The angel Gabriel foretells what many Christians interpret to be the Great Tribulation, followed by salvation of the saints and the judgment of the wicked.

Daniel 12:1-3

“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.

How is arch-angel Michael standing up for Israel(or the new Israel) and triggering the apocalypse if he is not Jesus himself?

4 Answers 4


First of all you question in logic is known as "an argument from silence." This means that no one can present proof of a negative assertion. Only positive assertions can even possibly be proven and as such only positive assertions bear any burden of proof.

In short, an argument from silence where the conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the existence of evidence. Daniel only mentions Michael the archangel, not Jesus Christ.

Now, I'm going to make a statement, actually a declaration that it is impossible that Jesus Christ is Michael the archangel and vice versa Biblically speaking. The following is what I wrote on this site I think about 2 or 3 years ago.

Yes, it is clear as crystal that the angel of the Lord/Jesus Christ is identified as the Lord God in His pre-existence before His incarnation in the New Testament. In fact, by you quoting Genesis 22;15-16 you have given the best proof of all in the entire Bible IMO. I will be happy to explain why.

Genesis 22:15-17, "Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven." (At Genesis 22:11 was the first time the angel of the Lord called from heaven.) vs16, and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord because you have done this thing, and not withheld your son, your only son, vs17, indeed I will greatly bless you and I will greatly multiply your seed as he stars of the heavens, and the sand which is on the seashore; and you seed shall possess the gate of his enemies."

Please notice from vs16 the words "and said." What did the angel of the Lord say? "By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord etc." The following is from the book of Hebrews in the NT at Hebrews 6:13-16.

"For WHEN GOD made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, HE SWORE BY HIMSELF, vs14, saying, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you." Vs15, And thus, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. Vs16, For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them/men an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute."

Now, it is true that, "The Jewish Law of Agency deals with the status of a person (known as the agent) acting by direction of another (the principal), and thereby legally binding the principal in his connection with a third person.The information I just gave is from the Jewish Law of Agnecy/Shaliach found in the Jewish Encyclopedia, page 232.

However, from the Jewish Virtual Library the law of agency most if not all of the time deals with, "laws of mamonot (commercial law), or (heave offering), sacrifices, divorce, and betrothal etc. According to the Tosefta (Kid, 4:1), Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel agreed that a person appointed to carry out a specific mandate is disqualified from acting as a witness in a case involving such mandate. The agent/Shaliach is not regarded as the principal as himself since the agent is disqualified from testifying as a witness.

Swear means to state under oath. Swearing an oath is a matter of one's own conscience, therefore Angels cannot swear oaths on behalf of God Himself and Jesus Christ is not an angel but rather the "messenger of the Lord." Angels cannot multiply descendants but the angel of the Lord multiplied Hagars descendants at Genesis 16:10.

The angel of the Lord appeared in the burning bush at Exodus 3:2-6 and claimed to be God at vs6. He appeared to Joshua at Joshua 5:13-15 and said at Joshua 6:2, "And the Lord said to Joshua I have given you Jerico. At Judges 2:1, the3 angel of the Lord brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I HAVE SWORN to your fathers, and said I will never break My covenant."

To be sure, I could give many more references where the angel of the Lord intervened on behalf of Isarael and its people as a mediator. Lastly, there is Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me, And the LORD whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts." Who do you think this is? Also read Luke 1:68-79. As a side note, the angel of the Lord never appears in the New Testament as the angel of the Lord, although He is mentioned by Stephen at Acts 7.

The Hebrew word for angel is "malak." It means "Messenger, Sent One, Angel. The context determines how it is used. At Malachi 3:1, God says, I am going to send My angel/messenger, and he will clear the way before Me" This is referring to John the Baptist and John is not an angel. Continuing on with the verse, "And the Lord whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple;" This is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Continuing on. and the malak/angel/messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts." This is referring to "THE" angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ who is not an angel but the "messenger" of the Lord in the OT. As a side note, the prophet Malachi, (a human being) well his name is from the word "malak/messenger." Human prophets are messengers.

Now, the poster of this thread (SLM) immediately quoted Genesis 22:15-16 wanting to know, the identity of the angel of the Lord. When I address this issue, I use or post Genesis 22:15-16 last and then I quote Hebrews 6:13-17 which backs up the identity of the angel of the Lord as God. Why? Because it is God who swore the oath to Abraham and at Genesis it's the angel of the Lord who swore the oath, which means that the angel of the Lord is not an actual angel because it is proven from these text angels can't swear oaths on behalf of God. That's also why the text says God swore the oath, "By Myself."

Now, Anne ask a legitimate question from Genesis 22:15-16, but it was a question in isolation as it relates to the angel of the Lord. Personally, I always start this issue with Genesis 16:7. Why? Because this is the first mention of the angel of the Lord as the angel of the Lord.

He says to Hagar at Genesis 16:8, "Where have you come from and where are you going? At vs9, TAOL says, "Return to Sarai. Vs, TAOL says, "moreover, I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count." At vs11, he says, "Behold, you are with child and describes the child as a wild donkey of a man. In today's context Ishmael is the progenitor of the Arabs.

At vs13 Hagar says, "Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "Thou are a God who sees; for she said, "Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him." Now watch this? Genesis 17:1-5, "Now when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to him. (this was a physical appearance).

I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. Vs2, And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly. Vs3, "And Abraham fell on his face and God talked with him, saying, Vs4, "As for Me, behold My covenant is with you, And you shall the father of a multitude of nations. Vs5, No longer shall you name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the Father of a multitude of nations."

So here's the question? Is the being that multiplied Hagar's descendants the same being who multiplied Abraham's descendants? The reason I know this was a physical appearance of God is from Genesis 17:22, "And when He finished talking with him/Abraham, God went up from Abraham."

The angel of the Lord also appeared (physically) again to Abraham at Genesis 18 along with two actual angels. All through Genesis 18 God and Abraham have an interesting conversation which you can read for yourselves. At Genesis 18:33, (the last verse) says, "And as soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed; and Abraham returned to his place. What about the two angels? Genesis 19:1, "Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening etc."

So now we know who the angel of the Lord is and who he is not? He is not Michael the archangel because all the text disqualify him. Also, according to Revelation 10:5-6 an actual angel can swear oaths. "And the angel whom I say standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, vs6, and swore BY HIM WHO LIVES FOREVER, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there shall be delay no longer." What comes to my mind is John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10 and Revelation 3:14. 

  • You have reasoned logically and even though you have admitted that Jesus is referred to as the angel of the Lord in the old testament or Malak in Jewish, there are also thousands of new testament references that call him God. I have left an upvote +1 Apr 3 at 2:52
  • @Mr.Bond Thank you for this respectful answer, appreciate that. However, I sense a bit of a disconnect here. You say you will prove Biblically that Michael can't be Jesus but then go on to provide evidence that Jesus is the angel of the Lord. Then you just say the the text disqualifies Jesus from being Michael. Remember, groups like SDA take Michael to be Jesus as well, while at the same time believing He is the uncreated logos. Also what would you say about Zech 3:2 alluding to Jude 9? Apr 3 at 14:45
  • Thanks! You misunderstand. The Hebrew word for angel is "malak," and that word simply means messenger. Actual angels are messengers and so are men. Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I am going to send My "malak/angel/messenger" and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the "malak/angel/messenger" in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts." The first angel/messenger is John the Baptist. Read Mark 1:1-4. The second angel/messenger of the covenant who will come to His temple is Jesus Christ. Continued
    – Mr. Bond
    Apr 3 at 17:27
  • This answer was easy to follow, thank you. Also, "Apostle" is messenger but I think it has a Greek root. 😀 Apr 3 at 17:40
  • Btw, Malachi's name comes from the word "malak" and of course prophets are messengers. And yes, I am well aware of the SDA view on this. As well, there are Trinitarians that do believe that Jesus is Michael. We all have blind spots. There are early Church fathers who taught that Jesus Christ was the angel of the Lord. One of them was Justin Martyr. Another was Irenaeus. You should also know that TAOL never appears in the NT as TAOL. He is mentioned by Stephen at Acts 7, please read it. The evidence is overwhelming on this issue IMO and there are numerous places in the OT where TAOL appears.
    – Mr. Bond
    Apr 3 at 17:45

Presuppositions This question is based on two false presuppositions. First, it is assumed that Daniel 12 refers to the End of the World (End Times).

However a thorough, verse by verse study of Daniel 10-12 reveals it to be a prophetic history of the Second Temple Era. That is, the Intertestament period of Jewish history from Daniel's time unto Jesus's ministry...with the consequential Destruction of the Temple because of the Crucifixion of their Messiah.

Many readers are led astray in their interpretation of chapter 12 because they are unaware of the Jewish prophetic verbage and symbolism. Jesus quoted from chapter 12 and applied it to the fall of Jerusalem in 70A.D. (See Matthew 24, Olivet Discourse). Jesus is the best interpreter of Scripture!

So Michael is not an end time angel in this passage.

Secondly The inspired writer of the Book of Hebrews in the N.T. absolutely, definitely does not consider that Jesus was/is an angel. He contrasts Jesus with the concept of angels, several times.

(Jesus) being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person (God, that is), and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty--being made so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than they!
For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day I have begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son? (Hebrews 1:3-5)

Again the author of Hebrews contrast Jesus---not compares---with the angels, referring to their creation...and to the different positions of status. The angels are servants, but Jesus is enthroned! (1:6-14)

Correction With this correction we see that the Question posted is not valid. It assumes points not in evidence. (As a judiciary would object.) And a correct understanding of the biblical Jesus would lead to more productive questions---and there are many we are curious about!

  • But of course the second temple Era, did you see the phrase everlasting joy and everlasting torment? Apr 3 at 2:42
  • @So Few Against So Many - Kind sir, the verse (v.1) says "and at that time shall Michael..." What "time" is the angel referring to? The previous verses describe the era of the Herod's. (Remember no chapter divisions in Hebrew text). And, as even some Dispensationalists comment, the next verses describe the results of the preaching of the Gospel in the first century, (2-3) Time wise, Jesus applied the phrases in v. 1 to the massacre at the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus! (Matthew 24:21)-- The last half of chapter 12 gave the exact days of the Conquest of Judea by the Romans, 1335 days.
    – ray grant
    Apr 3 at 20:06
  • +1 I agree that this prophecy does deals with the Second Temple period... But I think Michael's appearance refers to the time of the Maccabean revolt. I may offer an answer that deals with this. Apr 3 at 22:09

Michael is referred two on two occasions in the Book of Daniel. The first mention of Michael is in chapter 10, where he is called "one of the chief princes." He is further described as the spiritual guardian (literally "prince") of the Jews. The speaker is here variously understood to be God, the Angel of the Lord, Gabriel, or a pre-incarnation appearance of Christ who is not Michael:

20 “Do you know,” he asked, “why I have come to you? Soon I must fight the prince of Persia again. When I leave, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but I shall tell you what is written in the book of truth. No one supports me against these except Michael, your prince, and in the first year of Darius the Mede I stood to strengthen him and be his refuge.

So here, Michael is the "prince" who helps the mysterious speaker in the battle against the prince of Persia. For now, let us not define what "prince" means more definitely than to say he is Israel's spiritual guardian. The next time Michael appears in chapter 12. Chapter 11, meanwhile describes the rise of the Persian Empire (11:1 - "Three kings of Persia) followed apparently by that of Alexander the Great and his successors, who divided his territories among them. Footnotes in the NABRE explain:

11:3 A powerful king: Alexander the Great, who broke Persian dominance by his victory at Issus in 333 B.C. 11:5–45 These verses describe the dynastic histories of the Ptolemies in Egypt (the king of the south) and the Seleucids in Syria (the king of the north), the two divisions of the Hellenistic empire that were of interest to the author. Verses 10–20 describe the struggle between the two kingdoms for the control of Palestine; the Seleucids were eventually victorious.

It is on this foundation that Michael appears again.

Daniel 12

At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since the nation began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.

This actually happened when the Jews defeated Antiochus IV and established an independent king as described in the Books of Maccabees and the histories of Josephus. Thus, although these prophecies are written in apocalyptic language, they refer to specific moments in history: 1) Israel's struggle under the domination of Persia in chapter 10 and 2) the aftermath of Alexander the Great's overthrow of Persian rule followed by Israel's persecution by one of Alexander's successors - Antiochus IV.

Conclusion: "How is archangel Michael standing up for Israel (or the new Israel) and triggering the apocalypse if he is not Jesus himself?" The answer is that whether he is an archangel or some other type of spiritual guardian, the Book of Daniel describes him as "one of the chief princes." This is not an accurate description of Jesus by any stretch, for Jesus is understood by Christians to be the unique Son the God, not one of several spiritual "princes." Moreover, if the Maccabean hypothesis is accepted, the Book of Daniel describes Michael as helping Israel gain independence from the Greeks. This happened more than 2000 years ago. Michael does not trigger a future apocalypse: he helped the Jews overthrow Greek rule during the Maccabean Revolt.

ADDENDUM: Regarding Jesus' reference to Daniel 12 in Matt. 24, this can be explained as a dual-fulfillment prophecy, similar the Isaiah 7 (the prophecy of Immanuel) being fulfilled shortly after it was written and/or at the time of Jesus' birth. Alternatively (a skeptical view) it can be seen as a misunderstanding of the historical background of Daniel's prophecy, ether by the author of Matthew or by Jesus himself.

  • Well explained, I have given an upvote. Though the Bible gives him out as both Michael and God, there is also that verse that says the lord shouting with the voice of the arch-angel Apr 4 at 4:19

For one thing, Michael is never called Jesus and there is a long established tradition of Michael as an angel. Jesus of Nazareth was not an angel, he is referred to as fully human and fully God within trinitarian circles, thus Jesus' Godhood eliminates the possibility that he is an angel, sine angelic beings are not equivalent to God, rather they are understood as the messengers of God, for example, in the Hebrew Biblical text they are referred to as Malak or messenger which is translated "angel" in the KJV.

Now all of the above is taking a rather literalist's track, indeed, the passage you describe resembles the descriptions of Christ's second coming or parousia as it is referred to in the Greek New Testament texts. It is likely that the New Testament authors modeled their ideas on the parousia in language like that used in the Old Testament, this is common in many New Testament passages, for example, the use of the title "Son of Man", in St. Stephen's martyrdom speech in Acts of the Apostles; this title or phrase was utilized in Hebrew prophetic texts such as Ezekiel. If one takes an historical critical hermeneutic in interpreting passages like the above from Daniel, then it is obvious that such passages make no reference to Jesus Christ, they cannot because they were written, in some cases, centuries before Jesus' birth; to get at a literal sense of the Hebrew scriptures one must understand the text within it's own historical and cultural context. Later, however, early Christians came to see messianic passages in the Old Testament as "foreshadowing" Christ and attributed the Christ typology into the Old Testament, thus, Christians came to view many passages of the Hebrew Scriptures as prophetic.

  • but isn't Michael his angelic name and Jesus his name after he got incarnated into the flesh? There are also very many instances in the Bible where Jesus is referred to as the angel of the Lord Apr 2 at 12:51
  • @SoFewAgainstSoMany Can you give an example where Jesus is explicitly referred to as "angel of the Lord".
    – user65254
    Apr 2 at 12:53
  • Thanks for editing it, the verse describes the second coming and the resurrection of the dead, what is Michael doing in that prophecy? Apr 2 at 12:54
  • The angel Gabriel refers to him explicitly with his name Michael, all the angels have names such as Azazel, Raphael, Gabriel, Michael Apr 2 at 12:57
  • @SoFewAgainstSoMany He is doing Christ-like stuff, as noted in my post, that is a common device of the New Testament authors; to borrow from the imagery of the Old Testament and inject it into the New Testament works.
    – user65254
    Apr 2 at 12:57

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