The Watchtower organization has for years taught that Jesus is the archangel Michael. Are they correct in this teaching? Let me start off with saying that it is impossible to say for sure or not, because the bible simply is not totally clear on this subject. As a JW in the past I have defended on several occasions the Society’s teaching that Jesus is in fact Michael. However after examining the bible and other commentaries on the bible, I have to say that now I am leaning the other way. I don’t think the Society is right on this teaching. Also let all readers know I do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.
The first time Michael is mentioned is in Daniel 10:13 – “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me after I had been left there with the kings of Persia”
Something that jumps out at me from this text is that Michael isn’t the chief prince, he is one of the chief princes. If Jesus is Michael and “one of the chief princes”, are there also other angelic chief princes that are equal to Jesus? That certainly could not be true, so this is one thing that I have taken into consideration in my study of this question. This text by itself would give more credence to the belief that Jesus is not Michael.
Daniel 12:1 also mentions Michael – “At that time Michael the great prince who stands watch over your people will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations come into being until that time…”
The Society has long equated the “rising up” or standing up of Michael with Jesus receiving kingdom power in 1914. Does the term “rise up” or “stand up” (NWT) always refer to someone assuming power as a king? Consider Daniel 11:11 (NWT) “And the king of the south will embitter himself and will have to go forth and fight with him, that is with the king of the north; and he will certainly have a large crowd stand up, and the crowd will actually be given into the hand of that one.”
Does the crowd mentioned here that “stands up” all assume power as kings? Of course not. Also when Daniel 12:1 mentions that Michael rises or stands up it is not implying that he became king, it simply means he acts on behalf of God’s people.
The Society has tried to tie Jesus, Michael, and the unnamed angel in Exodus 23:20,21 all together. This simply is pure speculation. It is true that these 3 all spoke with authority for God, but isn’t that true of all angels that are sent by God? Do they not all speak with the authority given them by God?
Another text that the Society points to is 1 Thess. 4:16 (NWT) “because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an (not the) archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet,…”
The Society will say that only an archangel can call with an archangel’s voice, and therefore Jesus is that archangel. But is this what this text is saying? Should we conclude that since Jesus comes with God’s trumpet he must be God, since only God can come with God’s trumpet? Of course not. We also can not conclude that Jesus is an archangel because he descends with an archangels voice.
To give an example, when a king or a president enter a room often there is a voice introducing them, such as “Ladies and gentlemen: The President of the United States” I think this text is giving the same idea. When Jesus returns he will return with his angels and any archangels that there are.
Hebrews chap. 1 also emphasizes the superiority of Jesus over the angels. The writer of Hebrews cites from Psalms 2 in Hebrews 1:5 -”For example, to which of the angels did he ever say: ‘You are my son; I, today I have become your father’? And again: ‘I myself shall become his father, and he himself will become my son’?
Notice also how Paul quotes from Ps. 110 in Heb. 1:13 “But with reference to which of the angels has he ever said: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet’?
The point Paul was making is that God never said these things to any angel. Jesus is much superior to any angel. But Michael, the archangel, was alive at the time these prophecies were recorded in the Psalms. If God had Michael in mind at the time he inspired these prophecies, how is what Paul said in Hebrews correct? Paul specifically said that God never spoke these words to an angel. Therefore Jesus could not be an angel.
Also consider the fact that when Jesus was on earth he spoke with authority in condemning Satan for twisting the scriptures, but Michael refused to do the same when he had a disagreement with Satan (Jude 9).
These are the reasons that I no longer believe that Jesus is the archangel Michael. This is not to say definitively that the Society’s belief on this matter is wrong, it is just my opinion. Since the bible is unclear on the identification of Michael, it indicates this is not a salvation matter.