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In corresponding with Lorri MacGregor, it became evident that her theory is based on the following premises:
I. Seventh-day Adventists are not clear on the Divinity of Christ.
II. If Michael refers to Jesus, you have angels worshipping another angel.
III. No Scripture says Jesus is Michael.
IV. Michael is "One of the princes." Jesus was not "One of anything."
V. The Archangel did not dare rebuke Satan.
Let us examine the authoritative statements made publicly by Lorri MacGregor.
I. Did J. H. Waggoner and A. T. Jones militantly press Arian doctrines against the Deity of Christ at the 1888 conference? Are Seventh-day Adventists confused on the divinity of Christ?
It would have been difficult for J. H. Waggoner to militantly press any doctrines at the 1888 conference, as he was not able to attend the meetings. E. J. Waggoner (son of J. H. Waggoner) and A. T. Jones were prominent speakers at the 1888 gathering to which Mrs. MacGregor makes reference. What were the "Arian" doctrines that they militantly pressed upon the Conference? Did Waggoner believe that Christ was a created being?
Here are some of the statements that formed a basis of Waggoner's discourse to the 1888 conference. They are recorded in a book, Christ and His Righteousness, by E. J. Waggoner:
These are the points that Waggoner "militantly" pressed upon the delegation of the 1888 conference. Here is a tabular listing of Waggoner's key expressions on the complete Deity of the Son of God, and the approximate number of times so used:
"James White's Arian Views:" Mrs. MacGregor uses a statement by James White, written in 1852, years before the Adventist church was organized, as a basis for her public declaration that the Adventist church is confused on the subject of the Trinity.
It is true that some Seventh-day Adventist leaders in their early experience were not clear in their understanding of the Trinity. Uriah Smith definitely had problems in this area. The question is, "Did the Adventist church go along with his Arian teachings?" As late as 1898 Uriah Smith published a book called, Looking Unto Jesus, which denied the Trinity. The book was not well accepted by Adventists.
About the same time, Ellen White published a book the Desire of Ages which has had a circulation of well over a million copies. In this book she went on record declaring the truth about the divinity of Christ even if it directly opposed earlier statements by Uriah Smith and her own husband, James White. The Seventh-day Adventist church has always accepted her position on this subject without reserve. What is this position?
II. What is the Bible definition of the word "Archangel"?
We sing "Praise Him, Praise Him, Highest archangels in glory." Is there any Bible basis for using the word "archangel" in the plural? Where does the notion that archangels are a class of angelic beings come from?
There are four archangels in the Koran, Christian legends speaks of seven, while in the celestial hierarchy attributed to Dionysius an archangel is depicted as being in the eighth order from the Trinity. In Roman Catholic theology there are nine divisions or orders of angels in three hierarchies, each including three orders: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Domination's, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Archangels, and angels.
Though many Christians assume that these divisions are biblical, and have included expressions about them in their hymns, there are no choruses of archangels in the Bible. The term is found only twice in Scripture. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 it is the voice of the archangel that awakens the dead. In Jude 9 the archangel challenges Satan about the body of Moses. Both times the word is defined as "The Archangel," never "an archangel," or "one of the archangels." This clearly implies that there is only one Archangel.
What is an Angel?
The word angel in the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew Malak or the Greek Aggelos, both of which mean "messenger."
There are three basic uses of the word.
1. A supernatural being created by God, superior to man. This is the most common use of the term. This is what the apostle was talking about in the first chapter of Hebrews:
2. In some Bible passages Malak and Aggelos refer, not to superhuman beings, but to prophets and others fulfilling the function of a messenger. (2 Samuel 3:14; Ezekiel 23:16; Haggai 1:13; Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:24; and Revelation 1:20)
3. In some passages the term applies to Deity.
The Angel of Jehovah: In the book of Genesis, the angel of the Lord found Hagar by a fountain of water in the wilderness (Genesis 16:7), told her to return to her mistress (verse 8), and promised her that her seed would be multiplied (verse 11). Who was this angel?
The angel is identified as the "Lord" and "God." This is not to suggest that God is a created being, but rather that the word "angel" or messenger is sometimes used to refer to Deity.
When Abraham was about to slay his son, "the angel of the Lord" called to him (Genesis 22:11, 15). Who was this angel?
When Moses saw the burning bush, "the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush." (Exodus 3:2) Who was the angel? He clearly identifies Himself in these words:
In his sermon just before martyrdom, Stephen identifies the One that appeared to Moses.
Is Jesus an Angel? Only in the sense that He is a messenger, called the Angel of Jehovah. He is the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, whose name was "I Am." In the New Testament He identifies Himself as the great "I Am." (John 8:58)
He is decidedly not a created angelic being. The divinity of Christ is clearly spelled out in Scriptures. Hebrew the first chapter clearly differentiates between Jesus and those supernatural beings called angels.
The messianic prophecies did not foretell the coming of an angel to redeem the human race.
When Joseph received the divine message regarding the birth of Jesus, the angel quoted the words of Isaiah.
The Gospel of John presents Jesus as God. "The Word was with God and the Word was God." (John 1:1) In writing to the Philippians Paul refers to Jesus "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." (Philippians 2:6) Writing to the Colossians he says, "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians 2:9)
On two different occasions John was inclined to worship an angel. He was told by the angel, "See thou do it not: I am a fellow servant, and of they brethren that have the testimony of Jesus." (Revelation 19:10)
Worship of a creature was clearly prohibited in the Bible.
Worship of the Creator was another matter. Jesus accepted worship. Of the Canaanite woman it was said, "Then came she and worshipped Him..." (Matthew 15:25). When Thomas recognized Him as the risen Christ he said, "My Lord and my God." (John 20:28)
Is the Archangel a created being?
The Greek word archaggelos is compounded from archi, a prefix denoting "chief" and the word aggelos, "messenger." He is the Chief Messenger. He is not an angel, but rather the Commander of angels. An archbishop is not a bishop, but is over the bishops. An archdiocese is not a diocese, though it may contain many diocese. The president of the United States is the "chief" of the armed forces of his country. That does not make him a soldier. The fact that the Archangel is the Chief of all of the angelic host, does not imply that He is a created being.
III. Is there any Scriptural Basis for Concluding that Michael refers to Christ?
The name "Michael" means Who is like God? The activities of Michael could not be performed by a created being, but only by the power of divinity.
Whose Voice Raises the Dead?
It is the voice of the Archangel that will awaken the dead. "Whose voice is it?" "The hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: (John 5:25)
Paul says that it is the voice of the Archangel that will awaken the dead. John says that it is the voice of the Son of God. No creature has the power over death. Only Jesus has that power.
It was no mere angel that cast Satan out of heaven! He was cast out by the "power of his Christ."
IV. "One of the Princes"
Mrs. MacGregor's argumentation on Daniel 10:13 may sound somewhat convincing if the words are taken completely out of their context. A text out of its context is only a pretext. Will her statement stand in the light of its context?
In Daniel, chapters 8 - 10 we definitely have more than one prince
Daniel, in the context of these verses says that Michael is "one of the chief princes.: Obviously he is referring to the princes that the passage is talking about. Mrs MacGregor declares that Jesus is not "one of the chief princes mentioned in Daniel chapters 8 - 11. In that case He is not "Messiah the Prince," (Daniel 9:25) nor is He "The Prince of princes" (Daniel 8:25).
More About Princes: That Christ is called a "Prince" is evident.
1. Jesus is called a prince.
2. He is not the only prince in the Bible.
Christ is a Prince, but there are other princes. To say that Christ is not one of anything, is not accurate. He is one of the trinity. The fact that there are other princes, calling Him one of them does not reduce Him to the same level as the others.
When angels worship Christ who is the Chief Messenger, the Prince of the angelic host, they are not worshipping another angel, but rather the Creator of angels.
V. Did Michael Rebuke Satan? One of the identifying marks of a cult is that they misquote Scripture. Lorri MacGregor states, "In Jude 9 where we find that Michael the Archangel did not dare rebuke Satan." (Seventh-day Adventism Another Gospel? p.2) Many of her readers may not take the time to look up the passage, thus being misled by what she is saying. The text says that "he durst not bring against him a railing accusation."
Satan is the "accuser of our brethren." (Revelation 12:10) Because of his character, Christ does not deal in railing accusations. However He did rebuke Satan! The very next phrase says "but said, the Lord rebuke thee."
Apart from Jude's account, the only scriptural reference to the burial of Moses is Deut. 34:5, 6, where it is recorded that the Lord buried His faithful servant and that his grave was not known to men. Jude now reveals that the dead body was the subject of dispute between Christ and Satan. It is evident that the Lord triumphed in His contest with the devil and raised Moses from his grave, making him the first known subject of Christ's resurrecting power. (Matthew 17:3). Moses appeared with Elijah on the Mount of transfiguration.
Conclusion: A superficial study of Michael the Archangel, tainted with pagan ideas about the hierarchy of angels, might imply that an archangel is a created being. A more thorough study of the subject reveals that:
1. The term "angel" means messenger, and does not always refer to created beings, but is sometimes used to refer to divinity.
2. Greek philosophy, as well as Moslem and Roman Catholic tradition teach that there is a class of angels called Archangels. There is no Biblical basis for this teaching. The Bible never refers to a plurality of archangels, but only to "the Archangel."
3. The word Archangel is compounded from two words, archi, a prefix denoting "chief," and aggelo, or "messenger." He is the chief "Messenger," linking heaven to earth.
4. It is the voice of the Archangel that calls the dead from their graves. It is the voice of Christ that awakens the dead. No created being has the power to challenge the power of death.
5. It is only Christ who has the power to wrest the body of Moses from the power of death making him the first known subject of His resurrecting power.
6. Only Christ could cast Satan out of heaven.
7. Michael your Prince in Daniel 10:21 refers to the same Person as Messiah the Prince (Daniel 9:25), The Prince of princes (Daniel 8:25), The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), The Prince of life (Acts 3:15), the Prince and Saviour (Acts 5:31), and the Prince of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:5)
* Our thanks to Ron Keys for sending us this material and obtaining permission from the author for publication on our web site. Who Is Michael? was written in 1988, in response to specific allegations that Seventh-day Adventists are not clear on the divinity of Christ because they teach that Michael the Archangel is another name for the pre-incarnate Christ. Since there are others today who are making this same charge, we are reproducing the entire booklet online. The booklet itself may be ordered from: It Is Written, Box 2010, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada L1H 7V4[back]