You’ve probably heard of the archangels before: Raphael, Zadkiel, Gabriel, just to name a few. These archangels serve God in a specific manner and hold higher powers than common angels. One of the most popular archangels is Saint Michael but how much do you know about him? In this article, we are going to explore St. Michael the Archangel in great detail and depth. We’ll take a look at an overview of the angel before exploring his role within each religion, as well as his appearances in the various holy books. So let’s dive right in!
The Saint and Archangel
Saint Michael the Archangel is unique in a number of ways. We already touched on the idea of archangels being a higher rank than other angels but St. Michael is the leader of the archangels. That’s not all; he’s also one of the few Saints who never walked on the Earth as a mortal human.
Michael’s Saint Status comes as a result of him being an angel of the common man. He strives to help the sick, provide support for workers and tries hard to protect those in dangerous situations such as police officers, army medics and sailors. You can say that he is Michael, Archangel of People.
Archangel Michael goes by many names, depending on which religion you find him in. For example, in Orthodox faiths, he is referred to as Michael the Taxiarch. Regardless of whether you’re exploring the archangel within Islam, Christianity or Judaism, his name always means ‘He who is like God’ or ‘He who is like the Lord’.
This reflects just how prestigious Saint Michael truly is. God would not bestow such a title upon someone undeserving of it. We now understand the basics of St Michael the Archangel so let’s take a look at his appearances within the Abrahamic faiths.
Saint Michael in Judaism
As the first of the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism and the Torah contains the first mentions of St Michael. He is mentioned a grand total of three times within this holy book and all three of these cross over into the Bible, contained within the Old Testament.
In both books, it is Daniel who witnesses Saint Michael. Daniel, who was reaching the end of a period of fasting, experienced a vision whereby Michael identifies himself as the protector of Israel. Within this moment, Saint Michael explains that he will be returning during the final days. We see this being explored in more depth within the Bible.
St. Michael in Christianity
As we already mentioned Michael appears in both the Torah and the Old Testament of the Bible. However, he is mentioned an additional two times within the New Testament, a series of books that are completely unique to the Bible. Within the Book of Revelation, the Biblical book most often associated with the final days of judgment, it is said that Saint Michael entered into a grand battle with the Devil.
During this battle, Michael threw Satan down to Earth, ending his time within Heaven. However, Satan is still able to manipulate and mislead those on Earth and so Michael’s battle with him never truly ends as both fight for the souls of humanity. Saint Michael is mentioned again in the Epistle of Jude whereby he is officially recognized as an archangel during yet another battle with the Devil.
There is a potential third reference to Michael within the First Epistle to the Thessalonians. It is said that this archangel will herald the 2nd coming of Jesus and while no name is specifically mentioned, it would make sense that this role would fall to Saint Michael due to his position as leader of the archangels.
St Michael in Islam
Michael is one of only two archangels mentioned within Islam’s holy book: the Quran. While he and Gabriel are both mentioned, Michael only appears once within Sura 2. Michael will sometimes be spelled slightly differently within other faiths and as such, he will sometimes appear as Mikail.
His tasks and duties within Islam relate to the protection and influence of natural forces such as the elements wind, fire, Earth, and water. However, this is also something that differs from faith to faith.
Some of the Roles of Michael
It is within Christianity that Michael has developed the most as a religious figure. He has a number of responsibilities, some of which we have already explored. For example, we have mentioned Michael’s never-ending a battle with Satan. This is another aspect that ties him closely to God.
Religious art will often depict God or Jesus as battling the Devil but they are not alone as Michael is a major part of this battle as well. While Michael battles for all lives and souls, he is particularly protective of the world’s churches and all Christians.
Michael also plays a role similar to that of Anubis in Ancient Egyptian mythology. Many art depictions show him holding a set of scales on judgment day. This represents the idea of Michael allowing souls the opportunity to make up for past mistakes.
At the moment of death, Michael visits all souls and offers them the chance of redemption. Only those who are truly ready to acknowledge their sins and atone for them are given the opportunity to do so. Michael cannot be deceived and there are no shortcuts to heaven for those who have lived less than moral lives.