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Michael

MICHAEL

mi'-ka-el, mi'-kel (mikha'el, "who is like God?" Michael):

(1) The father of Sethur the Asherite spy (Numbers 13:13).

(2) (3) Two Gadites (1 Chronicles 5:13,14).

(4) A name in the genealogy of Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:40 (Hebrew 25)).

(5) A son of Izrahiah of Issachar (1 Chronicles 7:3).

(6) A Benjamite (1 Chronicles 8:16).

(7) A Manassite who ceded to David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:20).

(8) The father of Omri of Issachar (1 Chronicles 27:18).

(9) A son of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 21:2).

(10) The father of Zebediah, an exile who returned with Ezra (Ezra 8:8 parallel 1 Esdras 8:34).

(11) "The archangel" (Jude 1:9). Probably also the unnamed archangel of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is Michael. In the Old Testament he is mentioned by name only in Daniel. He is "one of the chief princes" (Daniel 10:13), the "prince" of Israel (Daniel 10:21), "the great prince" (Daniel 12:1); perhaps also "the prince of the host" (Daniel 8:11). In all these passages Michael appears as the heavenly patron and champion of Israel; as the watchful guardian of the people of God against all foes earthly or devilish. In the uncanonical apocalyptic writings, however, Jewish angelology is further developed. In them Michael frequently appears and excretes functions similar to those which are ascribed to him in Daniel. He is the first of the "four presences that stand before God"--Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel or Phanuel (En 9:1; 40:9). In other apocryphal books and even elsewhere in En, the number of archangels is given as 7 (En 20:1-7; Tobit 12:15; compare also Revelation 8:2). Among the many characterizations of Michael the following may be noted:

He is "the merciful and long-suffering" (En 40:9; 68:2,3), "the mediator and intercessor" (Ascension of Isaiah, Latin version 9:23; Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Levi 5; Da 6). It is he who opposed the Devil in a dispute concerning Moses' body (Jude 1:9). This passage, according to most modern authorities, is derived from the apocryphal Assumption of Moses (see Charles' edition, 105-10). It is Michael also who leads the angelic armies in the war in heaven against "the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan" (Revelation 12:7). According to Charles, the supplanting of the "child" by the archangel is an indication of the Jewish origin of this part of the book.

The earlier Protestant scholars usually identified Michael with the preincarnate Christ, finding support for their view, not only in the juxtaposition of the "child" and the archangel in Revelation 12, but also in the attributes ascribed to him in Daniel (for a full discussion see Hengstenberg, Offenbarung, I, 611-22, and an interesting survey in English by Dr. Douglas in Fairbairn's BD).

John A. Lees


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'MICHAEL'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.