The earliest reference to Michael the archangel is in the book of Daniel. There are several interesting factors concerning these verses. First is the reality that angels are not always able to bring things about at will. Even with Michael’s assistance, the angel that spoke to Daniel revealed to him that he could not get to him for twenty-one days. Second, is that evil angels exist as well as good ones and are at war against the good. Third, the location where Daniel’s revelation occurred is today called Iraq. The river Hiddekel is mentioned twice in the Bible, the other mention being in the Garden of Eden. It is considered to be the Tigris River of today.
The angel displayed the physical form of a man, dressed in gold linen clothing. The word “beryl” is mentioned in his description. Its meaning is uncertain but is believed to be golden. His face is illuminated as if by a bright light and his eyes shone like fire. The visible parts of the angel’s arms and feet were brass or copper colored. When he spoke it sounded similar to many people talking. A comparable description is found in the book of Revelation. Speaking of Jesus Christ in a vision of John, it states, “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (Revelation 1:14-15) And also in Revelation 2:18, speaking of Jesus Christ: “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;”
Understandably, Daniel, overwhelmed by this angel’s spectacular appearance, grew weak. Daniel had been praying and fasting for three weeks prior to the angel’s manifestation. Characterized by the angel as “dearly beloved,” Daniel was informed that the angel’s purpose for coming was to enlighten him as to what would happen to his people in the “latter days.”
“In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were grided with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken the word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? For as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me. And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou has strengthened me. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” (Daniel 10:2-21) In his dialogue with Daniel the angel proclaimed Michael a prince.
The scriptures reveal that Michael is to make a dramatic stand in what is described as the end times. According to the book of Daniel, there is to be a future time of trouble like no other in history, which will be followed, by a time of deliverance. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1) Once more Michael is portrayed as a prince of the people.
In the short one chapter book of Jude in the New Testament, it is once more confirmed that Michael is an archangel. It is also pointed out, as an example for us that Michael did not argue with Satan; he rebuked him. “Yet, Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9) This teaches us that we are not to get involved speaking or arguing with Satan, but to only rebuke him in the name of Jesus.
A vital function of God’s plan, which is to be carried out by Michael, is discovered in the book of Revelation. It speaks of a war that is to take place in heaven between Michael and the Devil. As a result, Michael wins the battle and Satan is thrown out of heaven, but notice he and his evil angels appear on the earth. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”(Revelation 12:7-9) It is interesting to note the several descriptions of Satan in that verse: Satan, dragon, serpent, Devil, world deceiver. Continuing, verse twelve reports that this means trouble for those on the earth, because the devil, at that time, knows his days are numbered. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)
The angel Gabriel makes four special appearances in the Bible. He is first mentioned in Daniel, chapter eight. It is written by Daniel that Gabriel looked like a man. Daniel is informed that he would be given the ability to understand a strange vision that he had concerning the end times. “And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.” (Daniel 8:15-16)
Gabriel is once more referred to in chapter nine of the book of Daniel. A curious expression, “being caused to fly swiftly,” is used at this time. Not floating, but flying. It doesn’t say if he just flew through the air on his own or if he was on some kind of vehicle. “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” (Daniel 9:21)
Daniel is shown several intriguing visions by angels concerning the future, which are entwined throughout the book of Daniel. The last verse in the book gives a noteworthy promise to Daniel concerning his future. “But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13)
Gabriel was the privileged angel chosen to pronounce the biggest event in human history, which involved two extraordinary birth announcements. The first announcement was to Zacharias, informing him that he was going to have a son and he was to name that son John. Gabriel authorizes his position, proclaiming that he stands in the presence of God. Because Zacharias displayed doubt concerning Gabriel’s words, he was stricken with the inability to speak until the day his son was born.
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the alter of incense. And when Zacharias saw him he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the Angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them and remained speechless. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” (Luke 1:5-25)
After six months had passed, Luke described Gabriel’s appearance to the most favored woman of all time, Mary, the one chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary did not doubt Gabriel’s words but did struggle with the thought, because she was a virgin. Gabriel’s words to Mary, “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” gave Mary and gives us encouragement.
“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26-37)
The child was born and, as directed by Gabriel, he was given the name Jesus.
“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21)