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Upon seeing certain statements in John Calvin and John Wesley's writings some have concluded that these men believed Jesus is Michael. What evidence is there to show that John Wesley and John Calvin did not believe that Jesus is Michael?

Here are a few references to what John Calvin and John Wesley say.

John Wesley

Daniel 10:13 Withstood me – God suffered the wicked counsels of Cambyses to take place awhile; but Daniel by his prayers, and the angel by his power, overcame him at last: and this very thing laid a foundation of the ruin of the Persian monarchies. Michael – Michael here is commonly supposed to mean Christ. I remained – To counter – work their designs against the people of God. Daniel 10:21 – Michael – Christ alone is the protector of his church, when all the princes of the earth desert or oppose it. source

Daniel 12:1 - For the children – The meaning seems to be, as after the death of Antiochus the Jews had some deliverance, so there will be yet a greater deliverance to the people of God, when Michael your prince, the Messiah shall appear for your salvation. source

John Calvin

"I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of Christ, because it suits the subject best to represent him as standing forward for the defense of his elect people." --
J. Calvin, COMMENTARIES ON THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET DANIEL, trans. T. Myers (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), vol. 2 p. 369. source but found here

"Michael may mean an angel; but I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of Christ because it suits the subject best to represent him as standing forward for the defense of his elect people....The angel...calls Michael the mighty prince. As if he had said, Michael should be the guardian and protector of the elect people"

(Calvin, Commentary on Daniel 12:1, Lecture 65). source but found here

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    I'd like to see some evidence of the premise, I think. It seems highly unlikely to me that Wesley and Calvin believed what they're stated to believe here. – Andrew Leach Mar 2 '14 at 10:52
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    This question appears to be on a wrong premise, lest you give some evidence as suggested. – Seek forgiveness Mar 2 '14 at 11:25
  • Just gave a few references a short while ago and tell me what you think? – Tony Jays Mar 2 '14 at 11:31
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    @TonyJays: If you're asking what Wesley and Calvin believed, it seems like a fine question, but then the title ought to match that question. If you're asking if Jesus being Michael is a contradiction, that's a "Truth Question", which we close as "Primarily Opinion Based" – Flimzy Mar 4 '14 at 14:39
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    @Flimzy you are right I think I have to change the title of the question. – Tony Jays Mar 5 '14 at 7:25
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I'm pretty sure Wesley and Calvin did not actually believe that Jesus is Michael. Those two quotations you gave only show that in the verses they referred to, Michael typifies Christ, just as in many other places. Ie. Jonah typified Christ, or "you may refer Jonah in his being in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights as the person of Christ, who died and was resurrected in 3 days", but that doesn't mean that Jonah is actually Christ. So in those two passages you quoted, Wesley and Calvin are merely saying that Michael in those verses they were commenting on typifies Christ's person

  • Due to my recognition that my question was a truth question I changed it slightly. Can you kindly please edit your answer to suit the question. – Tony Jays Mar 5 '14 at 7:43
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    @TonyJays you do realize that it's much more difficult to prove that something does NOT exist rather than to prove that it does right? Unless Wesley or Calvin came out and straight up said "I believe that Jesus is Michael", you just assume otherwise. You could ask the same question about any non-living commentators or church fathers, even the apostle John, and you won't be able to find any evidence, but that does not mean that they believe it – Ruolin Mar 5 '14 at 8:11
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If you look at Calvin's commentary on Jude 9 you'll see nothing at all that suggests he thought that Michael is Jesus. Indeed, I don't see how you could make sense of Jude 9 if you think Michael is Jesus (unless perhaps if you deny Jesus' divinity.)

Wesley wrote about Jude 9 too.

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Regarding the partial quote "Michael may mean an angel; but I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of Christ because it suits the subject best to represent him as standing forward for the defense of his elect people...." the article in the link below suggests that Calvin did not believe that Jesus is Michael:

http://forananswer.blogspot.co.uk/2006/10/did-john-calvin-really-teach-that.html

"Calvin's comment regarding "Michael" and Christ come only in reference to Daniel 12:1. It is significant that in this passage (and previously in chapter 10), Michael is not explicitly called an "angel," but rather the "mighty prince." If we consider Calvin's comments in context, it is clear that he is NOT saying the ANGEL Michael is Christ"

A very interesting perspective.

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Both Wesley and Calvin were both Trinitarians that held to the basic Christology of Early Christianity. So, this makes it really unlikely that they would have had the same Michael is Jesus interpretation that modern Jehovah's Witnesses use (Because that group has adopted that interpretation from a dogmatic stance due to being against Christian traditional theology of the Nicene Creed).

Some people have pointed out the potential of Michael as a kind of Theophany (Christ in disguise as an angel, or maybe a reference to the appearance of the pre-incarnate Son of God). It should be noted however that other suspected Old Testament Theophanies follow different literary conventions, the figure that appears is mysterious and unnamed. A few examples from Genesis.

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby.

24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

  • There's nothing inherently non-Trinitarian about identifying Michael as Jesus. Can you explain more what you think is contradictory? – curiousdannii Apr 17 '18 at 0:23
  • Sure. Historically Michael is identified as an arch angel. While Jesus is defined in the hypostatic union of the Creeds as being "true God" and true Man. – Pavel Mosko Apr 17 '18 at 0:37
  • In theory it possible to a have a view of theophany's that maybe would an appearance of Michal is really that of Christ. But in literal terms there is a big difference between an angel and someone who is "True God". – Pavel Mosko Apr 17 '18 at 0:40
  • Also when it comes to the Bible, theophany's the terminology is not so specific. The figure is unnamed, so I don't think it fits a theophany as far as hermeneutics goes. (A few examples) – Pavel Mosko Apr 17 '18 at 0:43
  • 18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. – Pavel Mosko Apr 17 '18 at 0:46

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