Point 1: “Michael” means “Who is like GOD” which is not the same as being “GOD”.
Point 2: The authority Michael has as prince of Judah/Jerusalem/Israel, being “one of” the princes [spiritual not physical ruler of nations since Michael is of the heavens and not a man] or even the chief/arch angel, is not the same authority that JESUS/YAHSHUA has being “The” PRINCE of PEACE – Isaiah/Yesha’Yahu 9:6 or MESSIAH “The” PRINCE – Daniel 9:25.
Point 3: Michael is also never referenced as King, Counselor, God-Elohim, Father, Branch or High Priest [Hebrews 4:14-15, 6:20, Zechariah 3:8, 6:12-13, Jeremiah 23:5] but JESUS/YAHSHUA is. Michael could be referenced as elohim: ruler, judge, divine, angel, god.
Point 4: The man in linen Daniel/Dani’el spoke to and the man in the beginning of Revelation John heard and saw are the same man who is THE WORD who became JESUS/YAHSHUA. Verses in Daniel/Dani’el prove that this man and Michael are two different beings. Verses in Luke and Revelation also prove this.
Point 5: Michael is not the LORD/YAH but can be referred to as “lord” while JESUS/YAHSHUA is the LORD/YAH.
Point 6: Michael is archangel/commander/captain/sar of the angels of GOD/ELOHIM’S army and, I believe, also the hosts but is not the LORD/YHWH of hosts who is the HEAD of the army.
Point 7: That Michael as either the prince of Israel/Judah and/or the captain/archangel of the angels/hosts of the LORD can have people honor him by falling on their faces or bowing, etc. and it is an act of honor and not worship [as in him being GOD/ELOHIM/LORD/ADONAI/YHWH].
Point 8: Michael does not have the authority to rebuke satan but JESUS/YAHSHUA does.
Point 9: That I Thessalonians 4:16 really can be explained rightly, sigh….
Point 10: Michael is an angel and is not the SON of GOD/ELOHIM. JESUS/YAHSHUA is the SON of GOD, the CHRIST/HA’MASHIACH and is not an angel. Michael could be referred to as a son of GOD/ELOHIM. [not completed yet]
[All Strong’s words listed below have some of the meanings from Strong’s included below. For a full explanation please go to the specific verse the word is in on Blue Letter Bible and pull the interlinear available to see the ancient meanings or search the word itself, example – H4317, in their search engine.]
1. Is Michael like GOD or is he GOD?
Michael = “who is like God?” [Hebrew – Miyka’el – pronounced: me·kä·āl Strongs H4317/G3413] “Who is like God” is a rhetorical question. A meaning of “rhetorical”: (of a question) asked in order to produce an effect or to make a statement rather than to elicit information.
YAHSHUA/YESHUA/YEHOWSHUWAH/JOSHUA H3091 aka JESUS means “YAH/JEHOVAH is salvation”. IMMANUEL H6005 means “EL/GOD with us”. While mortal men have had those names and they were never GOD, we know from Scripture that JESUS/YAHSHUA is referred to as GOD: II Peter 1:1, Hebrews 1:8 which ties into Psalm/Tehillim 45:6.
Being “like GOD” and being “GOD” are two very different things!
2. The authority Michael has as prince is very different from the authority YAHSHUA/JESUS has as Prince.
Daniel 10:13 But the prince [H8269 – sar/prince] of the kingdom of Persia withstood me [took a stand] one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief [primary, head, who shakes; see Strongs: ri’shown H7223, ri’shah H7221, ro’sh H7218], princes [H8269] came to help [support] me; and I remained there [excelled and joined] with the kings [H4428 – melek/king] of Persia.
[A few translations say “king” instead of “kings” for the verse above which makes more sense because there is only King of Persia at a time – man who rules. Also, Brenton’s Septuagint is interesting because it says that Michael is the one that is left with the king which would free up the one talking to come to Daniel: http://biblehub.com/sep/daniel/10.htm Wycliffe has a reference to the Prince of Persia being an angel prince with Michael chief angel/prince: http://biblehub.com/wycliffe/daniel/10.htm Daniel 10:1, 10:20 and 11:1-2 also show the difference between king[s] and princes of Persia. Since Michael is of the heavens and not a man of earth the verse above shows that the “princes” mentioned refer to spiritual rulers not physical which Wycliffe comments on as stated above. Psalm/Tehillim 82 gives more information about the spiritual rulers/princes.]
Daniel 10:21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth [H2388 – chazak – putting forth strength] with me in these things, but Michael your prince.
[Michael was Daniel’s prince. Daniel was from The Kingdom of Judah/Jerusalem, Daniel 1:1-7, which was destroyed around 586BCE by Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon. The Kingdom of Israel/Samaria was destroyed about 720BCE by the Assyrians who deported many from the 10 tribes of Israel with the remaining going to Jerusalem which grew 5 fold. All this from Wiki: Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Michael is most likely the spiritual ruler of all Israel and not just of Judah/Jerusalem because the split of Jerusalem from Israel came about because of men and was repaired.]
Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [H5057] shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
H5057 – nagiyd: prince, leader, ruler, captain which is from root H5046 – nagad: to make known, to bring to the light. H8269 sar: prince, ruler, leader, chief, captain, patron angel, etc. is from root H8323 sarar: be or act as prince, rule over, govern.
In the verse above from Daniel, the root of “Prince” [H5057/H5046 – nagiyd/nagad] connected to “Messiah the” [H4899 – mashiyach: anointed one – Messiah, king, high priest] has a more appropriate meaning in its root of “bringing to the light” which “prince” from “H8269 – sar” and its root “H8323 – sarar” do not include.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
In Isaiah 9:6, “Prince” is from “H8269 – sar” this time and “Peace” is from H7965 – shalom/shalowm: completeness, safety, welfare, contentment which is from root H7999 – shalam: to be at peace, to be complete/finished/ended, to make safe.
We know from Scripture that Michael is one amongst other princes and also chief of the angels but he is never referred to in Scripture as Messiah the Prince or Prince of Peace/Sar Shalom: the one who completes peace. Scripture does point to YAHSHUA/JESUS with verses calling HIM the MESSIAH or CHRIST [G5547 – Christos: anointed one, Son of God]: John/Yochanan 1:41, 7:42, 20:31, Matthew/Mattityahu 1:1, 16:20.
YAHSHUA/JESUS refers to HIMSELF as giving peace or that in HIM is peace [G1515 – eirene: national security, harmony, safety, salvation] in John 14:27, 16:33, Luke 1:79, and “son of peace” in Luke 10:6. I Timothy 6:15 calls HIM “Sovereign or Potentate” which is from G1413 – dynastes and includes the meaning of “prince”. Revelation 1:5 refers to HIM as “prince/ruler” of kings which is from G758 – archon.
So now for point 4 which confirms that Michael and YAHSHUA/JESUS are two different beings because in Scripture, they were together or in two different places at the same time.
4.[Michael came to help support this MAN mentioned in Daniel 10:13,21 above. This shows the MAN has a higher position than Michael. The WORD of GOD/ELOHIM or the LORD/YHWH who is also CHRIST/HA’MASHIACH is not “one of the chief”. HE is one of the GODHEAD. John/Yochanan 1:1]
3.[Michael is the prince [Sar – Strongs H8269, Sarar – H8323] – spiritual ruler of Judah/Israel. See also Psalm 82 which is about GOD/ELOHIM chastizing-judging the elohiym [Strongs H430: rulers, judges, divine ones, angels, gods, elohim, mighty] for their unjust actions. I can believe that Michael was the only one that held with THE WORD against the other spiritual rulers. Also, for Michael to hold with this man shows again this man has a higher place then Michael.]
Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
[The biggest key point to the verses from Daniel above is that the description of the man in linen, whom Daniel sees/hears/speaks to from chapter 10:5 through the end of chapter 12, matches the description John/Yochanan gave of a man whom he saw and listened to from Revelation 1:10-4:1. From what the man says to John and the churches we can tell that this is CHRIST/HA’MASHIACH John is listening to. So if the man from the above verses in Daniel is the same man from the above verses in Revelation, then Daniel is talking to THE WORD before HE was born in a body of flesh. With the man in Daniel telling Daniel about Michael being with HIM, then we know without a doubt that THE WORD/CHRIST/HA’MASHIACH and Michael are two different beings! Please see my study link for the research that proves this man is THE WORD/CHRIST-HA’MASHIACH: http://glclifestyling.com/2013/07/what-do-the-father-ancient-of-days-his-son-word-lamb-messiah-and-his-set-apart-holy-spirit-look-like-part-2/
3. Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor [from another translation I believe this should read: Wonder of a Counsellor], The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [Strong’s Shalowm H7965 – completeness/peace/soundness/well, Shalam – H7999 covenant of peace/be complete]
[These are all prophetic NAMES of CHRIST/HA’MASHIACH. Again, HE is not one of a group of others except for the GODHEAD. Here HE is called the MIGHTY GOD not god, the EVERLASTING FATHER [HE fathered everlasting life for us] which is different then HIS FATHER in HEAVEN, and not “one amongst” other princes but “The” PRINCE of PEACE [only one].]
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. [this ties in with HIS NAMES and what HE does from Isaiah 9:6 and 32:1 and other verses.]
Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgement.[mishpat Strongs: H4941 – judgement, decision]
[This tells us what a king does vs a prince. CHRIST/HA’MASHIACH is the ONE who judges shalom/peace for all being The PRINCE of PEACE/SAR SHALOM. Michael judges Israel/Judah. Big difference in responsibility and authority. There are no verses that reference Michael as King, Melek-Hebrew and Basileus-Greek, but there are verses that show CHRIST/HA’MASHIACH is: Matthew/Mattityahu 2:2, 21:5, 25:34; John/Yochanan 1:49, 19:19, 12:15; I Timothy 6:15; Revelation 1:5, 15:3, 17:14, 19:16; Psalm/Tehillim 89:27; Jeremiah/Yirmeyahu 23:5; Zechariah/Z’kharyah 9:9, 14:9. So from above we have learned that Michael being the prince of Judah/Israel vs the WORD/CHRIST-HA’MASHIACH being the PRINCE of Peace are two very different areas of power.]
4/5/6. Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
[This shows one reference that JESUS/YAHSHUA is LORD/YHWH. Michael is never called “Lord” with a capital “L”. The words “GOD/ELOHIM/LORD/ADONAI” can be capitalized to show higher authority or left small “god/elohim/lord/adonai” to show lesser authority. Please see Joshua 5:14,15 below for an example of this. I also believe that the captain mentioned in the verses from Joshua is Michael. The verses from Revelation below show that Michael was leading angels in war.]
Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
[“Beheld”: Strong’s G2334 – theōreō – https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2334&t=KJV Thayer’s Greek Lexicon specifically references this verse for the following meaning of “beheld”: to be a spectator, look at, behold. This could prove that part of John’s vision in Revelation could have already taken place when he viewed it. I also believe part of his vision was about to take place, but that most would take place in distant times from the vision. The verses above from Luke and below from Revelation also shows that JESUS/YAHSHUA and Michael are two separate beings because when Michael was in heaven throwing satan out, JESUS/YAHSHUA was on earth and witnessed it and commented about it.]
Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
5/6/8. Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel [archaggelos: Strongs G743 – chief of the angels/messengers, archo: G757 chief/lead/rule, aggelos: G32 messenger/envoy/angel], when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
[The verses above show that Michael is the archangel/chief leader of the angels/messengers and that they were fighting satan and his messengers. It also shows that Michael could not rebuke satan but said for “The Lord” [capital “L”] to do it.]
6. Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
Joshua 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain [Strong’s H8269 sar: prince, ruler, leader, chief, captain, general, commander] of the host [Strong’s H6635 tsaba: war, warfare, host of army, host of angels, service] of the LORD [Strongs H3068: YHWH – the NAME of GOD] am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship [Strong’s H7812 – shachah: worship, bow, reverence, prostrate], and said unto him, What saith my lord [Strong’s H113: adown/adon] unto his servant?
7. [Above shows that the captain/sar of the LORD’S/YAH’S host was due honor because of Joshua falling on his face to the earth. Not all translations say what is shown above, “worship” from the KJV, but instead say: bowed, prostrate, reverence, obeisance. This action can be done before men of superior rank/nobility/elders, GOD/ELOHIM, false gods/elohim, angels. There is a difference between showing honor and actually worshiping in this action dependent on the belief of the individual and for whom they are making the action. Genesis/B’resheet 23:7 shows Abraham bowing [H7812] to the people of the land and Genesis/B’resheet 24:52 shows Abraham’s servant worshipped [H7812] the LORD by bowing himself to the earth. I believe Joshua was honoring the captain of the host of the LORD and not worshiping him as the LORD and that using the word “worship” in this verse is not an accurate translation.]
Joshua 5:15 And the captain/sar of the LORD’S host/tsaba said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Daniel 8:11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince/sar of the host/tsaba [Strong’s H6635 – tsaba’ – war, warfare, host of army, host of angels, service], and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
6. [Angels/messengers [Strong’s H4397 – mal’ak – messenger, root: dispatch as a deputy] have wings and fly and hosts/ministers [Strong’s H8334 – sharath – minister/serve] are flames of fire. Some verses that show this are from Daniel 9:21 when he saw Gabriel fly in and Psalm 104:4 where it says that angels are spirits/breaths and Psalm 103:21 where it refers to hosts/ministers as flaming fire. Host can also refer to an army [Strong’s H6635 – tsaba’ – war, warfare, host of army, host of angels, service]. Care needs to be taken with word meanings by going to the ancient word behind the English translated word to be sure there is not a different ancient word/meaning behind it. In II Kings/M’LakHim 6:17, Elisha references the Lord’s/YHWH’S horses and chariots of fire around them. YHWH of hosts and the differences between angels and hosts are other studies in the writing. The point is that captain/sar of the LORD’S host may be a different position then archangel/chief leader of the angels. I believe it is possible Michael holds both positions or that “host”, being an army, could refer to both ma’lak/angels and sharath/hosts. I also believe it is possible that there could be an error in the Greek vs the Hebrew, which I have seen before, and that “aggelos” as “angel” should instead be “host”. Perhaps further research and prayer will reveal more.]
9. 1Th 4:16 For the Lord [notice this is capitalized] himself shall descend from heaven with a shout [G2752 keleusma: an order, command, loud summons, trumpet call from G2753 keleuo: to command, order], with the voice [G5456 phone: a sound/tone – instrument, voice – words, speech – language] of the archangel, and with the trump [G4536 salpigx: a trumpet] of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Above we see the LORD/YHWH mentioned giving a command/loud summons. It also mentions the “voice” of the archangel which we can see can include “sounding an instrument”. We can also see that a trumpet is involved too. So the Lord will descend from heaven and through HIS command/loud summons HIS archangel will sound GOD’S Trumpet and the dead in CHRIST will rise first! The voice of the archangel is the trumpet and the voice of the LORD/YHWH summons the dead [among other things]. So this verse too shows that the LORD and the archangel are two different beings with two very different authorities! How does one get from this that Michael is “the Lord”? Please see below. Btw, look at the roots of G4536 salpigx. Some fascinating things like G4535 salos: swelling of the sea, G4525 saino: wag tails, flatter, agitate, G4579 seio: shake, cause to tremble, fear. Amazing what GOD’S Trumpet does to people and creatures!
This is from a study on bibleexplained.com which I have fully near the bottom of this study. Take a look at what they had to say about the verse above: “Next let’s look at a verse describing the archangel. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout [command], with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” (1 Thess. 4:16) So the archangel, whom we saw in Jude as also Michael, calls the dead to life. Only one person has been given that authority. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (Matt. 5:25-29) In other words, only Jesus Christ will call the dead, so he is the archangel in 1st Thessalonians 4:16, 17 and He is Michael who calls Moses to life in Jude. And He is Michael who, with His angels, cast Satan out of heaven!”
8/9. This is Gail again. Look at what the person above also says about Jude 1:9. They say Michael is calling Moses to life! Is that what this verse says? I believe it is pretty plain that Michael is fighting and arguing with satan about who gets the body of Moses [where does it say that Moses is coming back to life?] and that Michael has to back off and say “the Lord rebuke thee”. Michael is not the Lord with a capital “L” and does not have the power to rebuke satan. Look at Matthew/Mattityahu 17:18 and you will see that JESUS/YAHSHUA has the authority to rebuke satan! In both verses “rebuke” is from the same Greek word G2008 epitimao. Btw, the verses above attributed to Matthew/Mattityahu 5:25-29 in the study from bibleexplained.com are actually in John/Yochanan 5:25-29.
More on “voice”:
John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice [G5456 phone: a sound/tone – instrument, voice – words, speech – language] of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
The word “voice” in both 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and John 5:25 are from the same Greek word Strong’s G5456: phone. This multiple meaning of “phone” is borne out in the Hebrew word “qowl” [Strong’s H6963]:
Exodus 19:19 And when the voice [H6963 qowl: voice, sound of instrument, noise/frivolity] of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice [same word as above]. One voice references an instrument while another voice references the voice of GOD.
By carefully examining Scripture with good sense and praying for help for discerning the truth, one should be able to know which of the multiple meanings of a word apply each time a word is used. All verses should bear each other out and if even one meaning does not bear out the body of verses in both the Old and New Testaments, then it needs to be examined for an error, in translation or otherwise, because GOD/ELOHIM is 100% accurate and does not make one mistake! AMEN!!!
Studies others have done on Michael:
Who is Michael?
“And 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 their place found any more in heaven.” (Rev. 12:7, 8)
Michael is not mentioned often the Bible but, by comparing texts, we can learn his more common identity. We begin with the little book of Jude:
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst [dared] not bring against him a railing [slanderous, 1306a2] accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 9). Jude’s purpose in this verse is to condemn those who teach grace as license jude04 and who criticize authority jude08. He takes the dispute with the devil as an example, revealing other information that is of particular interest to us. So Michael is also the archangel. The prefix “arch-” means to be “first” or “reigning over.” This agrees with verse 7 where Michael is commander of the angels re1207. (Also 1pe0321f)
Next let’s look at a verse describing the archangel. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout [command], with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” (1 Thess. 4:16)
So the archangel, whom we saw in Jude as also Michael, calls the dead to life. Only one person has been given that authority. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (Matt. 5:25-29)
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)
“I [Jesus] am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death.” (Rev. 1:18)
In other words, only Jesus Christ will call the dead, so he is the archangel in 1st Thessalonians 4:16, 17 and He is Michael who calls Moses to life in Jude. And He is Michael who, with His angels, cast Satan out of heaven! Compare Song 5:10 which harmonizes with our seeing Him as head of the angels.
In Joshua 5:15, Christ identifies Himself as the captain of the Lord’s host. He was the captain of the angels of heaven. They are the Lord’s army (Rev. 19:14). Furthermore, He would not have accepted Joshua’s worship if He had been an ordinary angel (see Joshua 5). Thus again He is the archangel, Michael.
But angels are created. How is Christ an angel?
Without considering the explanation above, this is a logical argument. Christ was with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1). He is the Creator, with the Father, not the created. Beyond these concepts, which God has revealed, we have not been told and could not understand correctly. Speculation is not only fruitless because we must guess but it is not for us to indulge in. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29). We do know the simple concepts we have just discussed and can accept them.
Christ is a human because He took on humanity to save us. This does not prevent Him from also being divine. We do not know very much about His relation to the angels, but He was one with them and he was their commander. We cannot rule out the possibility that He also took their nature as He has ours. Lucifer wanted Christ’s job as he tried to work his way up to higher positions in the government of the universe (Isa. 14:13).
The word for angel in Greek and Hebrew also means messenger. So Christ, the messenger of the covenant in Mal. 3, is also the angel of the covenant. We see Him as an angel in Rev. 10:1, too, but that’s beyond the scope of our study.
See a summary explanation of Michael on another page.
Who is Michael?
Many people believe that Michael here is not Christ. Following is a summary of my explanation when we discussed Rev. 12:7: The argument against Michael being Christ is that, in Jude 9, Michael is called the archangel which means “chief angel” and Christ is not an angel. In one sense it is true that Christ is not an angel. He is certainly not a created angel. We worship Christ but not angels (Rev. 19:10; Heb. 1:4-14). But can the term, angel, have a broader meaning?
In 1 Thess. 4:16 The dead are called to life with the voice of the archangel. That voice is identified in John 5:25 as the voice of the Son of God. The words “angel” and “messenger” are translated from the same word in Hebrew and the same word in Greek. Christ is the messenger or angel of the covenant who comes to His temple in Mal. 3:1. The term “angel” is used to describe Christ in Rev. 10:1; and elsewhere. Also archangel can mean “chief of the angels” as well as “chief angel.” Indeed it is reasonable for Christ to be called an angel. He is one among us in having taken humanity (Heb. 2:11, 14). So He was the leader of the angels (Rev. 12:7) identifying with them, too. To suppose that Michael the Archangel is not Christ, both the passage in Daniel and the one in First Thessalonians must be severely strained. (Also explained at 12:7)
And when he had opened the fifth seal,…. Of the seven seals of the sealed book; here is no beast speaking here, nor horse and rider presented to view; it was now a very dark time both with respect to the church of God and ministry of the word, and the Roman empire. This seal refers to the times of Dioclesian, and the persecution under him; and instead of the voice of one of the living creatures, John hears the voice of martyrs:
I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain; these include not only all the martyrs that were put to death in the persecution of Dioclesian, but all those that suffered in all the persecutions preceding; for this, being the last, involves them all. “Souls”, being immaterial and incorporeal, are invisible to the bodily eye; these therefore were either clothed with corporeal forms, as angels sometimes are, or rather John saw them in a visionary way, as he saw the angels: and these were the souls of such as “were slain”; their bodies were dead, but their souls were alive; which shows the immortality of souls, and that they die not with their bodies, and that they live after them in a separate state: , “the souls of them that are slain”, is a phrase used by Jewish writers (a), and who have a notion that the souls of those that are slain are kept in certain palaces, under the care of one appointed by God (b): and these were seen “under the altar”; either this is said in allusion to the blood of the sacrifices, which was poured out at the bottom of the altar, Leviticus 4:7, in which the life and soul of the creature is; or because that martyrdom is a sacrifice of men’s lives, and an offering of them in the cause of God and truth, Philippians 2:17; or with some reference to a common notion of the Jews, that the souls of the righteous are treasured up under the throne of glory (c) they have also a saying, everyone that is buried in the land of Israel is as if he was buried “under the altar” (d); for they think that being buried there expiates their sins (e); to which they add, that whoever is buried “under the altar”, is as if he was buried under the throne of glory (f); yea, they talk of an altar above, upon which Michael the high priest causes the souls of the righteous to ascend (g). Christ may be meant by the altar here, as he is in Hebrews 13:10, who is both altar, sacrifice, and priest, and is the altar that sanctifies the gift, and from off which every sacrifice of prayer and praise comes up with acceptance before God; and the souls of the martyrs being under this altar, denotes their being in the presence of Christ, and enjoying communion with him, and being in his hands, into whose hands they commit their souls at death, as Stephen did, and being under his care and protection until the resurrection morn, when they shall be reunited to their bodies which sleep in Jesus: and they were slain
for the word of God; both for the essential Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose faith they professed; and for the written word, they made the rule of their faith and practice, and which Dioclesian forbid the reading of, and sought utterly to destroy; and for the Gospel principally, which is contained in it:
and for the testimony which they held; the Syriac and Arabic versions read, “for the testimony of the Lamb”; and so the Complutensian edition; either for the Gospel, which is a testimony of the person, office, and grace of Christ, the Lamb, which they embraced, professed, and held fast; or for the witness they bore to him, and the profession which they made thereof, and in which they continued.
(a) Tosaphta in Zohar in Exod. fol. 79. 4. (b) Shaare Ora, fol. 31. 2.((c) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 152. 2. Zohar in Numb. fol. 39. 4. Abot R. Nathan, c. 12. Raziel, fol. 39. 1. Caphtor, fol. 15. 2. & 112. 2. Nismat Chayim, fol. 16. 2.((d) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 111. 1.((e) Maimon. Hilchot. Melacim, c. 5. sect. 11. (f) Abot R. Nathan, c. 26. (g) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 85. 3.