Was Jesus Christ Michael, the Archangel, Before He Was Born?

Michael, the archangel. battling Satan. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions, he is called “Saint Michael the Archangel” and “Saint Michael”. – Wikipedia

I enjoy being around members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs). For the most part, they are honest, fun-loving, sincere, and hardworking people. Coworkers who were JWs in companies I was employed were often my friends, and vice versa.

But, are they true Christians or are they just followers of Jehovah – whoever they say He is? I believe they are not truly Christians because they believe Jesus was not divine; not God in the flesh. They profess Jesus to have been none other than Michael, the archangel, before He [Jesus] was born of the virgin, Mary.

Of all the different doctrines and teachings spouting from various religious organizations, this belief by this organization baffles me! How was Jesus Christ an archangel with the name of Michael? How can any group of individuals ever come to believe this about Jesus? How did this conclusion ever come into existence?

Am I confused about Jesus being at one
time God in the flesh on this earth?

…Or …

Is this Jesus really a created being, an archangel,
prior to Him being born among men and who later
was crucified?

Here are my thoughts on this.

Voices of angels and their message of good news were heard by shepherds when Christ was born.

First of all, what is an archangel? According to one online dictionary, an archangel is:

1) an angel of high rank.
2) in traditional Christian angelology, a being of the eighth order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy. [1]

I don’t know about you, but I never knew there were nine orders of angels! I am only familiar with four: the Cherubim, the Seraphim, the angels and the archangels.

According to an article on angelology in Wikipedia, these angels are within three spheres:

First sphere: 1. Seraphim, 2. Cherubim, 3. Thrones;
Second sphere: 4. Dominations (also translated as Lordships), 5. Virtues (also trans. as Powers), 6. Powers (also trans. as Authorities);
Third sphere: 7. Principalities, 8. Archangels, 9. Angels. [2]

Anyway, mastering the details of angels, angelology, is NOT required for salvation (Thanks be to God!) But, knowing who Jesus Christ is and why He came on earth and believing on Him, praising Him and worshipping Him are indeed very important – what greatly matters – not any amount of knowledge about angels.

So, how did Jehovah Witnesses ever come to believe on Jesus being an angel/archangel – a created being – before He was born? Here are some Bible verses JWs focus on along with my comments:

Jesus speaks to churches (lampstands) in the book of Revelation.

“Messengers to the Seven Churches”

1) Revelation 2:1

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this …

Jesus told the apostle John on the island of Patmos to write letters to the angels of the seven churches. The first letter was written to an angel of the church
of Ephesus. Question: Did John actually write a letter to an angel there? Of course
not! John only wrote to the messenger of that church. Who was that messenger?
It very likely was the pastor of that church, in that city, who was
the messenger of God (the preacher of God’s Word) to the saints.

“The Angel of the Lord”

1) Genesis 16:7, 13

 The angel of the Lord found Hagar by a well of water in the desert on the way to Shur….

…. So Hagar gave this name to the Lord Who spoke to her, “You are a God Who sees.” For she said, “Have I even stayed alive here after seeing Him?”

The context of this passage is Genesis 16:7-13 where Hagar, one of Abraham’s maidservants, fled from Sarah, his wife. Hagar was alone and destitute when an angel came forth to aid and encourage her. Hagar praised this angel calling him God!

It was to Jesus Hagar was speaking. Why? Because of John 6:46 and 1 Timothy 2:5!

The Angel of the Lord Preventing Abraham from Sacrificing his Son, Isaac. Painting by Pieter Lastman.

2) Genesis 22:15-18

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time.
16 He said, “I have promised by Myself, says the Lord, because you have done this and have not kept from Me your son, your only son,
17 I will bring good to you. I will add many to the number of your children and all who come after them, like the stars of the heavens and the sand beside the sea. They will take over the cities of those who hate them.
18 Good will come to all the nations of the earth by your children and their children’s children. Because you have obeyed My voice.”

The apostle Peter in Acts 3:25, quoted from this passage saying it was indeed God who blessed Abraham. But these verses do not provide any indication that Jesus was a created archangel.

God introduces Himself to Moses using a burning bush.

3) Exodus 3:2-4

2 There the Angel of the Lord showed Himself to Moses in a burning fire from inside a bush. Moses looked and saw that the bush was burning with fire, but it was not being burned up.
3 So Moses said, “I must step aside and see this great thing, why the bush is not being burned up.”
4 The Lord saw him step aside to look. And God called to him from inside the bush, saying, “Moses, Moses!” Moses answered, “Here I am.”

Note: The angel of the Lord God called Moses to Him “from inside the bush“! If no man has seen God the Father at any time nor heard His voice (Mal. 3:4; John 5:37; John 6:46), then this Person who encountered Moses was none other than Jesus Christ who was mentioned here as being an angel. If it was an angel in the burning bush speaking to Moses, then he was acting as a messenger of God. It may just be a title used for Jesus being the Spokesman (in Greek, the Logos) conversing with Moses here.

The Messenger

1) Malachi 3:1 

 See, I am going to send one with news, and he will make the way ready before Me. Then all at once the Lord you are looking for will come to His house. The one with the news of the agreement, whom you desire, is coming,” says the Lord of All.

The one with news here is John the Baptist (Matthew 11:10). The one with the news of the agreement (covenant in other translations), the good news, is Jesus Christ. The word, messenger here in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word (מאלאכהי) “malach” from where the name Malachi comes –  means, messenger.

What is my point in all this? Actually there are several points:

* Most angels that appeared to people in the Old Testament were messengers, but not all messengers were angels.

* It was Jesus who, at times in the Old Testament, came to earth in the form of an angel.

* Again, Malachi (מאלאכהי, malach) was a prophet whose name means, messenger. He was not an angel.

* John the Baptist was a messenger. He was not an angel.

* Angels in the Old Testament who spoke to various men are never mentioned as archangels (although some may have been).

* Michael, the archangel leading an army to fight Satan (Rev. 12:7-10), is imagery pointing to Christ. It is not written to prove Jesus was an angel.

* The voice of the archangel raising the dead (1 Thess. 4:16) is none other than Jesus Christ (John 5:28).

Nowhere does the Bible say Jesus was a created being before He was born of the virgin, Mary.

By the way, the use of comparisons and similarities to attempt to prove a belief are also used by evolutionists and others who do not believe God created all living things – many of them appearing very similar in physical form.

Therefore, the Jehovah Witnesses’ teaching about Christ being an archangel has very little credibility in my view. If you are still not sure, I suggest talking with Christians who can explain for you from the Bible exactly who is Jesus Christ.

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[1] http://angelology.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Archangels

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_angelology


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