25. But don’t Adventists believe Jesus was really Michael the Archangel?
Yes, but Adventists believe Michael is just another Old Testament title to describe the pre-incarnate Second Person of the Godhead, not some mere created being. This is similar to Christ’s other pre-incarnate title of ‘Angel of the Lord’, which is accepted by most ‘mainstream’ and ‘orthodox’ Christian groups as also being an Old Testament reference to Jesus.
It is acknowledged there be some confusion regarding the SDA teaching of Michael the
Archangel. However, the identity of Michael has never played a major theological role in the , nor is it a fundamental belief. For example, many Adventists have probably never heard of the teaching. SDA Church
For the avoidance of doubt, as outlined in the SDA publication Question on Doctrine, Adventists do not teach that Jesus was a mere created being, but rather ‘Michael’ (which literally means ‘Who is Like God’) the 'Archangel' (literally the head messanger), was an Old Testament title (amongst others) used to describe the Second Person of the Godhead before His incarnation:
"We believe that the term 'Michael' is but one of the many titles applied to the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead. But such a view does not in any way conflict with our belief in His full deity and eternal pre-existence, nor does it in the least disparage His person and work."
The latest SDA position from the General Conference's theological website admits:
“He [Michael] is nowhere explicitly identified with Jesus, but some Christian writers have equated the two by carefully comparing the role played by Michael with that of Jesus.”
For example, Adventists believe the prophecy in the book of Daniel about ‘Michael the great prince’, who arises during the Time of Trouble, is in fact an Old Testament reference to Jesus Christ:
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” (Dan 12:1)
This view is entirely consistent with many other Christian traditions, which similarly identify the ‘Angel of the Lord’ with the pre-incarnate Christ. For example, Jacob wrestled with an angel (Gen 32:24), but then claimed he had seen God face-to-face. Similarly, the ‘Angel of the Lord’ who appeared in the Burning Bush (Ex 3:2) is later described as being God Himself. Many Christians agree this was not a mere angel in the ordinary sense (i.e. some cherubim with wings) but rather the pre-incarnate Christ.
For a comparable Evangelical view, where it is stated, "The connection between the angel of the Lord and the preincarnate appearance of the Messiah cannot be denied", see:
For a similar Roman Catholic view, where it notes, “Some maintain that he is called both the Lord and the angel of the Lord because he was Christ”, see:
Augustine of Hippo (b.354 – d.430 AD) once warned (as quoted in the link above) that others might misuse the identification of the pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament as a way to justify Arianism (who deny the Trinity). Adventists would probably agree, and claim they have likewise been unfairly labeled Arians.
For further info, see the SDA General Conference’s Biblical Research Institute response at:
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