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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Are Jehovah's Witnesses the first to reason that Jesus is Michael the Archangel?

It is likely that most reject this reasoning due to a theological bias. But, as can be seen below, Jehovah's Witnesses weren't the first to reason that Jesus is Michael the Archangel:

"In a number of passages we read of an angel who is superior to the six angels of God's inner council, and who is regularly described as "most venerable", "holy", and "glorious". This angel is given the name of Michael, and the conclusion is difficult to escape that Hermas saw in him the Son of God and equated him with the archangel Michael. Both, for example, are invested with supreme power over the people of God; both pronounce judgment on the faithful; and both hand sinners over to the angel of repentance to reform them. ... The evidence to be collected from the Apostolic Fathers is meagre, and tantalizingly inconclusive. There is evidence also, as we observed in the preceding paragraph, of attempts to interpret Christ as a sort of supreme angel; here the influence of Jewish angelology is discernible." - Early Christian Doctrines, by JND Kelly, pp 94, 95)


In The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, John A. Lees says:

"The earlier Protestant scholars usually identified Michael with the preincarnate 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 Dnl (for a full discussion see Hengstenberg, Offenbarung, I, 611-22, and an interesting survey in English by Dr. Douglas in Fairbairn's B{ible} D{ictionary}." (1930, Vol. III), p. 2048 (and in Vol. IV, pp. 238-241 of Zondervan Publishing's 1957 reprint.)

"ARCHANGEL. This word is only twice used in the Bible, 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 9. In the last passage it is applied to Michael, who, in Dan. 10:13,21; 12:1, is described as having a special charge of the Jewish Nation, and in Rev. 12:7-9 as the leader of an angelic army. So exalted are the position and offices ascribed to Michael, that many think the Messiah is meant." - International Bible Dictionary, published by Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, p. 35.

Protestant Reformer John Calvin said regarding "Michael" in its occurrence at Daniel 12:1:


"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.


John Wesley's Note on the Whole Bible:

Daniel Chapter 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

21. Michael; Christ alone is the protector of his church, when all the princes of the earth desert or oppose it.


C. H. Spurgeon from "Mornings and Evenings":

"To whom do we owe all this? Let the Lord Jesus Christ be for ever endeared to us, for through Him we are made to sit in heavenly places far above principalities and powers. He it is whose camp is round about them that fear Him; He is the true Michael whose foot is upon the dragon. All hail, Jesus! thou Angel of Jehovah's presence, to Thee this family offers its morning vows."

For much more, see the category:

Archangel

9 comments:

David Waltz said...

Hello Elijah,

Here are a couple more examples:

John Gill:

"Another prophecy in Dan. xii. 1, 2, 3. represents the second and personal coming of Christ ; for he is meant by Michael, who is as God, as his name signifies, equal to him ; the great prince, the prince of the kings of the earth, and the head of all principalities and powers." (A Complete Body of Practical and Doctrinal Divinity, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1987 reprint, p. 617.)

Jonathan Edwards:

"When Lucifer rebelled and set up himself as a head in opposition to God and Christ, and set himself as a head in opposition to God and Christ, and drew away a great number of angels, the Son of God, manifested himself as an opposite head, and appeared graciously to dissuade and restrain by his grace the elect angels from hearkening to Lucifer’s temptation, so that they were upheld and preserved eternal destruction at this time of great danger by the free and sovereign distinguishing grace of Christ. Herein Christ was the Saviour of the elect angels, for thought he did not save them as he did elect men from the ruin they had already deserved, and were condemned to, and the miserable, state they were already in, yet he saved them from eternal destruction they were in great danger of, and otherwise would have fallen into with the other angels. The elect angels joined with him, the glorious Michael, as their captain, while the other angels hearkened to Lucifer and joined him, and then was that literally true that fulfilled afterwards figuratively. Rev xii. 'When there was war in heaven : Michael and his angels fought against the dragon ; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not ; neither was there place found any more heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world ; he was case out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.'" (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2, Banner of Truth, 1979 reprint, p. 606.)

[Note: the above selections were originally posted in the following thread - http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2009/05/john-calvin-vs-emotional-exegesisjesus.html]


Grace and peace,

David

Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi guy's.

Clement of Alexandria identified the Word Jesus as Michael the Arch-Angel in his commentary on Jude.

The Hypotyposes (Outlines) of Clement of Alexandria
I.-From the Latin Translation of Cassiodorus of Rome (6th C.E.) II.-Comments on the Epistle of Jude.

"...Similarly to the same," he says, "also those dreamers,"-that is, who dream in their imagination lusts and wicked desires, regarding as good not that which is truly good, and superior to all good,-defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of majesty," that is, the only Lord, who is truly our Lord, Jesus Christ, and alone worthy of praise. They "speak evil of majesty," that is, of the angels. "When Michael, the archangel, disputing with the devil, debated about the body of Moses." Here he confirms the assumption of Moses. HE is here called Michael, who through an angel near to us debated with the devil..."

He identifies Jesus with "Michael".

But it is qualiied with "who worked through an angel near to us..."

Add to that the comment quoted elsewhere on your sight:

Clement of Alexandria: "...Formerly the older people [Iraelites] had an old covenant, and the law disciplined the people with fear, and THE WORD AS AN ANGEL; but the fresh and new people [the Christians] has also been given a new covenant, and THE WORD HAS APPEARED, and fear turned into love, and THAT MYSTIC ANGEL IS BORN - JESUS..." —The Instructor, Book I, chapter VII (7); ANF, Vol. II, p. 224.

I will provide Greek and Latin texts for the quotations when I eventually track down the texts.

Interesting thing about Clements "Hypotyposes (Outlines)" was that Rufinus of Aquiliea was first to translate it into Latin. He has an infamous reputation for changing, taking away, and adding to Origens writings, particuarly "On First Principles" or "Peri Archon" in passages that have to do with the Trinity.

On top of this, in the 6th Century Cassiodorus reportedly "purged all objectionable passages" to do with the Trinity etc from this book, known by it's Latin name "Adumbrationes".

"...According to Zahn, the Latin fragment, "Adumbrationes Clementis Alexandrini in epistolas canonicas" (Codex Lindum, 96, sec. ix.), translated by Cassiodorus and purged of objectionable passages, represents in part the text of Clement..." The Adumbrationes are printed in Th. Zahn "Forschungen zur Geschichte des NT Kanons", Vol. III, 1884, p. 64 - 103

So it's been through a double filter.

Yet elsewhere in "Adumbrationes" he actually calls Jesus and the holy spirit "FIRST-CREATED virtues" or "powers" depending on the translator. This is commented on by Photius in his Biblotheca in the 9th Century and complains that Clement "reduces the Word to a creature..." which is what the 1956 15/8 Page 504 talks about, which has been severly criticised online by Trinitarians as being non-existent. Which is not true. I have other references to Clement calling Jesus as "Wisdom" being "the oldest of all created things" as well.

Anyway, I thought you might find it interesting to have another reference to Jesus as the Arch-Angel in the ANF.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi guy's.

Heres that much talked about quote in "The Pastor/Shepard of Hermas" about Jesus as being the Arch-Angel Micheal.

First a bit of background you might appreciate.

J. N. D. Kelly: “In a number of passages we read of an angel who is superior to the six angels forming God’s inner council, and who is regularly described as ‘most venerable’, ‘holy’, and ‘glorious’. This angel is given the name of Michael, and the conclusion is difficult to escape that Hermas saw in him the Son of God and equated him with the archangel Michael.” - Early Christian Doctrines, by J. N. D. Kelly, Second Edition, 1960, pages 94-5.

Even hyper-trinitarian Catholic scholar Edmund J. Fortman had to conceed: "If we read Hermas to find out who or what was the Son of God, the situation is equally baffling. In one section he says that the Son of God `is the law of God, given to the whole world,' and that `the great and glorious angel Michael...inspires the law in the hearts of believers' (Sim.8.3)..." (From a now out of print book on the Trinity pages 40,41; Hermas.)

The Canon of Muratori puts Hermas in the middle of the second century, saying that it was written by Hermas, brother to Pius, Bishop of Rome, who died A.D. 142.

Latin Text of the Muratorian Fragment

The text of the list itself is traditionally dated to about 170 because its author refers to Pius I, bishop of Rome (142 - 157), as recent:

Latin Text of the Muratorian Fragment: Line 73. "tris legi in eclesia nolunt pastorem vero 74. nuperrim e temporibus nostris in urbe 75. roma herma conscripsit sedente cathe 76. tra urbis romae aecclesiae pio eps fratre 77. eius et ideo legi eum quide oportet se pu 78. blicare vero in eclesia populo neque inter 79. profetas completum numero neque inter 80. apostolos in fine temporum potest..." - Henry M. Gwatkin, ed., Selections from Early Writers Illustrative of Church History to the Time of Constantine (London: MacMillan and co., 1937), pp. 82-88.

English Translation: "...But Hermas wrote The Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the chair of the church of the city of Rome. And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after their time..." [Unknown Translator]

Metzger's English translation: Line (73) "But Hermas wrote the Shepherd (74) very recently, [7c] in our times, in the city of Rome, (75) while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the [episcopal] chair (76) of the church of the city of Rome. [7d] (77) And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but (78) it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among (79) the Prophets, whose number is complete, [8] or among (80) the Apostles, for it is after [their] time..."
[Footnote 7c] The Shepherd of Hermas is another work widely read in early times. It is a kind of moral allegory, like Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, but more impressive in that it purports to convey a series of divine revelations. —M.D.M.
[Footnote 7d] This would be Pius I, bishop of Rome from about 142 to 157. —M.D.M.

The Shepherd of Hermas was included in the Codex Sinaiticus.

Matt13weedhacker said...

In the next two differen't passages Jesus as the Son of God is clearly identified as the one “giving them the Law...” to the people or believers which he recieved from the Father.

Here is the Greek text for the first passage identifying Jesus as recieving the law from his Father and giving it to the people:

GREEK TEXT: VI:1. Ἄκουε. φησίν· εἰς δούλου τρόπον οὐ κεῖται ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀλλ’ εἰς ἐξουσίαν μεγάλην κεῖται καὶ κυριότητα. Πῶς, φημί, κύριε, οὐ νοῶ. 2. Ὅτι, φησίν, ὁ θεὸς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐφύτευσε, τοῦτ’ ἔστι τὸν λαὸν ἔκτισε καὶ παρέδωκε τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ· καὶ ὁ υἱὸς κατέστησε τοὺς ἀγγέλους ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς τοῦ συντητεῖν αὐτούς· καὶ αὐτὸς τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν ἐκαθάρισε πολλὰ κοπιάσας καὶ πολλοὺς κόπους ἠντληκώς· οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἀμπελὼν δύναται σκαφῆναι ἄτερ κόπου ἢ μόχθου. 3. αὐτὸς οὖν καθαρίσας τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ ἔδειξεν αὐτοῖς τὰς τρίβους τῆς ζωῆς, δοὺς αὐτοῖς τὸν νόμον, ὃν ἔλαβε παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ. (Parables 3: 5th Similatude: Chapter 6)

Two differen't English translations of the Greek text:

THE PASTOR OF HERMAS (160 C.E.): "God planted the vineyard, that is to say, He created the people, and gave them to His Son; and the Son appointed His angels over them to keep them; and He Himself purged away their sins, having suffered many trials and undergone many labors, for no one is able to dig without labor and toil. He Himself, then, having purged away the sins of the people, showed them the paths of life by giving them the law which He received from His Father. You see," he said, "that He is the Lord of the people, having received all authority from His Father." ("Parables" or "Similatudes" 3: 5th Similatude: Chapter 6; p. 73, vol. II, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, "The Pastor of Hermas")

THE PASTOR OF HERMAS (160 C.E.): “2 God planted the vineyard, that is, created the people, and gave it over to his Son. And the Son … cleansed their sins, laboring much and undergoing much toil … 3 When, therefore, he had cleansed the sins of the people, he showed them the ways of life and gave them the law which he received from his Father…" ("Parables" or "Similatudes" 3: 5th Similatude: Chapter 6; Translated by K. Lake, in the Loeb Apostolic Fathers, volume 2)

NOTE: The people are Gk., (ἔκτισε) "created" by the GOD and Gk., (παρέδωκε τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ) lit., "giv[en] (to) the Son (of) him"

To be continued.

Matt13weedhacker said...

In a later Parable the giver of the law is directly identified as "the Great and Glorious Angel Michael" (who in Parable 9) has “put the Law into the hearts of those who believe.”

GREEK TEXT: 1.< Λέγω αὐτῷ· Κύριε, τὸ δένδρον τοῦτο γνώρισόν μοι τί ἐστιν· ἀποροῦμαι γὰρ περὶ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι τοσούτων κλάδων κοπέντων ὑγιές ἐστι τὸ δένδρον καὶ οὐδὲν φαίνεται κεκομμένον ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ· ἐν τούτῳ οὖν ἀποροῦμαι. 2. Ἄκουε, φησί· τὸ δένδρον τοῦτο τὸ μέγα τὸ σκεπάζον πεδία καὶ ὄρη καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν νόμος θεοῦ ἐστιν ὁ δοθεὶς εἰς ὅλον τὸν κόσμον· ὁ δὲ νόμος οὗτος υἱὸς θεοῦ ἐστι κηρυχθεὶς εἰς τὰ πέρατα τῆς γῆς· οἱ δὲ ὑπὸ τὴν σκέπην λαοὶ ὄντες οἱ ἀκουσαντες τοῦ κηρύγματος καὶ πιστεύσαντες εἰς αὐτόν· 3. ὁ δὲ ἄγγελος ὁ μέγας καὶ ἔνδοξος Μιχαὴλ ὁ ἔχων τὴν ἐξουσίαν τούτου τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ διακυβερνῶν αὐτούς· οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ διδοὺς αὐτοῖς τὸν νόμον εἰς τὰς καρδίας τῶν πιστευόντων· ἐπισκέπτεται οὖν αὐτούς, οἷς ἔδωκεν, εἰ ἄρα τετηρήκασιν αὐτόν...." (Parables 8 Chapter 3)

THE PASTOR OF HERMAS ( 160 C.E. ): "...[Verse 3] And the great and glorious angel Michael is he who has authority over this people, and governs them; for this is he who gave them the law into the hearts of believers: he accordingly superintends them to whom he gave it, to see if they have kept the same." (Parables/Similitudes 8:2,3; p. 84, vol. II, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, "The Pastor of Hermas")

Jesus as "the Son of God" is unmistakably identified as:

ὁ δὲ ἄγγελος ὁ μέγας καὶ ἔνδοξος Μιχαὴλ = Lit., "the (but=explanatory) Angel the great and in-glory Michael"

ὁ ἔχων τὴν ἐξουσίαν τούτου = Lit., "the (one) who has (the) authority of these"

διακυβερνῶν = Lit., "through-lordship"

ἐπισκέπτεται = Lit., "over-seeing" a form of the compound word epi = "over" scopos = "to see/sight"

εἰ ἄρα τετηρήκασιν αὐτόν = Lit., "if but see keeping to it"

So now you have the exact reference talked about by Kelly and Fortman.

dave said...

A couple of interesting textual variants:

Daniel 12:1 Origional Greek Septuagint
καὶ κατὰ τὴν ὥραν ἐκείνην παρελεύσεται μιχαηλ ὁ ἄγγελος ὁ μέγας ὁ ἑστηκὼς ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ λαοῦ σου ἐκείνη ἡ ἡμέρα θλίψεως οἵα οὐκ ἐγενήθη ἀφ' οὗ ἐγενήθησαν ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὑψωθήσεται πᾶς ὁ λαός ὃς ἂν εὑρεθῇ ἐγγεγραμμένος ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ

Daniel 12:1 Septuagint (Theodotion):
ΚΑΙ ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ ἀναστήσεται Μιχαὴλ ὁ ἄρχων ὁ μέγας, ὁ ἑστηκὼς ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ λαοῦ σου· καὶ ἔσται καιρὸς θλίψεως, θλῖψις οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀφ' οὗ γεγένηται ἔθνος ἐν τῇ γῇ ἕως τοῦ καιροῦ ἐκείνου·

Daniel 12:1 NETS OLD GREEK LXX
And at that hour Michael, the great angel who stands over the sons of your people, will pass by. That is a day of affliction, which will be such as has not occurred since they were born until that day. And on that day the whole people will be exalted, whoever is found inscribed in the book.

Daniel 12:1 NETS THEODOTIONS LXX
And at that time Michael, the great ruler who stands over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of affliction, such as has not occurred since a nation first came into existence until that time. And at that time your people will be delivered, everyone who is written in the book.

The Old Syriac agrees with the Original LXX:

Lamsa Bible Online - English Peshitta Translation (OT) from the Aramaic", by Dr. George M. Lamsa from the Aramaic Bible Society - August 2005. Daniel 12:1 "And at that time shall Michael arise, the great angel who has charge over your people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never has been like it since the beginning of the world; and at that very time some of your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be written in the book."

dave said...

Other English translations of the Septuagint agree with the Theodotions LXX and the Hebrew:

Daniel 12:1 Greek Septuagint in English Holy Orthodox Bible by Peter Papoutsis
And at that time will Michael rise up, the great ruler who stands over the sons of Thy people. And there will be a time of tribulation, such as has not taken place since a nation first came into being upon the earth until that time. And at that time Thy people will be delivered, everyone who is written in the book.

English translation of the Septuagint by Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton (1807-1862) originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851
[Daniel] 12:1 And at that time Michael the great prince shall stand up, that stands over the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of tribulation, such tribulation as has not been from the time that there was a nation on the earth until that time: at that time thy people shall be delivered, [even] every one that is written in the book.

Charles Thomson's English Translation of the Greek Septuagint (LXX) Bible
XII. And at that time Michael the great chief, who hath been over the children of thy people will stand up, and there will be a time of tribulation—a tribulation such as hath not been since there was a nation on the earth even to this time. At that time all thy people who are enrolled in the book shall be saved.

Daniel 12 Apostolic Bible Polyglot © [Enlish Trnaslation of LXX, Interlinear Reading]
12:1 And in that time shall rise up Michael the ruler great, the one standing for the sons of your people. And it will be a time of affliction such as has not taken place from of which time there became a nation on the earth, until that time. And in that time shall be delivered your people], every one found being written in the book.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Philo Judaeus who lived around the time of the Apostles had some interesting comments about the "Word" and God's "First-born Son":

"And the Father who created the universe has given to His archangelic and most ancient Word [Logos] a pre-eminent gift, to stand on the confines of both, and separated that which had been created from the Creator. And this same Word [Logos] is continually a suppliant to the immortal God on behalf of the mortal race, which is exposed to affliction and misery; and is also the ambassador, sent by the Ruler of all, to the subject race. . ." (p. 293, The Works of Philo, "Who Is the Heir of Divine Things," translated by C.D. Yonge)

Philo also said this about the Word;

"For as those who are not able to look upon the sun itself, look upon the reflected rays of the sun as the sun itself, and upon the halo around the moon as if it were the moon itself; so also do those who are unable to bear the sight of God, look upon His image, His angel Word [Logos], as Himself..." (p. 386, The Works of Philo, "On Dreams, I," translated by C.D. Yonge)

Philo also said this:

"And even if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to His first-born Word [Logos], the eldest of His angels, as the great archangel of many names; for he is called, the Authority, and the Name of God, and the Word [Logos], and Man according to God's image, and He who sees Israel..." (p. 247, The Works of Philo, "On the Confusion of Tongues," translated by C.D. Yonge)

Philo also said this:

"For God, like a shepherd and a king, governs (as if they were a flock of sheep) the earth, and the water, and the air, and the fire, and all the plants, and living creatures that are in them, whether mortal or divine . . . appointing as their immediate superintendent, His own right Reason [Logos], his firstborn son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred company, as the lieutenant of the great king; for it is said somewhere, "Behold, I am He! I will send my messenger [Angel] before thy face, who shall keep thee in the road [Exo. 23:20]." (p. 178, The Works of Philo, "On Husbandry," translated by C.D. Yonge)

Philo is quoted by Eusebius:

"The likeness of His first-begotten Word, who is the eldest of the Angels, and as an Archangel has many names." (Eusebius, Gospel Preparation, Vol 2, page 575)

Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi guys me again.

Just stumbled accross a very interesting article available on the net.

It's very interesting reading and has some references to Michael in the Quamran DSS.

Its entitled: "Monotheism, Principal Angels, and the Background of Christology" by L. W. Hurtado, University of Edinburgh

Heres the link.

www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/.../HurtadoMonotheism%5B1%5D%20DSS%20Handbook.doc

It talks about the link between High Angelic agents in Judaism and what they call "High Christology".

But it certainly shows in the DSS that Michael certainly was considered the Cheif Angel and very likely the Messiah.