Jesus humbled himself
Before we can completely understand Revelation 5, we must appreciate the level of degradation to which Jesus humbled himself. This is what makes the breaking of the seven seals so important. Each broken seal unleashes a new revelation about Jesus! However, the story of the seals begins before Earth was created. Please be patient and take your time to consider my understanding of this momentous story.
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8-11)
Long before Jesus was born, the Father decided the time and place of his birth, as well as the names of his parents. The Father also ordained that Jesus, the Creator of mankind, would live among human beings as one of them. The Father also decided Jesus’ physical appearance would be very plain, in fact, the lowest of mankind. He would not have a majestic, beautiful, or attractive appearance. (Isaiah 53:2) The Father deliberately chose this humble appearance because the Father is the king of humility and ordained that all created beings would be given a physical appearance greater than that of the Creator.
The Bible indicates that Jesus lived among the angels as Michael, the archangel, before He lived on Earth. His physical appearance as an angel was not majestic, beautiful, or attractive in any way, but Lucifer, the first angel created, the other covering cherub, was the most glorious being ever created! (Ezekiel 28:12-14) The physical contrast between Michael and Lucifer could not have been starker.
The Book of Life was Sealed with Seven Seals
Remember, the Father wrote a book and sealed it with seven seals prior to the creation of angels or human beings. (Revelation 17:8; Psalms 139:15,16) After Jesus was found worthy to receive the book sealed with seven seals, John refers to it as “The Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Revelation 13:8; 21:27) Since this is the only book the Lamb receives in Revelation’s story, the book sealed with seven seals must be “The Book of Life.” Interestingly, “The Book of Life” is a book about life.
The Father foreknew every detail involved in the drama with sin, so He designed a process that would expose the humble Creator to the universe as a separate, coeternal God who is His equal in every way. The Father determined that as each of the seals was broken, more information would be revealed about Jesus.
One day the universe will see that Jesus, a God equal to Himself and a perfect mirror of Himself, was willing to forfeit His own life for sinners because of His love for them. When Jesus is fully revealed, everyone will see that a very humble Jesus is actually a mirror of a very humble Father. They are equals in humility, power, glory, and divine prerogatives. (Philippians 2:9-11)
Jesus is the Son of God
Jesus is not the Father, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not Jesus. The Bible teaches there are three Gods and each of them is a separate, distinct, coeternal member of the Godhead. (Please see Appendix A for an in depth study on this topic.) Before the Godhead formed the Trinity, Jesus had the same prerogatives, powers, authority, and glory as the Father. The Father has ordained that Jesus will be revealed because He wants all living beings to see a perfect mirror of Himself. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were equals in every way until the Holy Spirit and Jesus subjugated themselves to the Father. Jesus is not a created being and He has never been a lesser God than the Father. In fact, the Father Himself calls Jesus, “God” (See Psalms 45:7 and Hebrews 8:9.) and Jesus refers to Himself as God Almighty! (Exodus 6:3; compare Isaiah 44:6 with Revelation 1:17)
Many Christians do not understand the title, “Son of God.” Some people mistakenly infer that Jesus is an offspring of the Father, created a little lower than the Father. Jesus is a member of the deity just like the Father and the title “Son of God” refers to a state of submission (humiliation). Jesus willingly entered this state to save mankind on the day that Adam and Eve sinned.
Before creating human beings or angels, the three distinct members of the Godhead made several decisions that would endure for all eternity. The strongest influence in all the universe, divine love, was behind the decisions. The three Gods, decided that one God, the God we now call the Father, would become invisible and live in a glorious light that was so bright that no one could ever see Him or approach Him. (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16; John 6:46) The Father’s glory serves an important purpose, it displays the awesome power and majesty which all three members of Deity actually have.
The Godhead also decided that one God, the one we call the Holy Spirit, would become an omnipresent conduit between the Father and all created beings. The Father and Jesus are not omnipresent, but this is not a limitation because the Holy Spirit is everywhere in real time. He sees and hears everything going on in the universe and communicates instantaneously with the Father and Jesus. Even though the Holy Spirit sees everything, no one can see Him. Even though He can hear everything and has a mind of His own, He does not speak on His own. (John 16:13) His role involves connecting a two-way channel between the Godhead and each member of creation. The Holy Spirit attempts to convey the Father’s love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness – the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) – to every being in the universe. Because the Holy Spirit is the only conduit that exists between the throne of God and all created beings, blaspheming the Holy Spirit is an unpardonable sin. (Matthew 12:31,32) This means that if the Holy Spirit ever gives up on a being who defies and rebels, there is no further contact between God and that person. Lucifer, a third of the angels, and King Saul provide illustrations of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. (1 Samuel 28:6)
Finally, the three members of the Godhead decided that one God, the God we call Jesus, would be their only visible representative. Jesus’ character is a perfect mirror of the Father and the Holy Spirit. (John 14:9; Colossians 2:9) Before Jesus created Earth, He lived among the angels as Michael the archangel. (Exodus 3; Judges 2; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7) Then, about four thousand years after Adam and Eve sinned, Jesus humbled Himself, came to Earth, and lived as a man. (Man was created lower than the angels. Hebrews 2:7) The Father wants everyone to see what He would do and how He would live if He walked “in our shoes.” What a beautiful example of the Father’s humility!
The Godhead also chose that Jesus would serve as the spokesperson for the Father. Of course, on special occasions the Father speaks directly to the angels, but Jesus provides instruction and edification. There are a few instances in the Bible where the Father actually spoke so that human beings could hear Him and when He did, He always exalted Jesus! (Luke 3:22; Matthew 17:5; John 12:28) Because Jesus is the Father’s spokesperson, when Jesus came to Earth, He did not come here to do His own will or to speak His own words! The Father spoke from Heaven and His words came out of Jesus’ mouth. The Holy Spirit (the conduit) made this possible. Jesus said, “These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” (John 14:24) In a prayer Jesus said to the Father, “For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.” (John 17:8) When Jesus speaks, He speaks for the Father and this explains this illustrious title, “The Word.” John says of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning [before anything was created]. Through Him [the Word] all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. . . . The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-3,14, insertions mine)
Jesus and the Holy Spirit gave their ability of omniscience (foreknowledge) over to the Father, so the Father is the only member of the Godhead that exercises foreknowledge. Jesus and the Father gave their omnipresence (ability to be everywhere at once) to the Holy Spirit, so the Holy Spirit is the only member of the Godhead that can be everywhere at once. The Holy Spirit and Jesus gave up their prerogative of omnipotence (unlimited power), so the Father is the all-powerful ruler of the universe. The Godhead (Trinity) sacrificed these powers between themselves to benefit a universe full of children. We see in the Trinity a dynamic display of divine love, each God yielding to the other two out of divine love each day. This is how and why they function as One God (1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = 1).
The Father foreknew the circumstances surrounding the fall of Lucifer and the angels and He foresaw the fall of Adam and Eve. Because they gave their foreknowledge to the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit did not know these events in advance. Because of His foreknowledge, the Father could write a history book and also create an intricate plan to save mankind before history began. The Father’s plan required Jesus to die, but He did not know the price for salvation until He approached the Father to see what could be done to save Adam and Eve from death. Peter said of Jesus, “He [Jesus] was chosen [by the Father as the only one who could die for man] before the creation of the world, but [He] was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:20, insertions mine)
Jesus Is the Creator
Many Christians do not know that Jesus is the creator; therefore, a few words about this topic are necessary. The Bible begins with the words, “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” (Genesis 1:1) The Hebrew word translated God is ‘elohiym. ‘Elohiym is plural and it literally means “Gods,” but most translators have chosen to avoid argument over this point (even though in Genesis 1:26 the translators clearly indicate the plurality of the Godhead saying “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.’ ” Genesis 1:26, italics mine) Because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate Gods who live in perfect harmony with each other, we can be sure that all three were present at Earth’s creation! Even the angels shouted for joy! (Job 38:7) Jesus was the Creator, the Father observed, and the Holy Spirit hovered over the surface of Earth, ready to connect the hearts and minds of a new creation with the Godhead.
The very first verse in the Bible indicates that Earth is the result of intelligent design. This verse also points to Jesus who is the Creator of everything that exists. (John 1:10,14; Isaiah 45:18) Jesus is described in the Bible with many titles including Almighty God, Jehovah, Lord God, The Word, Son of God, Master, and Savior. Whatever the Father wants, Jesus creates and whatever Jesus creates belongs to the Father. Notice what Paul says about Jesus, “In the past God [the Father] spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1,2)
A few verses will clarify the role of Jesus as the Creator. The apostle Paul wrote that Jesus is the Creator of everything that is in Heaven and on Earth: “For by Him [Christ] all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16,17, insertion mine)
At Mt. Sinai, the Creator of Earth spoke to Israel saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. . . . Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. For in six days the Lord made the Heavens and the Earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:2,8-11) Fourteen centuries after saying this, Jesus was on Earth walking with His disciples. The Pharisees accused Him of breaking the Sabbath after He and His disciples picked and ate some grain while walking through a grain field on a Sabbath. Knowing that He is the Creator of the Sabbath, carefully consider the meaning of His words: “Then He [Jesus] said to them [His critics], ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. [Men should not worship the Sabbath, men should worship the Creator of the Sabbath.] So the Son of Man [standing before you, the Creator of Heaven and Earth] is Lord even of the Sabbath [and as its Creator, I will show you how it should be observed].’ ” (Mark 2:27,28, insertions mine) There are many more texts in the Bible indicating that Jesus is the Creator, but one more should resolve the issue for now. John wrote, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14) “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.” (John 1:10)
When Adam and Eve Sinned
After Jesus created Adam, the Lord gave Adam this command: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ ” (Genesis 2:16,17, KJV) The underlying basis for this command is an eternal law which declares, “a sinner must die the day he sins.”
After Jesus created Adam and Eve, Lucifer deceived Eve. Out of love for Eve, Adam deliberately sinned to share the consequences of Eve’s guilt. One would think that since Adam was living in a sinless state, he would have sought the Creator’s help to resolve Eve’s disobedience. However, Adam loved Eve more than He trusted God and this weakness, even within a sinless being resulted in a fateful choice. Before fulfilling His promise to kill the guilty pair “the very day” they sinned, Jesus hurried to the Father to see if anything could be done to save Adam, Eve, and their future offspring from eternal death. I believe Jesus learned certain elements about the plan of salvation that day for the first time. The Father had ordained a plan for salvation before any life was created. The Father’s plan was a closely guarded secret because its features and functions were designed to be understood and applied only after the plan became necessary.
I understand that prior to Earth’s creation, a rebellion broke out in Heaven. Lucifer and his followers were not offered a plan of redemption because the Father did everything possible to correct His wayward children over a long span of time. I am speculating that it took considerable time, perhaps 7,000 years, for Lucifer’s arguments to penetrate and infect a third of the holy angels. Nevertheless, a third of the holy angels reached a point in their rebellion where they blasphemed the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit told the Father there was no hope of saving these angels, the Father postponed His sudden death law (a sinner dies the day he sins) and cast them out of Heaven. The Father temporarily stayed the execution of Lucifer and his followers for the larger benefit of the universe. Because the Father has infinite wisdom and foreknowledge, He wants the universe to see the malignity of sin’s curse and its consequences so that after sin is finally eliminated from the universe, the curse of sin will never spread again. God offers no atonement for defiance. Only the Holy Spirit (who intimately reads each heart and mind) determines when the point of no return is reached. He is the member of the Godhead who determines when persistent defiance becomes “unpardonable.” (Matthew 12:31)
The Meeting between Jesus and the Father
In a perfect universe, sin is never justifiable and there is no excuse for violating any of God’s laws. The Father sends wisdom and strength to anyone who asks and has a thousand solutions for every temptation. After Adam and Eve sinned, I believe they were also spared from immediate execution under the sudden death law. My understanding is that before Jesus executed them as he had promised, He went to see the Father. I can imagine a meeting between Jesus and the Father went something like this: The Father told Jesus He had a plan to save sinners who had not blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Then, the Father explained to Jesus that no sin can be forgiven because the curse of sin immediately begins to function within a sinner the moment he sins. The curse of sin is the withdrawal of God’s sustaining power to live. God can implement the curse suddenly (God kills the sinner outright – as in the case of 185,000 soldiers (Isaiah 37:36) ) or the curse can be lingering, when God withdraws life gradually (as in the case of growing old, getting weak and dying from disease). During the curse of sin, God continues to give life to sinners (up to a maximum of 969 years for Methuselah). When God finally removes the curse of sin from the universe, the result of sin will be instant death (a sinner will die the day he sins). Because sinless beings can choose to sin and/or be enticed into sin, God will not again permit the curse of sin to spread. Two instances of sin are enough.
God is the only source and sustainer of all life. All created beings (such as animals, birds, and fish) live from one breath to the next because God sustains life. Because of sin, disorder and chaos begins in the sinner’s body, even at the cellular level, and the sinner eventually dies.
Jesus knew from Lucifer’s rebellion that when a sinless being sins, the sinner immediately loses a propensity for righteousness. When the curse of sin takes over, a loving and selfless being suddenly becomes selfish and rebellious. Jesus created the angels and mankind in the image of God so they had humble attitudes, loved righteousness, and exalted truth. However, the curse of sin changes the image of God into the image of Lucifer. Every sinner has a propensity for arrogance, selfishness, and rebellion toward God. Sinners also have a propensity for predatory behavior and will take advantage of others if/when possible. The divergence between a noble, sinless being and a sinner defaced by sin’s curse is enormous; this is why sinners are called “fallen beings.”
Jesus Paid The Price for Salvation
Until Adam and Eve sinned, Jesus could not know the actual price for salvation. I believe the Father told Jesus that “the sudden death law” hanging over Adam and Eve could be postponed for a while so that they and their offspring could have access to redemption if Jesus, the Creator was:
- Willing to become a man and live within the physical limitations of mankind.
- Willing to live as a despised Jew. He would be sent to Earth at a time when the Romans ruled the world and the Jewish nation’s apostasy would be at its peak.
- Willing to speak every word which the Father commanded Him to say.
- Willing to face and overcome every temptation known to mankind.
- Willing to face and overcome extreme temptations to exercise divine power which would remain intact.
- Willing at all times to display the patience, love, kindness, and humility of the Father.
- After living a sinless life, willing to endure extreme suffering from the hands of men before dying on a cross.
The Father explained that if Jesus successfully executed these steps, the Father would have:
- A legitimate way of restoring the righteousness that Adam and Eve had lost (Jesus would produce this righteousness by overcoming every temptation and through His blood, the Father could transfer Christ’s righteousness to sinners).
- A legitimate way for carrying out the penalty for sin on sinners while sparing repentant sinners from death (the law requiring the death of sinners cannot be changed or cancelled, but a sinner’s guilt could be transferred to Lucifer, the father of sin).
- A legitimate way for bestowing eternal life on repentant sinners (the Father would transfer to repentant sinners the eternal life which formerly belonged to the Creator).
If Jesus accomplished all that the plan of redemption entailed, God would resurrect Jesus from the dead and would give Him a special kingdom containing everyone that was redeemed. This kingdom would be exalted above the angels. The redeemed would serve as kings and priests, and manage the universe. They would testify throughout the universe that the only way to be saved is the way of genuine love and the curse of sin would never again infect the universe. If a billion years later, a person chooses to exercise free will and is tempted to sin, millions of ex-sinners, all having experience with the curse of sin and the knowledge of good and evil, will help him understand that sin is not the answer and sinning comes with a dreaded curse. If that person does not listen to these witnesses and stubbornly proceeds to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, God will destroy him on the day that he sins as the law demands. Everyone in the universe will sadly, but gratefully understand the immediate execution of that sinner. When the drama with sin is finally over, there will never be further atonement for sin. Jesus will never need to die again because there will be no further atonement for sin. So, Jesus and His kingdom of kings and priests will never end.
This was the Father’s offer and solution for preventing a third instance of sin’s curse. When Jesus learned of the Father’s profound solution, Jesus did not hesitate. Incredibly, Jesus immediately humbled Himself right there to carry out the Father’s plan.
The Incredible Nature of Jesus’ Love
Jesus accepted the Father’s plan, only because of Jesus’ love. Jesus loved the Father and He quickly understood the wisdom behind the Father’s larger plan to prevent a third instance of sin’s curse. Jesus also loved Adam and Eve and He understood that either He had to carry out the demand of the law (killing the guilty pair) or He could offer them redemption by carrying out the Father’s plan. Knowing there was a risk of failure, Jesus nevertheless humbled Himself to implement the Father’s plan. This is the greatest act of humiliation ever recorded.
“And [God] being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8, insertion mine) “During the days of Jesus’ life on Earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission.” (Hebrews 5:7)
If the holy angels had any doubts about the Father’s love for His subjects or the Creator’s love for those He had made, such thoughts vanished that day. They clearly saw the Father and a very humble Jesus were One in purpose, plan, and action. The Father’s and the Creator’s love for their subjects overwhelmed the angels! Lucifer and his followers were shocked when Jesus did not kill Adam and Eve. Even in their blind rebellion and hatred for God, the fallen angels were amazed to learn there was a plan to save sinners. This made Lucifer and his followers very angry toward God because God had a plan to save mankind but no plans to save one third of the angels!
The Bible summarizes the outcome of the meeting between the Father and Jesus saying: “I [Jesus] will proclaim the decree of the Lord [the Father]: He said to me, ‘You are my Son [subject]; today I have become your Father [Master]. [If you are successful] Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the Earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter [you will have a kingdom whose rule cannot be broken]; you will dash them [your enemies] to pieces like pottery. Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the Earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss [submit to the authority of] the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.’ ” (Psalms 2:7-12, insertions mine)
The phrase, “You are my Son” needs a little explanation. The Hebrew word translated “son” is ben and it means “a subject” or someone under authority. When Jesus subjected Himself to the Father to carry out the Father’s plan and in all things to do the Father’s will, the Father gave Jesus the title, “The Subject of God.” (Psalms 2) In other texts, Jesus is called “The Lamb of God.” (John 1:29) Both verses reveal that Jesus became willing to carry out the Father’s will. Unfortunately, the title, “Son of God” has created many goofy ideas over the centuries which have nothing to do with the realities involved.
Jesus and John the Baptist Set Apart for Service
Please consider these two verses: “But the angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.’ ” (Luke 1:13) “But after he [Joseph] had considered this [divorcing Mary], an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ ” (Matthew 1:20-21, insertions mine)
First, the angel told Zechariah that he was to name his son, “John.” Next, the angel told Joseph that he was to name his son, “Jesus.” These two families were not permitted to name their sons because both sons were set apart for God’s service, not limited to the dominion of their parents. Like the prophet Jeremiah, God set them apart before birth. (Luke 1:15,35; Jeremiah 1:5)
Prior to his birth, God selected John (the Baptist) to proclaim the Messiah’s arrival. No prophet had ever been given a greater honor. One day, Jesus told some Pharisees who had gone to the Jordan River to question John if he might be the Messiah: “Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:9-11)
No Sacred Name
Some Christians insist that the name Jesus should not be used, maintaining that Jesus must be called a Hebrew name such as “Yah,” “Yashua,” “Yehoshua,” or “Yahweh.” This claim has no merit because first, the Father Himself avoided Hebrew names when He named John and Jesus. Second, man should not usurp the Father’s authority. The Bible says, “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man [has been healed and you can see that he] stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12, insertion and italics mine) Third, the name “Jesus” is mentioned more than a thousand times in the New Testament because that’s the name the Holy Spirit inspired Bible writers to use. The idea of using a sacred name is fiction.
From secular and Bible history, we know that the names “John” and “Jesus” were very common Jewish names used at the time of Christ’s birth. (Acts 13:6; Colossians 4:11; Mark 5:37; Acts 15:37) The Father imposed this humility on both men and their lives were a demonstration of it. Matthew described John saying, “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. [John looked like a homeless mountain man.] His food was locusts [a bland fruit that grew in the region] and wild honey.” (Matthew 3:4, insertions mine)
Isaiah reports Jesus’ humility: “He grew up before Him [the Father] like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Isaiah 53:2,3, insertion mine)
The only element that makes a name or title holy is divinity. Regardless of the many names or titles that identify Jesus in the Bible, we should not carelessly use any of His names or titles. (Exodus 20:7). For example, one of the highest and most exalted titles given in the Bible for God is “Father” and Jesus tells us to address the Ruler of the Universe with this endearing title, “Our Father.” (Matthew 6:9) Because “Father” is an exalted title for the Father, He forbids anyone from calling a clergyman, “Father.” (Matthew 23:9)
Michael is Jesus
Because Jesus’ humility is a new subject for many people, another aspect of His humility needs investigation. Jesus lived in Heaven before He created the world and He lived among the angels in the form of a very humble angel. The angels called Him Michael. The name Michael is like the name Jesus in that both names indicate how closely Jesus identifies with those He creates. To the angels, Jesus is Michael the archangel (the prefix arch means “over” or “above” all angels). To mankind, Michael is Jesus, the Savior of the world, King of kings, and Lord of lords, the “archman,” if you will. Many people are offended when they hear someone say that Jesus is also Michael because they do not understand this topic properly. Four books in the Bible offer information about Heaven’s highest angel (who is also Heaven’s most humble angel).
- “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ ” (Jude 1:9) Michael is identified as the archangel in this text. Sometimes, Bible students use this verse to infer that Michael is not Jesus because Michael refers to the Lord as a third person saying, “The Lord rebuke you.” This objection is superficial. Notice Zechariah 3:2: “The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!’ ”
The third person reference in Zechariah 3:2 is identical to Jude 1:9. In both cases, Michael is speaking and Michael speaks with divine authority to terminate a discussion between Himself and the devil. Lucifer has no recourse. When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus did not slander the devil nor rail against him. Speaking to Lucifer with divine authority, Jesus said, “Do not put the Lord your God [me] to the test.” (Matthew 4:7, insertion mine) Both Jesus and the devil knew who He was and the devil retreated.
- “For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) Before we examine the details of this verse, we need to consider three statements that Jesus made. Notice what Jesus says about His voice: “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25) Jesus said the dead will hear His voice. Jesus said, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40) Jesus has the keys to death and said, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades [Greek: the grave].” (Revelation 1:18, insertion mine)
These four texts will harmonize only if the archangel is Jesus. The Lord Himself will come down from Heaven and having the keys of death and the grave, He will speak with the authority of the archangel and call the dead to life at the last day. When Jesus appears in glory at the Second Coming, all of the angels will be with Him. (Matthew 25:31) Because He is the archangel, He will be their commander. The dead will hear His voice at the last day. Some people try to avoid the weight of evidence by saying the archangel joins with the Lord in raising the dead. Obviously, Almighty God does not need an angel to help Him raise the dead.
Paul merges two perspectives about Jesus in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. From man’s point of view, Jesus is the Redeemer who resurrects the dead. From the angel’s point of view, Michael, the archangel, is the Commander-In-Chief who leads the heavenly host. Jesus has great authority rising from two identities. He is the Redeemer of mankind and the Commander-in-Chief of angels.
- “At that time 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. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:1,2)
I understand the seven bowls in Revelation 16 will begin when Michael stands up. This suggests that prior to this time, Michael is seated and we know this is true because Paul says, “We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in Heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.” (Hebrews 8:1,2)
When Michael stands up, His work as man’s Savior is terminated and a time of greatest distress will begin on Earth. Michael is identified as the great prince who protects God’s people. It is true that a prince becomes a king when the kingdom is handed over to him. Currently, Jesus is “a prince in waiting” and waiting for Earth to become His footstool. (Psalms 110:1; Hebrews 1:13; Revelation 11:17) The Bible says Jesus will take possession of Earth during the great tribulation, at the time of the seventh trumpet. (Revelation 11:15-19) His first action as King of kings and Lord of lords will be to pour out seven bowls of vengeance on His enemies, all who have the mark of the beast. (Revelation 15 and 16)
One text in the book of Daniel is sometimes used to support the idea that Michael is not Jesus. “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13) This text describes an event when Gabriel needed Michael’s help to overcome the devil’s influence over the king of Persia.
At first, it may seem strange that Michael is called “one of the chief princes,” especially if He is the archangel. This particular language can be easily harmonized if you can accept two concepts. First, Jesus lived among the angels as “one” of them, just like He lived among mankind as “one” of us. In this sense, Michael looked like the other chief princes of Heaven. Second, in Heaven’s order, the highest rank is that of a servant leader. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11) When Jesus lived on Earth, He did not awe the multitudes with His power and glory. He did not lord His divine authority over mortals or rule from an exalted throne. He did not surround Himself with an entourage of 10,000 servants. Even though Jesus is a God in His own right, He humbled Himself and became a subject (son) to the Father and even death itself. He lived as a humble servant of man and Michael lived the same way in Heaven. Servant leadership is the order in God’s kingdom and Gabriel refers to Michael as one of the chief princes because He functioned as that. Keep this parallel in mind: Jesus appeared to be one of us and from the perspective of the angels, Michael appears to be one of them.
- “And there was war in Heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in Heaven.” (Revelation 12:7,8) In this text, Michael and Satan are described as commanders, each with an army of angels. Lucifer is the Prince of Darkness and Michael is the Prince of Peace. Jesus ascended to Heaven shortly after His resurrection on Sunday morning to claim the Father’s promise that Earth would be His possession if He successfully met the terms and conditions set forth in the Plan of Redemption. Lucifer realized that if He could no longer present himself in Heaven’s councils as the Prince of this world (Job 1) and lost this exalted position, he and his followers would eventually be destroyed. Fallen angels waged this war to save themselves from certain death. It is ironic to note that Michael and Lucifer were very close friends at one time. It is also interesting to note that each time the name Michael (the archangel) is used in the Bible, it is directly or indirectly associated with conflict between Jesus and Lucifer.
Now that we have examined the four texts that mention Michael by name, there is good reason to believe that Michael is Jesus, but the Bible has more evidence proving this fact.
Michael is Jehovah
In the Old Testament, Jesus is often identified as “the angel of the Lord.” Three excellent examples are in the following texts. Pay careful attention to which entity is speaking in each text. When Abraham was about to slay Isaac as a sacrifice, the Bible says, “But the angel of the Lord called out to him from Heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham! . . . Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ He said. The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from Heaven a second time and said . . . ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord [Jehovah], that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on Earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’ ” (Selections from Genesis 22:11-18, insertion mine). Did you notice in these verses that “the angel of the Lord” is actually God, the Lord Jehovah (Jehovah means “eternal God”)?
The second example is even more illuminating. One day when Moses was tending his sheep, he noticed a bush blazing with flames of fire. The Bible says, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within the bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, `I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.’ When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said `Here I am.’ `Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ ” (Exodus 3:2-6) Did you notice again that “the angel of the Lord” is God?
The third text should remove all doubt. “The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord [Jehovah].” (Joshua 2:1-5, insertion mine)
There is only one angel (the angel of the Lord) who can be God, has the authority of God, and speaks for God. His name is Michael, the archangel. He is “the Word.” He was with the Israelites day and night and He provided for all their needs, including their food and water. Notice what Paul wrote, “They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4) After reviewing these verses, we can easily solve the mystery. The angel of the Lord is God. There is only One angel who can be called God. He is the Archangel and His name means “One who is like God.”