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Is Jesus the Archangel Michael?

Charles Taze Russell and Joseph F. Rutherford established the Jehovah's Witnesses in the late 1870s. The group emerged from Pittsburgh, PA, and published their beliefs through the Watchtower Tract Society. Russell, raised in Presbyterian orthodoxy, disputed many ideas of mainstream Christianity, including the immortality of the soul, hellfire, predestination, the fleshly return of Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and the burning up of the world.

Among the most significant disagreements between mainline Christianity and the JWs concerns the person of Jesus Christ and Michael the archangel. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Michael to be another name for Jesus in heaven, in His pre-human and post-resurrection existence. They say the definite article in Jude 9, referring to Michael the archangel, identifies Michael as the only archangel. Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the archangel Michael is “the Word” of John 1:1, and the wisdom personified in Proverbs chapter 8 is Jesus.

The name Michael is used five times in the Bible to designate a celestial being (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7). It is crucial to understand that at no place in the Bible is Michael explicitly identified with Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus is undoubtedly never identified as an angel. In Hebrews, chapters 1 through 3, the author demonstrates that Jesus is superior to the prophets, angels, and Moses. Scripture shows that Jesus is the definitive revelation of God (1:1-2), the Creator of the universe (1:2), and the precise inscription of God’s nature (1:3). After explicitly stating He is “much superior to angels,” the author of Hebrews writes, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you ‘?” The clear answer to this theoretical question is that God never said that to any angel. Mark 1:11 expresses this truth when documenting God the Father saying directly to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with You, I am well pleased.”

Hebrews 1:6 declares that the angels worship Jesus. This reality leads to the logical question of how a created being would qualify for receiving worship. A created life cannot receive worship. When the apostle John fell at an angel’s feet to offer him worship, the angel said, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Revelation 19:10).

Hebrews 1:8-12 makes it copiously clear the reason angels worship Jesus. It is because He is God Almighty. The information of Hebrews 1 leads to the conclusion that Jesus cannot be a mere created angel - even the archangel Michael.

Michael, the archangel, is conceivably the highest-ranking of all the angels. Michael is the only angel in the Bible with the description of “the archangel” (Jude verse 9). Michael, the archangel, though, is only an angel. He is not God.

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