Who is Michael in Revelation?
I am currently preaching an expository sermon series through the entire book of Revelation. This has proven to be an enormously rewarding task, not only for my congregation but also for me. Our church has never worked through this book before and neither have I as a pastor.
There are a number of passages in Revelation that I have not clearly understood, and preaching through the book text by text and verse by verse has often forced me to reconsider my presuppositions and draw conclusions that I had not considered before.
As I work through the book, I often depend on commentators both dead and alive to help me on my way. I have found that both G.K. Beale and Vern Poythress are tremendously helpful. So too with Simon Kistemaker. Of course, when possible, I often draw from men like Matthew Henry and Jonathan Edwards. And while John Calvin did not leave us a commentary on the book of Revelation, his work in other places (Daniel for instance) is of great help.
This past week, I came to a new dilemma that I had not worked through before: the identity of Michael in Revelation 12:7. Like many, I had simply assumed that Michael was a great angel; an archangel in charge of a force of other angels. Perhaps something like a military captain among the heavenly host. But then in my research, I began to discover that there was another position entirely. Many – including some of the great Reformers and Puritans – held that Michael is actually Jesus Christ.
Let's be clear: they were not saying that Jesus is an angel. This is not an ontological statement about the nature of the Son of God. But rather that Michael is another name for the person of Christ, the Messiah. In this YouTube video, I will share with you some of the fruit of my research, especially as I consider the views of Calvin, Henry, Edwards, and the notes of the old Geneva Bible.
[Note: after recording the video, I also conferred with Francis Turretin who likewise takes a similar position as the others].