Michael the Archangel
Dr. Stephen Johnson
1 Thessalonians 4:16
December 15, 2019

In the time before the beginning of time angels were created. These celestial beings go by many names in scripture. Some evoking images of joy, others bring shadows of fear.

These celestial beings are called angels of light, Seraphim and Cherubim. The heavenly host.

Principalities, powers, dominions.

The army of the Lord. Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer.

This cadre of angels was there at the creation of the world and were so filled with wonder and gladness that they shouted for joy! Job 38:7

Yet at some point at the beginning of time, before the fall of mankind and our expulsion from the garden of Eden there was a rebellion in the heavens.

One of two archangels - quite possibly the greatest of the angels wasn’t satisfied.

Prior to his rebellion, Lucifer, an angel of light, is described in scintillating terms in Ezekiel 28:12-17

12 “You were the signet of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was your covering,
sardius, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;
and crafted in gold were your settings
and your engravings.
On the day that you were created
they were prepared.

14 You were an anointed guardian cherub.
I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.

15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created,
till unrighteousness was found in you.

16 In the abundance of your trade
you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
from the midst of the stones of fire.

Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;

Isaiah 14:12-14 records sin behind the fall of Lucifer

“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!

13 You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’

Thus an angelic conflict began at the beginning of time and it will not end until the end of time.

During the Christmas season we love to see the images of angels. To dream of being visited by one of those celestial beings. Of hearing the voice of an angel and responding to it.

We long to hear a message from an angel.
We want to recognize that we have been ministered to by angels.

And we also wouldn’t mind entertaining an angel unaware that we are.

But we also must wonder.

Are angels safe?

There certainly are good angels and bad angels.

Angels of light and angels of darkness.
And as much as we want to believe that we could tell the difference, scripture clearly states that even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Cor 11:14

Obviously when we picture angels upon our Christmas trees we intend to picture an angel of light.

But our picture of angels is confused. Almost all depictions of Christmas angels are just plain unbiblical.

Just do a Google search for images of Christmas angels and you will find page after page after page of female figures in flowery dresses with cute little fairy wings.
Yet nowhere in scripture are angels ever described as female. And seldom are they described as having wings.

What we do see in scripture is that they occasionally took on human form and that they typically were fierce instruments of judgment.

Two angels are commissioned to destroy Sodom Gen 19:13

Another angel destroys 70,000 people after David’s sin in 2 Samuel 24

Ezekiel hears six angels receiving the command to destroy those who were sinful in Jerusalem
(Ez 9:1,5,7)

Psalm 78 speaks of a company of destroying angels.

And these are the good angels!

On the other side of the celestial conflict are the angels of darkness.

Scripture tells us that their leader roams about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.

3 times Satan appears as an angelic being in the Old testament. In Job he opposed God by challenging the genuineness of Job’s righteousness, claiming that Job was upright not for the joy of fellowship with God but because God continues to bless him with great wealth.

In II Chronicles he incites David to sin.
And in Zechariah he seeks to disqualify Joshua by bringing up his past sins.

He is our adversary. Our accuser. An angel of darkness.

Satan and the angels of darkness are known by the discord they promote, the wars they start, and the hatred they engender.

They are in opposition to God and dedicated to the spirit of destruction.

And here is the scary thing:

The angels of darkness disguise themselves as angels of light.

And I assure you that those angels of darkness are way smarter than us. And they will deceive us.

Scripture tells us that there is an ongoing angelic war. Two archangels play prominent roles in that war. Lucifer, the fallen angel and Michael.

And there is good news about Michael.

He protects

Michael is described as one of the chief princes, the great prince who has charge of your people Dan 10:13, 12:1, 10:21 - he is regarded as the patron-angel of God’s people.

Listen to the experience Daniel had in Daniel 10

5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist.
6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.

Daniel goes on to describe his conversation with this man, who tells him of a three week fight where Michael one of the chief princes prevailed as the protector of God’s people.
And verse 21 tells us that Michael is the angel who contends for us.

And in chapter 12 it is Michael who will arise in defense of God’s people before the reading of the Lamb’s book of life.

We have a great angel protector.
But he does more than that

He protects, but he also

He proclaims

Although we celebrate the first advent each year in December, it is really insignificant without the anticipation of the second advent.

The fact that Jesus came to earth, was born of a virgin and lived among us to experience all the same range of emotions and needs of humanity is all well and good, but if his life didn’t end on the cross, to rise again in victory over death and Satan, Christmas would have no real meaning.

For in Christmas we don’t merely celebrate some past event. We look forward to the coming of Christ again.

When Isaac Watts wrote the great Christmas carol, Joy to the World - he understood this - for he wrote the words of that carol about the second coming of Christ in his glory, not the first in his humiliation.
And the words of that song are so much more powerful when understood as referring to the second coming.

In the first verse the Lord comes.
Then the world rejoices.
Then sin and the curse is removed.
And finally He rules the world with truth and grace.

This is the promise which is inherent in Christmas, the one who came at Christmas is coming again.

And just as angels announced his first coming to Joseph, to Zechariah, to Mary, and the shepherds there is one angel who is charged with announcing his second coming.

We read about it in 1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.

Michael will proclaim the coming of Jesus back to earth.

He is the one who shouts at the coming of Christ!

The one who blows the trumpet call for which we long.

If you want to hear an angel speak, this is the angel you should wish for. This is the angel who will herald that all things are about to be set right.

Oh that Michael would make his announcement soon!

Amen?? Come Lord Jesus.

Now this would be a good place to end this message, but Michael not only protects and proclaims, but scripture clearly tells us that he also

He prevails

The final battle between the angels of light and the angels of darkness is recorded in the book of Revelation.

The angel of the bottomless pit, also called Abaddon or Apollyon stands against the angels of light.

Lucifer the most brilliant and most beautiful of all created beings in heaven meets his end.

Revelation 12:7,9 “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels...and the great dragon was cast out!!!

The angels of light prevail.

We know that in our spiritual lives “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Eph 6:12

But we don’t wrestle alone. Michael the protector of God’s people is on our side!

As we see all those beautiful angel images during the Christmas season, we dare not put our trust in angels. We dare not worship angels.

Angels of light don’t want our worship, for it is to be given only to God.

But the angel images remind us:

The angelic war is not over and in the battle between the arch angels Lucifer and Michael. It is Michael who will come out victorious.

The angels light who are faithful to God and the angels of darkness allied with Satan (Dan 10:11-14) will continue to wage war and in the end the angels of light will win.

And they will win because Jesus dealt a death blow to Satan at his resurrection.

The role of angels at Christmas ought to be to point us to the Lord Jesus. For it is his power which stands behind the angels of light in that great and coming day of victory.

The day when hell will tremble, heaven will rejoice.

And all the world will sing:

Joy to the world!
The Lord has come.
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing
and heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.

Stand and sing with me.