6 biblical facts about Michael the archangel
Next to Gabriel and Satan, Michael is probably the most famous angelic being in the Bible. And since we find angels so fascinating, there’s been lots and lots of talk about Michael through the centuries. He’s become such a legendary character, it’s often hard to discern whether what we’ve learned about Michael is from the Bible or elsewhere.
We know that Michael is an archangel, but what does that mean? What has he accomplished, what are his responsibilities, and where does he fit into God’s heavenly host?
Legend is interesting, but we need to know what the inspired Word of God says.
7 biblical facts about the archangel Michael:
1. Michael is the only one the Bible calls an archangel
We’re told Michael’s title in Jude 9. The Greek word for “archangel” (archággelos) means “chief angel” or “chief messenger.” The word “archangel” isn’t use to describe him in the Old Testament, but another angel calls him one of the chief princes (Dan 10:13).
Calling Michael “one of the chief princes” implies that Michael has peers. However, if there are any other archangels, the Bible doesn’t tell us who they are.
2. Michael stands guard over Israel
In Daniel’s last vision, an angel describes how the last days will play out for the Jews. It is at this time that Michael, “the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people will arise” (Dan 12:1). The angel also refers to Michael as Daniel’s prince (Dan 10:21). The Bible doesn’t say what “standing guard” entails, but it’s very clear that Michael has special responsibilities for Israel.
3. Michael directly opposes Satan
Jude mentions that Michael argues with Satan about the body of Moses (a nod to a Jewish tradition). Unfortunately, we’re not given any more information on what that argument was about. Jude does tell us that Michael wasn’t so bold as to pronounce a “railing judgment” (the Greek word for “railing” is often translated “blasphemous” or “defaming”) against the devil. What he does say is interesting enough to merit a fact to itself . . .
4. Michael only says four words in the Bible
Well, three Greek words that are often translated into four English words. In Jude 9, Michael says to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you!”
5. Michael is a military commander of some angels
In John’s apocalypse, he sees a great war in heaven: Michael and his angels vs. the dragon (Satan) and his angels. The devil and his forces are too weak to remain in heaven, however, and so they are all thrown down to earth (Rev 12:7–9).
6. Michael battles the patron angels of other nations
In Daniel chapter 10, the prophet fasts, humbling himself before God and praying for understanding regarding the Jews’ future. An angel finally appears to him 21 days later, and explains the delay: the “prince of Persia” had been opposing him the whole time, and it wasn’t until Michael relieved the angel that he could continue his trip to Daniel. The angel stays with Daniel long enough to give an outline of future events for the Jews, but must return to fighting the prince of Persia (and the prince of Greece will soon join the fight, too). Only Michael supports this angel against these forces (Dan 10:21).
As it turns out, the Bible doesn’t say very much about Michael the archangel. Most of what we’ve heard is probably derived from extrabiblical sources. That might frustrate our curiosity—then again, God didn’t have to reveal anything about Michael, the existence of archangels, etc. But God has graciously given us a glimpse at behind-the-scenes actions and personalities in the spiritual realm.
Still, angels are fascinating, and the mystery of Michael the archangel will probably give my imagination a lot of exercise for years to come.
Want to know more? I’d suggest reading the book of Daniel—this book mentions Michael more than any other book of the Bible.
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I am so glad to have read this article. It is a reasuring one that clears doubt about Jesus Christ and Michael I thank you so much and I will keep reading more of your work
I was reading the portion of scripture in Daniel about Michael. As a holy angel, he must reflect God’s holiness, righteousness and glory and be extremely beautiful, powerful and awe-inspiring. Just like when you see one of these beautiful, strong, huge powerful horses. They have some kind of a royal air to them, an elegance. I think Michael might be similar to that, but thousands of times more. I´m glad we cannot see him nor other angels, nor don´t know more about them, because the weak mind of the flesh could easily err greatly and worship them, as some do.
Christ is the effulgence of God´s glory and the express image of God´s substance, …through whom God made the universe! Thank God for Michael, but praise and worship to Jesus, the Lord of lord and Kings of kings, the Word of God!
Thank you for this wonderful article and the information. Be blessed. May God continue to bless your ministry and use it for His Kingdom and Glory.
In Hebrew the name Michael means “like God.” The bible has scripture about Jesus leading the angels. At Daniel 12 Michael is called the chief of the angels in some versions, the great Prince in other versions. Like God, Great Prince; makes it seem like maybe Jesus and Michael are one and the same.
Joan, I realize that I am months late on this, but really wanted to clear your confusion up. Jesus and Michael are not one and the same. Satan tempted Jesus when He was a man that had laid aside His divinity. After the resurrection, satan was in no way equal to Jesus. Daniel actually calls Michael one of the chief princes in Daniel 10:13. I believe that the Hebrew name, Michael, means “who is like God?”
Do you think Michael is the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 ?
My interest in Michael the archangel was sparked by a bronze sculpture that portrayed a strong mighty warrior and not a feminine figure with flowing blond hair and pretty eyes. I’m much more comforted by the former! Thanks for the info.
thanks for shedding light on the subject of Michael it helped clear some things in my mind thank you
The Bible doesn’t say Michael is in charge of “some of the angels” Does the author think that some would be missing in Dan 12:7-9? Dan. 10:13 can be just as easily said as Michael, the Chief one of princes. How can one be chief and not be over all? How does Michael stand up for God’s people and not be Jesus, as Jesus is the only one capable of standing up for God’s people? If Jesus comes with the voice of an archangel, how would Jesus need anyone to help him call out, when he does indeed call out from the memorial tombs. I Thess 4:16, John 5:25,28. If Jesus is a or the Son of God, why can’t he be an angel if all angels are called sons of God. Job 1:6. If Jesus is the bright and morningstar of Rev. 22:16, why can’t he be an angel since all angels are morningstars? Job 38:7 If Michael cannot rebuke the Devil in Jude 9 and gives that power only to God, and Jesus cannot rebuke the Devil in Matt. and Luke 4 and can only quote what God says to do, why can’t Michael be Jesus since he can NOW rebuke the Devil in Rev. 12: 7-9?
I’m not a bible student nor do I claim to know more of the bible than anyone else but I can answer or clatify some of the questions or statements noted by harrydunn. If I’m interpreting what you are trying to say by ‘How does Michael stand up for God’s people …’ is correct, Michael is not the only name in the Bible that stands up for God’s people. Throughout the Bible God has anointed chosen people to stand up for His people. Jesus is the only person who was pure and Holy and only through the Blood of Jesus can we receive salvation. Jesus is the only Son of God who forms part of the Holy Trinity and humans are the children of God. I don’t see where in Job1:6 it says angels are the sons of God. Michael rebuke Satan in the ‘name of the Lord which means he rebuke him in the name of Jesus so it doesn’t make sense that Michael is Jesus. There is something very important we need to understand. When Jesus was on earth, he was human. Jesus prayed daily to God because He knew He could only fulfil His purpose with God’s guidance and strength, He slept, He bleed when He was wounded, He felt pain, etc just like humans and only after His resurrection did Jesus claim His Holy authority whereby demons can be cast out in His name. Another important fact we need to note is angels do not have authority on earth to rebuke satan that’s why in Jude1v9 Michael had to rebuke satan in the name of the Lord and in Rev 12 v7-9 this took place in heaven where Michael did have authority. Doing something ‘the name of’ shows the authority figure. The Bible clearly states in John 14 v6-14 that God the Father and Jesus the Son is one and it’s only through the Blood of Jesus we can be saved.
Very interesting. Thank you for these facts. I love angels especially St. Michael.
I loved reading this. I find the mystery of the angels something I look forward to uncovering when I get to heaven. The descriptions God provides in his word of them are fascinating and hard for me to imagine.
And I am glad that you have shared where to see what God said about Michael. I’ve not read Jude in quite some time, and I look forward to revisiting that book as I read through the Bible this year.
This is really good. Thank you for sharing your time in the Word with us. Can I get on the email list to ‘follow’ you?
Thanks for the encouragement, Kelli. At the top right-hand corner of this page, you’ll see an invitation to “Get updates” (the big orange button). Put your email address in the field above it, and you’ll be all set!