, excludes the possibility that Jesus is Michael. Isn’t it odd that this Awake article totally ignores this chapter, which deals so specifically with the question at hand?
Hebrews chapter 1 contains the plainest declaration that Jesus is not an angel, but there is additional evidence:
Angels refused worship, see Rev. 19:10; Rev. 22:8-9. [“worship” in Greek is “proskuneo”]. John, the writer of Revelation, says, “I fell at his [the angel’s] feet to worship him.” But he [the angel] said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! ..." This scenario is repeated in chapter 22. The angel’s response is the same, “Do not do it!” Angels refused worship!
Jesus, however, accepted worship [proskuneo]: Matthew 14:33; Matthew 28:9,17; Luke 24:52, etc.
Indeed, in Hebrews 1:6 God commands angels to worship [proskuneo] Jesus.
It’s worth noting that from 1950 through about 1971 the New World Translation translated “proskuneo” uniformly, “worship”, whether for the Father or the Son. But later editions began to arbitrarily translate proskuneo “obeisance” where a passage has reference to the Son, while continuing to translate proskuneo, “worship”, where it has reference to the Father. The same Greek word! The WT’s ambivalence about Heb. 1:6 is due also to the fact that Heb. 1:6 is a quote from Psalm 97:7 where it is “Jehovah” who is being worshipped. [See the 1950 edition of the New World Translation where a footnote links Heb. 1:6 to Psalm 97:7.]
In Matt. 4:10 Jesus said, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” It is therefore significant that Jesus was worshiped. This is no contradiction. Angels are not to be worshiped; God alone is to be worshiped. When God commands angels to worship Jesus it tells us who Jesus is, and Who He is not!
This creates a problem for the Jehovah’s Witnesses who will not let God’s Word stand, and who hold to their faulty premise that Jesus cannot be God and therefore must be an angel. Dear Jehovah’s Witness, we pray that God’s Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see who Jesus is, the Son of God and therefore God by nature, worthy of worship.
In an attempt to show that since Michael is an “outstanding angel” who must be Jesus, this Awake article states “Michael confronts Satan in a dispute over Moses’ body." (Jude 9)
This verse needs to be read in its context to see what the WT has left out. The context has to do with the sin and doom of godless men who among other things “reject authority and slander celestial beings” (v 8). Verse 9 then reads, “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (The same thought occurs in 2 Pet 2:11, “yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.”) So, Michael “confronted” Satan as the WT says, but he, being an angel, did not dare to rebuke Satan.
Jesus, on the other hand, personally rebuked Satan. In Matt 4:10, Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan!” He rebuked Satan on other occasions too. Jesus is Lord! The mighty angels, including Michael, who is “one of the chief princes”, know their place.
We do not dispute that Michael is an outstanding angel. We dispute that that makes him Jesus.
Finally, let us look at a very interesting chapter that the Awake article barely touches on - Daniel 10. The WT cites Daniel 10:13, but does not quote it. The only point the WT makes from the verse is that Michael is “fighting wicked demons”. We quote verse 13 in full: “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.”
Please open your Bible to Daniel 10, and let us look at this passage in context.
Starting at verse 4 Daniel describes a vision of “a man.” We encourage the reader to compare the description of this “man” with the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:12-20, as seen by John, the writer of the Revelation. The inescapable likeness between the two descriptions, of Daniel and of John, is amazing! Also strikingly similar is the effect the “man” had on Daniel and John, respectively. Both Daniel and John fell down, and in each case the “man” touched them and told them, “Do not be afraid.”
Rev. 1:17-18, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
[See the full comparison in our companion article, “Jesus in Daniel and Revelation”]
What does this have to do with Michael? Well, read on as this “man” in the vision continues speaking to Daniel.
(Daniel 10:12…):“Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 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. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.’ While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless.”
The further conclusion: The speaker is Jesus, and since he refers to “Michael” coming to help “me,” Jesus and Michael are NOT one and the same. Jesus is not Michael!
Remember, the WT merely cites two verses from this passage, Daniel 10:13 and 12:1. Can we really believe that they have not read the entire section?
Now let’s continue; look at Daniel 12:1 in context. The same speaker is still speaking; in fact he is so prominent that the entire passage to the end of the Book of Daniel, are his words! Including verse 12:1, where he again refers to Michael as another personage, “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise…”
Again, the “man” in this vision has to be Jesus! Jesus refers to Michael and is thereby differentiated from Michael. Jesus is not Michael.
Once again we remind you of what Jesus said, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins." John 8:24.
Dear Friend, will you listen to Jesus’ claims as to who he is, or will you die in your sins? Our continual prayer is that you will believe in the Son of God, your Savior who shed his blood for you.
Written by Greta Olsoe