Home > C. H. Spurgeon > The Identities of Jesus and the Arch-Angel Michael

The Identities of Jesus and the Arch-Angel Michael

October 24, 2011

Lately an unusual idea has been circulating among some Christians online: the idea that the archangel Michael is really another name for Jesus.  This is not the standard Jehovah Witness claim about Christ being a created angelic being.  No, this view maintains Christ’s Deity, but says that all references to “Michael” are actually referring to Christ.

For support, the group claims support from a few well-known preachers, including Charles Spurgeon.  From my own googling through Spurgeon sermons (on the Spurgeon Gems site), sure enough, I found a few interesting statements from Spurgeon, which might seem to give support to the idea.  For in these excerpts, Spurgeon does say that our Lord “is the true Michael” and from these texts I could not easily tell if Spurgeon thought that Michael was literally Jesus, or if he were speaking figuratively from an understanding of types.

From “The Blood of the Lamb, The Conquering Weapon” (Sept. 9, 1888):

“By faith we rise into the conquering place this day. In the heavenlies we triumph, as also in every place. We rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Michael of the angels, the Redeemer of men. For by Him we see Satan cast out and all the powers of evil hurled from their places of power and eminence.”

From “Our Lord’s Transcendent Greatness” (Dec. 2, 1866):

You remember how our Lord, who is the true Michael, the only great Archangel, said at the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel, “I beheld Satan as lightning falling from Heaven.”

From “The Angelic Life” (Nov. 22, 1868):

“We read that Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels, and the dragon was cast down. The fight is going on every day. Michael is the Lord Jesus, the only Archangel.”

If that were all, perhaps the group might be justified in their claim that at least Spurgeon believed this.  But then I found the following, Spurgeon’s commentary on Jude 9, a passage which specifically mentions Michael:  But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”  Here it is clear that Spurgeon did see a distinction in the identities of Christ and Michael, for he puts forth a lesson regarding the created angel Michael as well as the “great Doctrine of angels watching over the bones of the saints.”

From “The Resurrection of the Dead” (Feb. 17, 1856):

“There is a remarkable passage in Jude, where it speaks of Michael the Archangel contending with the devil about the body of Moses and using no “railing accusation.” Now, this refers to the great Doctrine of angels watching over the bones of the saints. Certainly it tells us that the body of Moses was watched over by a great archangel. The devil thought to disturb that body but Michael contended with him about it. Now would there be a contention about that body if it had been of no value? Would Michael contend for that which was only to be the food of worms? Would he wrestle with the enemy for that which was to be scattered to the four winds of Heaven, never to be united again into a new and goodlier fabric? No. Assuredly not! From this we learn that an angel watches over every tomb. It is no fiction, when on the marble we carve the cherubs with their wings. There are cherubs with outstretched wings over the head of the gravestones of all the righteous. Yes, and where “the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep,” in some nook overgrown by nettles, there an angel stands night and day to watch each bone and guard each atom, that at the resurrection, those bodies, with more glory than they had on earth, may start up to dwell forever with the Lord! The guardianship of the bodies of the saints by angels proves that they shall rise again from the dead!”

  1. December 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Shouldn’t the 1866, 1868, and 1888 quotes take precedence over the 1856 one? Or are we to assume that Spurgeon never changed his mind on any Bible passages, even after 10, 12, or 32 years?

    • December 31, 2013 at 8:53 am

      No, not when we consider Spurgeon’s life (biography), as one exceptionally gifted and who basically didn’t have a childhood but came into spiritual maturity early on, with a childhood spent reading deep theological works of the Puritans. His textual sermon style with heavy emphasis on typology and symbolism was a continual trait with him, not really exegeting verse by verse but branching out on the possible ideas behind the words in a verse, and often mentioning the same figures as types, in passing comments within a sermon, such as he did with his occasional mentions of Michael the Archangel.

      • December 31, 2013 at 10:33 am

        I just don’t think it realistic to assume that Spurgeon never changed his mind on anything after 1856, and that thus when he said that Christ was the only Archangel 10 and 12 years later, he didn’t really mean what he said.

        The Bible explicitly states that Michael is an/the archangel. Are we to conclude that Spurgeon either didn’t know this or didn’t believe this when he said that Christ is the only Archangel? I wouldn’t think so.

        “Archangel” means “ruler of the angels.” Is not the “Prince of the host” in Dan. 8:11 Christ? How about the identical Hebrew phrase “captain of the host” in Josh. 5:14-15? Now if the captain of the host is Christ, then why wouldn’t the ruler of the angels be Christ as well? How can there be any functional difference between “ruler of the host” and “ruler of the angels”?

        In an 1868 sermon on “Joshua’s vision,” Spurgeon identified the captain of the Lord’s host as being Christ (http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/0795.HTM). Again, calling Christ the Archangel, and calling Him the captain of the Lord’s host, is the very same thing.

      • December 31, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Christ is NOT Michael the archangel, and Spurgeon was of orthodox, evangelical faith and knew the difference, that Christ is NOT actually the same person as Michael. Any other view is not within the believing Christian faith. And Spurgeon did continually use types and figures, as demonstrated in one of the quotes above, and did not change his mind about such things. END OF DISCUSSION.

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