[Below are the notes for tonight's message by Pastor Joel on Michael the Archangel, which is part of his Angelology series. Enjoy! PTL!]
A good starting place for a study on Michael would have to be Jude 1. This is a letter written for the Jews who will be going through the Tribulation. The purpose of the epistle can be found in verse 3: "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” The phrase, “Contend for the faith, which was once delivered,” to me, has a dispensational ring to it, basically, returning to the gospel of the kingdom after it had been set aside with that little period of grace, you know. They’ll be going back to the gospel of the kingdom once proclaimed to the nation of Israel by the Lord and the twelve disciples. The Lord says in Matt. 24:14 that during the Tribulation, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” So the Jews, the believing remnant, will be during the Tribulation, “contending for the faith” or “fighting for the faith” or “struggle for the faith”, which is their faith in Christ with the framework of the gospel of the kingdom, and so the secondary theme of the letter is how they will contend for the faith by dealing with false teachers. The first 16 verses tells us why they should contend for the faith and the last few verse explains how they should. So you could break the letter down into two halves – why they should contend for the faith (because of apostate teachers) and how they should to contend for the faith (building themselves up in the faith, praying in the Spirit, keeping themselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, having compassion, and endeavoring to save others with fear, pulling them out of the fire…) And it’s in this context we get the reference to Michael in vs. 9.
Let’s start in vs. 8. Jud 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Jude is making the point that these apostate false teachers are filthy dreamers (Jeremiah talks a lot about false brethren whose words sprang from nothing more than the imagination of their evil hearts). These men defile the flesh, despise authority, and speak evil of dignities. And in this context of dealing with these filthy-dreaming, apostate, false teachers that brings us to 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
We have here “Michael the archangel.” We made the point last week that only Michael is identified as being an archangel. “Archangel” means “over angel,” “chief angel,” or “the prince of angels.” There is definitely a definite article in Jude, which means there is only one archangel in all the heavenly host, and that archangel is Michael. We pointed out last week also that the angel in Daniel 10, which we’re going to read tonight, doesn’t call Michael the archangel but describes him as “one of the chief princes…” This would seem to imply that there is a leadership team of chief princes, a leadership team of angels, who are over the heavenly host. And yet, amongst that leadership team, there would still be structure and a ranking between those head angels. Michael is the archangel and yet, he is also part of the leadership team of angels, one of the chief princes of the heavenly host. So I think it’s possible that Michael is the head of all angels and that Gabriel is “a chief prince,” a member of the leadership team of angels over the heavenly host, and he may well be the second in command.
Here in Jude vs. 9, we have this insertion into this overall narrative on false teachers about Michael contending with the devil over the body of Moses. I would just make the point again that when we read about an angel in a story, the point of that story is never about the angel. The angel exists in that story to serve a greater narrative that God is trying to convey. They’re never in a story to make a point about themselves but to serve the greater spiritual point that God Himself is trying to make in that story. This story exists in a narrative about false teachers. So the point of this story is not to highlight the fact that Michael actually contended with Satan over the body of Moses. That’s secondary.
The bigger point was how he dealt with Satan which was the fact that he durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. The point wasn’t the fact that there was this conflict or to even provide any details about that conflict. The point was how Michael handled Satan himself, which was to avoid railing accusations. He didn’t personally condemn the devil with screaming passion springing from his own righteous indignation. He simply cited the Word of Truth, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That’s it. We believers all look at that verse and think, “Wow! I would love to know more about this story!” But it would seem that the Holy Spirit felt that getting into the details of that story would’ve taken the reader too far off track from the point of that story, which was to avoid railing accusations in their own struggles with false teachers. He durst not bring a railing accusation against Satan, not because Michael was intimidated, as some say, or that he still recognized in Satan what he once was as a great and glorious Cherubim, but I think it’s because it wasn’t Michael’s role to judge Satan. That role is reserved for God, which is why he cites the Lord and only says, “The Lord rebuke thee.”
We, like Michael, must bring His Word into any spiritual conflicts, not our own words. I would just point out that my dearly beloved David Reid made the case last night that the body of Moses was a reference to the nation of Israel as a whole and that the contention was over Satan accusing the brethren and that Michael had some words to say about that. Anything David says is worthy of consideration. Here's the link to that message. I would only add this. When we read tonight Daniel 10, we’ll be given a glimpse into the great spiritual warfare that was raging behind the scenes in the OT, and I think there was spiritual warfare about everything God was doing in the OT, including the time when the Lord Himself personally buried the body of Moses in the first 6 verses of Deut. 34. But I would just reiterate that what that conflict was and when it happened is secondary to the greater point Jude was making about how Michael handled Satan himself, which was to avoid railing accusations and merely cited the Word of Truth, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. These are the only words of Michael that we will read in the entire Word of God, and what’s impressed upon us are not only the words he used but how he used them. And you cannot help but connect his words and his voice with glorious the Rapture of the Church.
Flip over to 1 Thess 4.
1 Thess 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 4:17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
We have in 1 Thess. 4, this great visual here of a future day that we shall all experience. The Lord in all His glory appearing in the clouds with all His saints, and I would highlight that after the study of Cherubims, it may be possible that these clouds are hosts of Cherubims. We have the great emphasis here of the Lord shouting, which is powerful enough to transform all of us into our glorified bodies and raise us all into the clouds to be with Him and all His saints forever. The Lord’s shout brings to mind the moment during His earthly ministry when in Joh_11:43 the Lord “cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” As many preachers have said, if the Lord had not said the name Lazarus, all the dead would have come forth. We don’t know what the Lord will say when He shouts for us but many suggest His words will probably along the same lines as what was said to Lazarus. He may very well be telling all of us in a shout from above to “come forth.” The power of His voice is enough to translate all of us into our glorious bodies and raise us into the clouds to be gathered together with the Lord. That voice we’ll hear is the same voice that had enough power to speak the entire universe into existence, and that same voice will shout for all of us to come forth to be with Him forever. I suspect He’ll shout not out of necessity but out of His great excitement and power to bring us all together forever.
And yet, while we read about the Lord shouting, we only read about the voice of Michael the archangel. The Lord shouts but Michael only speaks. We are not told what Michael will say or to whom he is speaking but comparing Scripture with Scripture, comparing these passages with Jude, would it not seem likely that Michael the Archangel, the chief angel, the head over the entire heavenly host, would he not be calmly and confidently telling the demonic realm, “The Lord rebuke thee”? Would not the mention of his voice imply that since we’ll still be in enemy territory in the spiritual realm, Michael will likewise be rebuking the demonic realm in a similar way in order to clear a path of safety for us to fly to Heaven? In other words, “all you demons, you better stay back or else,” because nothing will interfere with God’s will in the gathering of His saints. We’ll be fully protected by the mighty Heavenly host. We may even see Michael! And if the word “clouds” may possibly be references to hosts of Cherubims, who are the most powerful beings in all of creation, wouldn’t it be likely that the demonic realm won’t even try to engage in battle just as the demonic realm didn’t even try to stop Gabriel from reaching the earth to talk to Daniel in Daniel 9? Not a chance. There’s no point in heading into a battle you know you’ll lose.
But we know from Jude and elsewhere that Michael has already gone toe to toe with Satan himself. He did it alone, and Satan was always defeated. Michael also dealt with high-ranking demons in Daniel 10, and they were defeated. Michael will likely face Satan again at the Rapture, and Satan will be stopped once more. And this brings us to our next reference to Michael. Turn to Rev. 12.
We’re at the half-way point, 3 ½ years into the Tribulation, and there is war in Heaven. Michael will face Satan and his angels, and they’ll be defeated. Look at vs. Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (We have to read a few more verses because they’re just totally epic.) Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
One question I always had about these verses was, “If God says that Satan is going to attack Heaven and lose, then why does Satan still try to attack Heaven?” Let me ask a question. Who was the instigator of this war in Heaven? Was it Michael or the devil? Notice very carefully the wording here. Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. I learned from Bullinger last year that Satan wasn’t the one who started this war in Heaven. It’s not that the dragon attacked Michael and his angels in Heaven. It’s that Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. And the dragon fought back. And the dragon prevailed not, and they were cast down to the Earth. This war was started by Michael and his angels. This moment, like much of the Tribulation, is God going on the offensive, and at 3 ½ years, this is the appointed time in Heaven for Satan to be cast down to the Earth. When John writes “heaven,” I suspect this is meant to encompass all of Heaven, the first, second, and third heaven. God ordered Michael and his angels to send Satan to the Earth. Michael, and all those mighty Cherubims and other angels, did a clean sweep of the first, second, and third heaven, and sent Satan and his angels packing to the Earth. Cast out of all heavenly places.
This is the moment when Satan becomes Prince of the Power of the Air no more. Michael and his angels attack. Satan is outnumbered, outpowered, and although he tries, he will be helpless in stopping God’s overwhelming heavenly force. This stirs up his anger. He knows his time is short, and there’s nothing he can do to stop the inevitable. Bullinger wrote, “This reveals the fact that the initiative will be taken by Michael, and not by the Dragon: a very important point in the interpretation. The time has come in the Divine counsels for this great event of the ages. Satan, who has hitherto had access to the heavens is at length to be cast out.” Vs 8 says that the dragon and his angels prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. Bullinger would write, “The great object with which that war is waged will be accomplished.” In other words, God initiated that battle because, we have reached the very point in human history in which Satan will be the Prince of the Power of the Air no more. Then we have the glorious proclamation in vs. 10 of the coming kingdom: “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
Let’s go back to Daniel. Turn to Daniel 10. We have 2 references to Michael in Daniel 10 and 1 reference in Daniel 12. Daniel 10, 11, and 12 all go together. Daniel 10 is the introduction to the interpretation of his final vision. The explanation of his final vision starts in chapter 11 and goes all the way to the fourth verse of chapter 12. All of this starts in chapter 10 with a vision of the Lord. After it’s over, this event ends with a vision of the Lord talking to two angels and then the Lord has a few words for Daniel. I found these to be incredibly difficult chapters. I read Gaebelein’s commentary, Joel Finck’s commentary on Daniel, vol. 2, and a number of articles and books on the Searchable Riches drive, and I readily admit, I don’t fully understand everything. But one thing I know, Daniel 11 is one of the most detailed and extensive prophecies in all the book of Daniel, which includes a vision of the antichrist.
Dan 10:4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel (Tygris); 10:5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz (oo-fawz): 10:6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. I didn’t have to read commentaries to realize this had to be a vision of the Lord Himself. How can you not think of the similar descriptions of the Lord in Rev. 1?
In vs. 5 this “certain man” was “clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold”. How can you not think of what John also wrote of the Lord in Rev. 1:13 that the Lord was “clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” Daniel would write in vs. 6 that “his eyes as lamps of fire”. John would also write that his eyes “were as a flame of fire” (Rev. 1:14). Daniel would write that “his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass”. John would also write that “his feet [were] like unto fine brass” (Rev. 1:15). Daniel would write that “the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude”. John would also write that “his voice [was] as the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:15). The reaction by Daniel and John being in the presence of the Lord is nearly identical. Look at what Daniel says in vs. 9. Dan 10:9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. John would write nearly the same thing. He’d write in Rev 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. We cannot comprehend what it would be like, as human being, to come into a vision of the Lord in all His glory. We would hit the ground, our faces flat on the ground, prostrating ourselves as much as humanly possible just for being in His presence, which is so overwhelming we’d all be as dead men before Him!
And I can’t help but wonder, if at the Rapture, will we see the Lord in all His glory just as Daniel and John had described Him? And when He speaks to us, will we not also experience for ourselves what Daniel and John wrote, that His voice was like unto the voice of a multitude? We don’t know. But I wonder. I also cannot help but wonder if we, in our glorified bodies, will also somehow prostrate ourselves like Daniel and John just because we are in His presence? There won’t be a ground for us to fall onto, but will we somehow be bowing, all prostrating ourselves in some fashion, when we’re all together before Him?
The Lord spoke words to Daniel. We don’t know what He said. God sends an angel to give an interpretation of that vision. Daniel waits 21 days. The angel arrives. He speaks of spiritual warfare and of Michael, which we’ll talk about in a minute. But then the angel explains in great detail in chapter 11 all the way to the 4th verse of chapter 12, the interpretation of that vision. But let’s look more closely at the angel’s delay in getting to Daniel in person. I think the angel’s appearance begins in Dan 10:10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. 10:11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 10:13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 10:14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
Look down at Dan 10:20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. Evidently, after he gives the interpretation of what the Lord said in Daniel’s vision of Him, he’s going to go back to get involved in that fight with the demonic prince of Persia. Why? Because Michael’s still up there fighting with him! Look at Dan 10:21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. Now, I readily admit that I don’t fully understand this verse. The angel says that he is going to show that which is noted in the scripture of truth and there is much debate about that. Some say that the Scripture of Truth are Scriptures that exist in Heaven. Some say it’s the divine will that would become Scripture. Personally, I think the simplest answer is probably the best one. I would guess that Daniel, while he was waiting those 21 days for the angel to come, he sat down and wrote the first half of this chapter about the vision of the Lord, and the angel is already calling it Scripture. Come on, who wouldn’t be excited about that vision and want to immediately sit down and write about it? I absolutely would! Then he says, there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. There were no two commentaries that had the same take on this expression. I take it to mean that this angel and Michael are both engaged in hardcore spiritual warfare for the sake of presenting this interpretation to Daniel because what they’re about to share is THAT IMPORTANT. It’s so important the demonic realm has come out to fight us and we’re fighting them just so we can get this message to you. So you better listen very carefully. But the bigger point to be made here about the two references to Michael in Daniel 10 is that in vs. 13 he’s called Michael, one of the chief princes and in vs. 21 he’s called Michael your prince.
So what do we know about Michael? We’ve covered that Michael is an archangel. He’s one of the chief princes, and he’s also, essentially, the guardian angel of Israel. So how did guardian angels work in the OT? This story in Daniel 10 is a primary example. If God wanted to send an angel to someone on the earth to give an interpretation to a vision, there would be spiritual warfare about that. The demonic realm would try to prevent God from accomplishing what He was going to accomplish. The story in Jude is another example. When the Lord wanted to personally bury the body of Moses, there was spiritual warfare about that, which required Michael’s intercession to have victory. Israel needed a guardian angel because there was constant warfare about everything God wanted to do, which God never fully reveals. God only hints at this massive amount of warfare behind the curtain in these stories. You consider also that mighty vision we covered in Ezekiel 1 with the Cherubims and those gargantuan wheels that reached from heaven to earth representing Divine government doing God’s will with exact precision, always running perfectly with lightning-like speed in all directions over all the earth with eyes seeing everything everywhere in every direction at all times. In all these stories, God pulls the curtain back into the spiritual realm and we’re only given glimpses of the massive volume of spiritual warfare that took place in the OT, and we’re only given a glimpse into something we can barely comprehend - the massive force of His government.
And, of course, the angel here says in 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. I suspect that the organizational structure of Satan’s army is probably still as it was in the OT in which the demons had varying levels of authority over specific regions of the earth. You had one top demon, the prince of the kingdom of Persia and then there were lower ranked demons who are here called the kings of Persia. I think that these positions held by demons in the spiritual realm is what Paul is referring to in Col. 1:16 when he references thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. And when Paul says in Col. 1:20 that God is going to reconcile all things unto himself, I think he means that He’s going to fill those positions with members of the Body of Christ. Those are our heavenly seats.
So in Daniel 11, we’re given the interpretation in which Alexander the Great conquers the Medes and Persians. He dies young. 32 or 33 years old. His 4 generals divide up the Greek empire and then the interpretation focuses upon in great detail the many conflicts between the king of the north and the king of the south. The king of the north was Syria and then the king of the south was Egypt. Nowhere else in the Bible will you find more fulfilled prophesies in a single chapter than you will in Daniel 11. Finck said there was something like 135 fulfilled prophesies in the first 34 verses, and they are fulfilled right down to the most minute detail. It’s absolutely staggering how perfectly all was foretold when you look at Daniel 11 in light of history. The detail is just jaw-dropping.
And then he gets into the antichrist, which I’ll cover in the next series. Then the interpretation ends with the first 4 verses of Daniel 12. We’re only going to look at Dan 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And the obvious cross reference here is Rev. 12:7-8, when Michael and his angels at the 3 ½ year mark goes on the offensive and casts Satan to the Earth. Whereas Rev. 12:12 would say, Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time, Daniel 12:1 would say, there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. Why is that? Because Satan is mad. He knows his time is up.
I want to close with this beautiful visual. Look at Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Dan 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. Dan 12:6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? Imagine that! You have two angels standing on the banks of the river and the Lord is standing upon the water! How can you not think of Jesus walking on water in Matt. 14? This is the same God of Daniel 12! And the angels ask a question. Notice carefully what that question is: How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? They’re not asking how long until all these prophesies will be fulfilled. They’re asking about how long until the end of the reign of the antichrist. And then Lord gives the answer. Daniel writes in Dan 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. The answer from the Lord was a time, times, and an half – 3 ½ years. The last half of the tribulation, also called The Great Tribulation.
I have no application except to say look at Scripture and be absolutely amazed!