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Michael is one of the most mysterious figures in the Bible. One of just two angels mentioned by name (the other being Gabriel), Michael is the only one specifically identified as an archangel.
Michael plays a variety of roles in the Bible—from Israel’s protector (Daniel 10, 12) to heavenly warrior (Revelation 12:7) to the herald of Christ’s return (assuming that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is a reference to Michael). In every case, Michael is at the center of a conflict raging in an unseen realm.
Perhaps the most cryptic reference to Michael is found in the book of Jude. Writing to the early church, Jude quoted an apocryphal story in which Michael and the devil fought over the body of Moses. The original significance remains a mystery, but Jude used the story to make a point about respect for angelic beings.
Apparently some false believers had rejected all forms of authority and had even begun to “slander celestial beings” (Jude 1:8). In response, Jude noted that the archangel Michael refused to accuse the devil, a fallen angel, but instead left the rebuking to God.
In the Old Testament, Daniel described an encounter with a mysterious being who was detained by an evil spirit while on his way to visit the aging prophet. It was only when Michael came to the being’s aid that he was able to complete his journey (Daniel 10:12–14). Later, the mysterious being described Michael as “the great prince” who protected Israel in the midst of its distress (Daniel 12:1).
When it comes to understanding Michael, the unknown almost certainly outweighs that which can be known. However, one thing is certain: The world we see and touch is not all there is. Michael’s story reminds us that angelic conflict continues unseen.
While Michael engages in real conflict with demonic forces, the final outcome of the battle between good and evil is certain. Revelation predicts Michael’s victory over “the dragon and his angels,” driving them out of heaven (Revelation 12:7). In the end, success depends not on Michael, but on the all-powerful God. As John writes, “They overcame [the accuser] by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11).