Who is Christ before He was born? Was He Michael the Archangel or not?
Jesus is given many names and many titles throughout Scripture, and the name Michael is only one of many. It is essential to be aware of at least some of Jesus' other names in order to understand the nature of His pre-existence.
- The Gospel of John reveals that He was the Word which was from the beginning (John 1:1-3).
- The Psalms (Psalm 2:7) spoke about Him as the “Son of God” in the context of the kings in Jerusalem.
- Daniel 7 not only mentions Him as the “Son of Man”, the representative of the saints at the throne of God during the judgment (Daniel 7:13-14), but also as the Most High (Daniel 7:22, 25).
- The prophet Isaiah who described Him as “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:2), also calls Him the “servant of God” (Isaiah 52:13) and “the highly exalted, who thrones for ever, and whose name is ‘holy’” (Isaiah 55:15).
- The Gospel of John underlines the eternal pre-existence of Jesus by presenting Him as the great “I AM” (John 8:58, Exodus 3:14).
Among the many titles given to Jesus is “Michael”, which means “Who is/the One who is like God”. In Daniel and Revelation, Michael is identified with Jesus as the child who was born (Revelation 12:1-7) or with Jesus as the “Son of Man.” Michael is mentioned in Daniel 10:21 and 12:1 as the Prince, or representative of the people of God, just as the Son of Man is in Daniel 7.
At times, some people say that if Michael is to be identified with Christ, then Christ would be a created being because Michael is called an “archangel” (Jude 9). That is, however, a misunderstanding.
The word “angel” in both Hebrew and Greek simply means “messenger” and does not indicate whether that messenger is created or not. It is actually not unusual to name God Himself as an angel. A famous example is found in the story about Hagar in Genesis 16 where the angel of the Lord of verse 7 is identified as the Lord Himself in verse 13.
So, why is Jesus called a “messenger”? The answer is evident: He is the quintessential messenger of God. It is through Him that we learn how God is as a person. He represents God perfectly to us, and now He as “the Son of Man” represents us perfectly in the heavenly throne room.