Archangel Michael
Mstyslav Chernov/WikiCommons

Scripture gives us the names of two good angels, who play important roles in human history. One of these is Michael the Archangel. While we are not given the name of every angel, the fact that he is called out by name in Scripture is quite significant. The name Michael means, “Who is like God.” In the Bible, he is called “one of the chief princes” (Daniel 10:13) and "the great prince” (Daniel 12:1). Most angels in the Bible are portrayed as messengers, but Michael is described in all three books as contending, fighting, or standing against all evil spirits and principalities. Michael is usually shown with a sword, or carrying the scales of justice. Renaissance paintings show him wearing armor. These are all symbols of his strength, courage, truth and integrity. Michael is engaged in a ceaseless war against the forces of evil. His most famous example of this occurred when he cast Lucifer and his followers out of heaven. How much do you really know about the archangel Michael? Here are eight biblical facts you should know.

Michael the Archangel Guides Departed Souls

According to the Testament of Abraham, Michael told Abraham he was about to die. Abraham asked God if he could see all the wonders of the world so that he could die with no regrets. Michael developed his guiding expertise by taking Abraham on a tour of the inhabited world. Afterwards, he took Abraham to prepare for his death.

Michael Only Says Four Words in the Bible

While there are three Greek words, they are often translated into four English words. In Jude 9, Michael says to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Michael Argues With Satan About Moses

Michael directly opposes Satan. Jude mentions that Michael argues with Satan about the body of Moses. Unfortunately, we’re not given much more detail on what the argument was about. Jude does share that Michael wasn’t so bold as to pronounce a “railing judgment” but what he does say is enough to merit biblical reference.

Michael is Dependent on the Lord

Despite his great power, Michael is still in total submission to the Lord. His dependence on the Lord’s power is seen in Jude 1:9: “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.'” The righteous angels have a rank and are submissive to authority, and for this reason they are used as a picture of a wife’s submission to her husband. The Bible tells us, “That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels” (1 Corinthians 11:10). If you take into consideration the strength of Michael, the submission to God is all the more beautiful.

Michael Stands Guard Over Israel

In Daniel’s last vision, an angel describes how the last days will play out for the Jews. It is at this time that Michael, “the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people will arise” (Daniel 12:1). The angel also refers to Michael as Daniel’s prince (Daniel 10:21). The Bible doesn’t say specifically what standing guard entails, but it’s very clear that Michael has special responsibilities for Israel.

Michael the Archangel is Military Commander of Some Angels

In John’s apocalypse, he sees a great war in heaven: Michael and his angels vs. the dragon (Satan) and his angels. The devil and his forces are too weak to remain in heaven, however, and so they are all thrown down to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9).

Michael Has a Prominent Role in the Events of the End Times

The archangel Michael has a prominent role in the events of the end times. Daniel was told by the angel of the Lord that, during the time of the end, Michael will “arise” and there would be a time of unsurpassed trouble – a reference to the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1). Israel is guaranteed protection during this time, which will be followed by a great resurrection of the dead – some to everlasting life and others to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:2). The rapture of the church will be accompanied by “the voice of the archangel” (1 Thessalonians 4:16); this could be a reference to Michael, but Scripture does not specifically name him here.

Michael is Last Mentioned in Revelation 12:7

The final time the archangel Michael is referenced in Scripture appears in Revelation 12:7. During the tribulation, “war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels fought back.” Michael and the forces of heaven defeat the dragon (Satan) and the devil is hurled to the earth. There, enraged, Satan “went off to wage war against…those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:7).

Michael is one of the most fascinating biblical angels. Next to Gabriel and Lucifer (Satan), he is arguably the most famous angelic being in the Bible. Given we don’t see a ton of references to Michael in the Bible, the rest is left up to our imagination. While the Bible doesn’t say much about the archangel Michael, we can turn to the biblical examples we have to make an assessment of who he is. Most of these references can be found in the book of Daniel. These biblical passages give us a glimpse not only into his personality, but also his character.

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