Sunday, December 4, 2016

Trinitarians and Michael the Archangel

The claim is often presented that the idea that Jesus is Michael the Archangel originated with Charles Taze Russell. An author on one site claims: "Not only was the very idea was [sic] unheard of before Charles Taze Russell (the founder of the WTS), but the Bible explicitly rejects the possibility of it." The impression is left that no one ever thought that Jesus is Michael until Charles Taze Russell presented his teaching on such. (Some others falsely claim that the idea originated from the Seventh Day Adventists.) This, however, can be shown not to be true, for the historical writings of many protestant trinitarians show that even many trinitarians have claimed that Jesus is Michael the Archangel even long before Russell was born.

Regarding Michael the archangel, we read:
"The earlier Protestant scholars usually identified Michael with the pre-incarnate Christ, finding support for their view, not only in the juxtaposition of the 'child' and the archangel in Rev 12, but also in the attributes ascribed to him in D[a]n[iel]l ." -- John A. Lees, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1930, Vol. 3, page 2048.
Concerning Michael as recorded in Daniel 12:1 John Calvin states:
"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.
Theodore Beza:
Daniel 10:13- Even though God could by one angel destroy all the world, yet to assure his children of his love he sends forth double power, even Michael, that is, Christ Jesus the head of angels.
Daniel 12:1 - The angel here notes two things: first that the Church will be in great affliction and trouble at Christ's coming, and next that God will send his angel to deliver it, whom he here calls Michael, meaning Christ, who is proclaimed by the preaching of the Gospel.
Note: the Bible no where presents the Archangel as being an "angel".

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.
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.
Adam Clarke:
But lo, Michael
Daniel 10:13 - Gabriel, who speaks, did not leave Cyrus till Michael came to take his place. Michael, he who is like God, sometimes appears to signify the Messiah, at other times the highest or chief archangel. Indeed there is no archangel mentioned in the whole Scripture but this one. See Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7.
John Gill:
Daniel 10:13 - but, lo, Michael one of the chief Princes, came to help me; called in the New Testament an Archangel, the Prince of angels, the Head of all principality and power; and is no other than Christ the Son of God, an uncreated Angel; who is "one", or "the first of the chief Princes" {x}, superior to angels, in nature, name, and office.
Daniel 10:21 - and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your Prince; Christ the Prince of the kings of the earth, he was the Prince, Protector, and Guardian of the people of the Jews; he is the Angel that went before them in the wilderness, and guarded them in it, and guided them into the land of Canaan
Daniel 12:1 - The Archangel, who has all the angels of heaven under him, and at his command, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ; who is as God
Matthew Henry:
Daniel 12:1 - The angel had told Daniel what a firm friend Michael was to the church, ch. 10:21. He all along showed this friendship in the upper world; the angels knew it; but now Michael shall stand up in his providence, and work deliverance for the Jews, when he sees that their power is gone, Deu. 32:3. 6. Christ is that great prince, for he is the prince of the kings of the earth, Rev. 1:5.
"There seems good reason for regarding Michael as the Messiah. Such was the opinion of the best among the ancient Jews.... With this all the Bible representations of Michael agree. He appears as the Great Prince who standeth for Israel (Dan. xii. I), and he is called "the Prince of Israel" (Dan. x. 21)
-- William L. Alexander, ed., A CYCLOPEDIA OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE, originally edited by John Kitto, 3d ed. (Edinburgh: A & C Black, 1886). vol. 3, p. 158
From some trinitarian sites:
Michael must be Jesus and that He is of the Godhead. Jesus is Michael the Archangel, the chief of the angels, and the captain of the host of the Lord. He is the one who leads the angels to victory!
There is no mystery here--Jesus, the Lifegiver, is Michael, the Archangel. Christians who accept this Bible-based teaching are neither heretics nor poor scholars, but faithful believers who love and eagerly await the coming of their Lord.

I present below some well-known trinitarian scholars (most who wrote their works long before Russell was born) who believed that Jesus is Michael the archangel.

Adam Clarke (1760-1832)
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg (1802-1869)
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
John Gill (Baptist - 1697-1771)
John Calvin (1509-1564)
John Wesley (1703-1791)
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Joseph Benson (Methodist (1748?-1821)
J.P. Lange (1802-1884)
Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Matthew Pool (1624-1679)
Samuel Horsley (1733-1806)
Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

If anyone knows of more, please present their names in the comments.

More quotes could be presented from trinitarians who believe that Jesus is Michael the archangel. Please note that we do not agree with all the conclusions given by these trinitarian authors. Trinitarian authors often present the idea that that Michael the archangel is uncreated, which we certainly disagree with. We are simply pointing out that these trinitarians did/do believe that Jesus is Michael the archangel. And yet,  a trinitarian wrote that no Christian believes that Jesus is Michael the Archangel, evidently with the thought that anyone who so believes is not actually a Christian. We wonder if this would mean that those trinitarians who have and do proclaim that Jesus is Michael the archangel are not considered true Christians by other trinitarians because of their belief?

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