Was Michael Jackson the Archangel?
Musing Michael the Messenger
To millions of fans spanning the globe Michael Joseph Jackson was angelic. The biblical word “angel” simply means “messenger of God.” And if ever God sent a messenger in recent times, loyal fans believe Michael Jackson to be that man. Some feel that among other caring, angelic persons in our lifetime (like Mother Theresa, or lesser known persons from other cultures), Michael stands out as an archangel. This is partly attributable to the sheer magnitude of his influence. Indeed, fans insist he was the principle one or chief (hence “arch-“) among those considered to be angelic. In fact, it has been stated that a man’s greatness can be measured by that which he has left others to contemplate. By this dictum, Michael Jackson was indeed a great man; an incredibly wonderful human being who reflected the godly qualities of love and generosity on a grand scale. In fact, his very name, “Michael,” means, “Who is like God?” But, there is another historical “Michael” who is far more famous than Michael Jackson. Some have even confused the two. Who might this other Michael be?
Who is the other Michael?: The other Michael is a real angel-a spirit creature-mentioned several times in the Bible. He is much more fabulously known by another name, and in another form, which is discussed in detail below. Meanwhile, the first one to mention Michael is Prophet Daniel. He describes “prince” Michael as a powerful spirit creature who stands in behalf of others during “a time of distress,” or, “the time of the end.” (Daniel 10:13; 11:40; 12:1) Though not mentioning this same Michael specifically by name, Joshua encountered “a man” who twice described himself as the “prince of the army of Jehovah” as the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land. (Joshua 5:13-15) Jehovah had earlier told Moses: “My angel will go ahead of you” (Exodus 23:23; 32:34; 33:2) as the Children of Israel trekked into “a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:8) So, these three “Old Testament” writers-Daniel, Joshua, and Moses-all knew of the powerful prince angel called Michael. Three “New Testament” writers zero in on other clues as to the other identity of the biblical Michael.
Jude reveals that, the same powerful angelic prince Michael that God told Moses about had a confrontation with the Devil over Moses’ dead body. “But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil,” writes Jude, “and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: ‘May Jehovah rebuke you.'” (Jude 9) So, Jude calls Michael the “archangel.” But, he is not the first to do so. Years earlier the apostle Paul proclaimed: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) The “Lord,” ‘archangel,’ and “Christ” are all one and the same in this singular text. And just as Jesus encountered the Devil on earth, Michael confronted Satan in heaven. “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon….So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:7-9) Intriguingly, Michael appears to be Jesus Christ in his pre-human existence. But, is that what Jesus himself said?
A Pre-human Jesus?: “Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.” (John 17:5) That’s what Jesus had to say about his pre-human existence. On an earlier occasion, identifying himself as the “Son of man,” he declared: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.” (John 3:13; compare John 1:51; 6:38, 46, 62; 7:28, 29; 8:23, 26, 28, 38, 42, 58; 14:2) As a pre-human spirit being the man who became Jesus said the following:
“Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth….I was brought forth as with labor pains,…When he prepared the heavens I was there;…I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day,…and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.” (Proverbs 8:22-31) For good reason, many believe these texts allude to Jesus Christ in his pre-human existence. The publication God’s “Eternal Purpose” Now Triumphing For Man’s Good (1974) states: “Jewish leaders are concerned about the application that may be made of the above Bible verses. In the Soncino Press edition of Proverbs, of 1945, we read in the footnote on this section: ‘For the Jewish reader this interpretation is of much importance in view of the Christological use made of this section by the early Church Fathers.'”
Which early Church Fathers? A footnote in the Eternal Purpose book answers: “See Tertullian’s ‘Against Praxeas.’ Therein, in Chapter 7, he says: ‘The Son likewise acknowledges the Father, speaking in his own person, under the name of Wisdom: “The LORD formed me as the beginning of his ways.”‘ See also comments on Proverbs 8:22 by Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian (The Treatises of), Origen’s ‘De Principiis,’ Dionysius, and Lactantius.” All these believed that Proverbs 8:22-31 is code for Jesus Christ, who, being “from time indefinite” (Proverbs 8:23), was eventually born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. Amazingly, his birthplace was prophesied by Prophet Micah, who wrote: “O Bethlehem Ephrathah,… from you there will come out to me the one who is to become ruler in Israel, whose origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite.” (Micah 5:2) Though it was true of Jesus, did others have a pre-human existence?
“Men” With Pre-human Existences?: A mysterious “man” who met with Manoah and his wife (who later became the parents of Samson) was in reality an angel who made two trips-as a “man”-to earth. (Judges 13:1-25) And just as controversy swirls around Michael’s parenthood, such was the case in connection with angels who left heaven to father hybrid earth children. Of course, there is no relationship between Michael Jackson and these demon angels! (Genesis 6:1-4) These semen-
producing “sons of God” stayed young and took on new generations of beautiful women as wives. Interestingly, they’re never called “men” in Scripture, although they’re initially referred to in the masculine gender, and obviously took on the form of men. Not being “born of woman” or “through the woman,” apparently they weren’t fully human. (Job 14:1; 1 Cor. 11:12) This can be ascertained from the fact that they could shed their “human” bodies, and that their sons were hybrids.
Even so, faithful angels, as noted in the case of the “man” who visited Manoah above, are described as “men,” complete with human feelings and needs. (Genesis 18:2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16; Genesis 19:1, 2-4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16) Consistently, even the materialized demon angels of Noah’s day are “the spirits in prison” who disobeyed God’s command not to cohabit with beautiful women. (1 Peter 3:19, 20) They’re the same “angels that sinned.” (2 Peter 2:4) Yes, they’re the very ones “that did not keep their original position, but forsook their own dwelling place.” (Jude 6) Indeed, there were “men” who had pre-human existences.Â
Finally, the disciple James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect present is from above.” (James 1:17) In giving too many gifts to count, Michael Jackson was most assuredly a “messenger” or “angel” of God. Still, aside from sharing the same name, there is little else that Michael Jackson has in common with Michael the Archangel. The same can be said of a generous, noble minded Latino named Jesus Hernandez and the Lord Jesus Christ. Same name. Different persons. All said, the question can be posed: “Who is like Michael Jackson?” The answer? No one on this earth. And likely no one in this lifetime. Enough said. Amen.
Dr. Firpo Carr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.