Monday, August 18, 2014

Does Michael's Name mean He's God or Jesus?

The doctrine that Jesus is the Archangel is found among many Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, and was previously found among Baptists and Calvinists as I demonstrate in an older article. Part of the reasoning for this is the name itself. Here is an example of a commentary:
By whom is meant, not a created angel, but an eternal one, the Lord Jesus Christ; as appears from his name Michael, which signifies, "who is as God": and who is as God, or like unto him, but the Son of God, who is equal with God? --John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, Commentary on Jude 1:9 (Reformed Baptist, 1697-1771)
Generally, the name Michael has traditionally been understood as being a question "Who is like God?" and not a statement "who is like God." Ordinarily, the Hebrew word asher would be expected, though mi CAN be used (and rarely is).  Furthermore, why would Michael be Jesus if the name means "LIKE God", instead of "is God"? John Gill's reasoning sounds absurd by making "like" the same as "equal to," which he being a Trinitarian would mean in substance. The ka/cha in Michael is used through the Hebrew bible for similes--that is to compare something to something else, it would not be a comparison if the things being compared are the same! Daniel does call Christ one "like the son of man," however, it makes sense then since He was not yet man, so it would be most accurate to say He looked "LIKE a son of man", rather than "is a man." John Gill was full aware of the tradition among the Jews and Christians that Michael was a created angel (one among the 7 archangels), yet to fit his Reformed Baptist/Calvinistic theology it was necessary for him to abandon this and force a Michael=Jesus doctrine.

Regardless, even if the point was granted that "like" is the same as "is" or "equal to" and that the name is a statement and not a question, using the name as proof the angel is God would be presumptuous. We have names similar to Michael, in fact a book in the Hebrew bible is written by Micah, who's book bears his name--his name is an abbreviation which means "Who is like Yah?" (Abbreviated forms of names are often used in the Bible, even for prophets like Y'hoshua->Yeshua, Yeremyahu->Yeremiah) No one would assume the prophet Micah is God simply because of his name, and his name shows a name can be a question. [Also, there is another similar name Mishael.]Here are the 4 times the long form of Micah's name--Michaiah appears in the Hebrew Bible:
And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah מִיכָיָה] , and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying--2 Kings 22:12 KJV  
וַיְצַו הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת-חִלְקִיָּה הַכֹּהֵן וְאֶת-אֲחִיקָם בֶּן-שָׁפָן וְאֶת-עַכְבּוֹר בֶּן-מִיכָיָה וְאֵת שָׁפָן הַסֹּפֵר, וְאֵת עֲשָׂיָה עֶבֶד-הַמֶּלֶךְ--לֵאמֹר--II Kings 22:12 MT
And [certain] of the priests'sons with trumpets; [namely], Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah  [מִיכָיָה] , the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph:--Nehemiah 12:35 KJV 
 וּמִבְּנֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים, בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת--זְכַרְיָה בֶן-יוֹנָתָן בֶּן-שְׁמַעְיָה, בֶּן-מַתַּנְיָה בֶּן-מִיכָיָה, בֶּן-זַכּוּר, בֶּן-אָסָף--Nehemiah 12:35 MT
And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, [and] Hananiah, with trumpets;--Nehemiah 12:41 KJV 
 וְהַכֹּהֲנִים אֶלְיָקִים מַעֲשֵׂיָה מִנְיָמִין מִיכָיָה אֶלְיוֹעֵינַי, זְכַרְיָה חֲנַנְיָה--בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת--Nehemia 12:41 MT
Micah [מִיכָיָה]the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed [like] a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.--Jeremiah 26:18  
מיכיה (מִיכָה), הַמּוֹרַשְׁתִּי, הָיָה נִבָּא, בִּימֵי חִזְקִיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ-יְהוּדָה; וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל-כָּל-עַם יְהוּדָה לֵאמֹר כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, צִיּוֹן שָׂדֶה תֵחָרֵשׁ וִירוּשָׁלַיִם עִיִּים תִּהְיֶה, וְהַר הַבַּיִת, לְבָמוֹת יָעַר--Jeremiah 26:18 MT
Also, Micah has another longer form--Michaiahu .
Here are the verses Michael's מִיכָאֵל name appears (13 times in 13 verses in the Masoretic Text) I will give the MT :

Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael [מִיכָאֵל] .- Numbers 13:13 KJV

לְמַטֵּה אָשֵׁר, סְתוּר בֶּן-מִיכָאֵל—Numbers 13:13 MT

And their brethren of the house of their fathers [were], Michael [מִיכָאֵל], and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia, and Heber, seven.These [are] the children of Abihail the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael [מִיכָאֵל], the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz;---- 1 Chronicles 5:13-14 KJV 

The son of Michael [מִיכָאֵל], the son of Baaseiah, the son of Malchiah,-- 1 Chronicles 6:40 (25 in some) KJV

בֶּן-מִיכָאֵל בֶּן-בַּעֲשֵׂיָה, בֶּן-מַלְכִּיָּה--I Chronicles 6:40 (25) MT

And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah: and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael [מִיכָאֵל], and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five: all of them chief men.-- 1 Chronicles 7:3 KJV
And Michael [מִיכָאֵל], and Ispah, and Joha, the sons of Beriah--1 Chronicles 8:16 KJV
As he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael [מִיכָאֵל], and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zilthai, captains of the thousands that [were] of Manasseh.-- 1 Chronicles 12:20 KJV
Of Judah, Elihu, [one] of the brethren of Did: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael [מִיכָאֵל]:-- 1 Chronicles 27:18 KJV
And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael [מִיכָאֵל], and Shephatiah: all these [were] the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.-- 2 Chronicles 21:2 KJV
And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael [מִיכָאֵל], and with him fourscore males.-- Ezra 8:8 KJV 

 וּמִבְּנֵי שְׁפַטְיָה, זְבַדְיָה בֶּן-מִיכָאֵל; וְעִמּוֹ, שְׁמֹנִים הַזְּכָרִים.--Ezra 8:8 MT

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael [מִיכָאֵל], one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.—Daniel 10:13 KJV

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 [מִיכָאֵל] your prince.—Daniel 10:21 KJV

And at that time shall Michael [מִיכָאֵל] 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.-- Daniel 12:1 KJV

וּבָעֵת הַהִיא יַעֲמֹד מִיכָאֵל הַשַּׂר הַגָּדוֹל, הָעֹמֵד עַל-בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ, וְהָיְתָה עֵת צָרָה, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-נִהְיְתָה מִהְיוֹת גּוֹי עַד הָעֵת הַהִיא; וּבָעֵת הַהִיא יִמָּלֵט עַמְּךָ, כָּל-הַנִּמְצָא כָּתוּב בַּסֵּפֶר.--Daniel 12:1 MT 

Notice the name Michael is found in the Torah in Number 13:13 with the same spelling but for a human being, never is an angel called Michael in the Torah, would anyone ever suspect this man Michael was "equal to" or "like unto God" simply because of his name? NO! Also, notice Numbers was written about 1000 years before the book of Daniel, so Jews would have been familiar with the human Michael first, and not have any notion of a divine Michael who is equal to God.  Also, since the human Michael is named first what would his name be interpreted as a question or statement, ie "Who is like God?" or "Who is like God," the former would be blasphemous.  Also, there is the name in the Torah מִישָׁאֵל which means "Who (is) what God (is)?" (eg Leviticus 10:4) שָׁ being an abbreviated asher.  

Furthermore, the Bible states several times "who is like God":
There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty..--Deuteronomy 33:26 ESV (the KJV is less coherent but makes the same point)
 אֵין כָּאֵל, יְשֻׁרוּן:  רֹכֵב שָׁמַיִם בְּעֶזְרֶךָ, וּבְגַאֲוָתוֹ שְׁחָקִים--Deuteronomy 33:26 MT
And he said, To morrow. And he said, [Be it] according to thy word: that thou mayest know that [there is] none like unto the LORD our God.--Exodus 8:10 KJV (6 in some versions)

 וַיֹּאמֶר, לְמָחָר; וַיֹּאמֶר, כִּדְבָרְךָ--לְמַעַן תֵּדַע, כִּי-אֵין כַּיה*ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ--Exodus 8:10 (6) MT
Who [is] like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high--Psalm 113:5 (notice this is a rhetorical question! not a statement)
 מִי, כַּיה*ה אֱלֹהֵינוּ--    הַמַּגְבִּיהִי לָשָׁבֶת--Psalm 113:5
There are more verses on this matter.
The Ecumenical council of Nicea in AD 325 condemned the idea Christ is of "similar" or "like substance" to the Father, which would be consistent with the Scriptures statements of no one being "like God."
Also, unrelated to the name of Michael, the angel is called "one of the chief princes" in Daniel:
lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me--Daniel 10:13
Why would Jesus, or Michael be one of the chief princes--which shows there are OTHERS at the same level as Michael--certainly not the one who has preeminence over creation of Colossians 1!
1) Michael is a question, not a statement. It means "Who is like God?"
2) Michaiah is a Hebrew name that also appears in the Bible that means "Who is like Yah?" and is a name for humans like the Prophet Micah, yet no one believe his name indicates he is God. This also shows a name can be a question--like Michael.
3) Michael cannot be God since the name means 'who is LIKE God," why would God be called "like Himself." Several verses show no one is like God.
4) Michael was a name applied to humans in the Torah and else where, long before Daniel was written, yet no one suspects Number 13:13's Michael is like God!


  1. The Jehovah's Witnesses official "Bible" uses the indefinite article "an" when referring to "an archangel's voice" in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. This indefinite article also implies there is more than one archangel.

    1. Ha! Their translation gives them enough rope to sink them. One as at my door a few days ago and argued Jesus was not God, I asked them to explain Acts 7:59 because to them only God can be prayed to. In the reference in that page it takes you to the verse Psalm 31:5 where Jehovah is referred to as the who has a spirit commended to! Showing Jesus is Jehovah