A Tribute to Michael

Editor’s Note: Please makes sure you read past the first paragraph!

The impact he has had upon our world really cannot be measured. His God-given abilities, his accomplishments and his fame have become legendary. Although shrouded in much mystery, every time he has made an appearance, crowds have been stunned. Every performance has been a thriller with a capital T. Personally, I believe he deserves even more appreciation than has been given to him. No doubt in heaven he is even much more appreciated than he is on the earth. And so I wanted to write a short tribute to Michael.

Michael first appears in Scripture in the book of Daniel. While Daniel was fasting for three weeks and seeking the Lord, an angel appeared to him. Daniel described that angel as follows:

I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult (Dan. 10:5-6).

Although the men who were with Daniel did not see the angel, just sensing his presence motivated them to run and hide in dread (Dan. 10:7). Daniel was overcome by what he saw, losing all his strength and turning pale (Dan. 10:8). When the angel spoke, Daniel passed out, falling on his face (Dan. 10:9). Those who swoon in the presence of rock stars have only a tiny taste of Daniel’s experience!

The angel told Daniel that from the first day that he began seeking God, his prayers had been heard in heaven, and he, the unnamed angel, had been dispatched to the earth to grant Daniel amazing insight into the future. Yet that angel also explained:

The prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia (Dan. 10:13).

The prince of Persia was apparently a demonic spirit who ruled over the political kingdom of Persia (which then ruled much of the earth), and that demonic spirit was able to prevent the unnamed angel to break through to reach Daniel with his divine message. That tells me that the prince of Persia must have been a very powerful evil spirit. However, that also tells me how powerful Michael is, as he was able to do what the unnamed angel could not do—overpower the prince of Persia.

So here is my question: If the unnamed angel—“whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz,” whose “body also was like beryl,” whose “face had the appearance of lightning,” whose “eyes were like flaming torches,” whose “arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze,” whose voice was “like the sound of a tumult,” and whose appearance alone melted Daniel—if that angel was less powerful than Michael, can you imagine how powerful (and glorious) Michael is? The unnamed angel, speaking to Daniel, referred to him as “Michael your prince” (10:21), a title of which he is certainly worthy.

Michael is mentioned later in the book of Daniel, and there he is referred to, not just as a prince, but as “the great prince” (12:1). Daniel was told that during the “end time,” Michael, “who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise” (11:40; 12:1). He was also told:

And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued (Dan. 12:1).

Apparently Michael will play a major part in that rescue, once again putting his power on display. And so we rightfully pay tribute to Michael, “the great prince,” whom God will use in such a marvelous deliverance during the future days of the antichrist.

After Daniel’s time, Michael fell into obscurity for hundreds years, but the apostle John mentions him in his Revelation, describing a scene in heaven when Satan was (or will again be) expelled from heaven. From John’s narrative we gain another glimpse of Michael’s awesome power:

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Rev. 12:7-9).

Michael is revealed as commander-in-chief over the angels who wage war, against which Satan and his angels are no match. If Jesus was referring to this same heavenly expulsion of Satan in Luke 10:18, then there really was no struggle at all. Satan fell from heaven “like lightning” according to Christ. That gives us even more insight into Michael’s awesome power.

Yet, in paying tribute to Michael, “the great prince,” I would be remiss if I didn’t ascribe greater honor to Michael’s king, whom Scripture refers to as “the King of kings.” When John saw Him during his Revelation, He was even more glorious than the unnamed angel who appeared to Daniel:

I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man (Rev. 1:13-17).

Others who have seen the King of kings have similarly described the brightness of His great glory (see Matt. 17:2). Jesus’ face shines like the sun!

But back to Michael. I have been pleasantly surprised lately to see how much attention he has been getting in the media. I’ve noticed that he has been mentioned in quite a few headlines, and I hope to find time to read at least a few of the articles that have been written about him. Michael seems to have suddenly caught the world’s attention, and I hope this is an indication that there is renewed interest in the Bible and the things of God.

However, although I am indeed encouraged by this, I do hope that all those around the world who have recently become so focused on “the prince” don’t miss “the King.” He is the one who really deserves their attention, as He is God, and He is far, far greater than Michael ever was or ever will be. He is, in fact, infinitely superior, as He is the Creator, while Michael was created by Him. Michael is really of no comparison.

As tragic as it is that people of the world sometimes become enamored with athletes and entertainers—to the point of idolatry–wouldn’t it be tragic if they became enamored with a mere archangel, yet ignored the One who not only created that archangel, but who created the universe, who has existed from all eternity, who is all-powerful and all-knowing, who became a man, entered the world and performed unparalleled miracles, who graciously died for everyone’s sins, and before whom every person must one day stand in judgment? I can assure you, if Michael was given opportunity by God to speak to the world during this time when so many have become interested in him, he would admonish everyone to repent and give all glory to God! And so I close this short tribute to Michael with a much more deserved tribute to the King of kings:

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing [that includes Michael] which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped (Rev. 5:11-14)

Who is Michael compared to Him?