St. Michael

MichaelThe name Michael means “Who is like God?”

Michael first appears in the Old Testament in the book of Joshua’s account of the fall of Jericho. Though Michael is not mentioned by name in the text, it is said that Joshua “looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand.” When the still unaware Joshua asks which side of the fight the Archangel is on, Michael responds, “neither…but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come” (Joshua 5:13-14).

In the book of Daniel, Michael appears first to help the Archangel Gabriel defeat the Persians (10:13). In a later vision it is revealed to Daniel that “at that time [the end times] Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then…” (Ch. 12.1) Michael thus plays an important role as the protector of Israel and later of his chosen people, the Church.

The Church Fathers also ascribe to Michael the following events: During the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; the power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4/2 Kings 19:35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Heliodorus (2 Macc. 3: 24-26); and in the protection of the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan 3:22-25). Through the will of God, the Chief Commander Michael transported the Prophet Habbakuk from Judea to Babylon, to give food to Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan. 14:33-37). The Archangel Michael disputed with the devil over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9).

In New Testament times, the holy Archangel Michael showed his power when he miraculously saved a young man, cast into the sea by robbers with a stone about his neck on the shores of Mt Athos. This story is found in the Athonite Paterikon, and in the Life of St Neophytus of Docheiariou.

Perhaps his most famous miracle, though, is the salvation of the church at Colossae. Here a number of pagans tried to destroy this church by diverting the flow of two rivers directly into its path. However, the Archangel appeared amongst the waters, and, carrying a cross, channeled the rivers underground so that the ground the church stood on would not be destroyed. The spring which came forth after this event is said to have special healing powers.

Michael also has been associated with healing in other cases, as well as his primary role as leader of the Church Militant. He has been said to appear to Emperor Constantine the Great (d. 337) at Constantinople, to have intervened in assorted battles, and appeared, sword in hand, over the mausoleum of Hadrian, in apparent answer to the prayers of Pope St. Gregory I the Great (c. 590-604) that a plague in Rome should cease.

Russians in particular have a special veneration to Michael, along with the Theotokos. According to OCA, “Intercession for Russian cities by the Most Holy Queen of Heaven always involved Her appearances with the Heavenly Hosts, under the leadership of the Archangel Michael. Many monasteries, cathedrals, court and merchant churches are dedicated to the Chief Commander Michael. In Rus there was not a city where there was not a church or chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

What other Religions say about Michael

In “Latter-day Saint theology,” [through their pretended “modern day, prophetic revelation”], Michael lived a mortal life as the patriarch Adam. Michael and Adam are regarded as the same person. Michael is the name of the pre-mortal and post-mortal Adam. Adam being created in God’s image is believed to be in the same likeness of the Father (along with Seth, Adam’s son, and Jesus, God’s Son). Adam’s angelic name Michael (“he who is like El”) would be genuinely descriptive of Michael’s appearance with a body genetically in the image of the Father. Brigham Young preached on April 9, 1852 that Adam/Michael came to earth in a spiritual form, helped create the world, and was a god himself too [1].

Jehovah’s [sic] Witnesses believe that Jesus and the Archangel Michael are the same being. They believe that Jesus/Michael was the first being that God created, and assisted with the creation of the universe, the angels, and mankind. In this prehuman existence he was known as the Word of God. He later took human form as Jesus and led a life without sin. After his death on an alleged torture stake, Jesus was resurrected in his previous spiritual form.

[Some] Seventh-day Adventists also tend to take the belief that Michael is a name of Jesus, however they believe that archangel does not mean angel, but chief of the angels and thus that Michael is the Son of God, Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witness and Seventh-day Adventist view both ultimately descend from the Millerite tradition before the Great Disappointment.

Several Baptists have taught that Michael and Jesus are the same person, but in contrast to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they viewed him as being the uncreated, divine Son of God rather than an angel. Examples include the evangelist Charles Spurgeon (!!!!!) and the commentator John Gill. The Presbyterian commentator Matthew Henry was of a similar opinion, as was the writer of the footnotes in the 1599 Geneva Bible.
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