Michael the archangel is described in the Bible, in the books of Daniel, Jude, and Revelation, as a warrior angel who engages in spiritual combat. The word archangel means “angel of the highest rank.” Most angels in the Bible are portrayed as messengers, but Michael is described in all three books as contending, fighting, or standing against evil spirits and principalities (Daniel 10:13; 10:21; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7). We do not have a full picture of any angel, and only two are named in the Bible (Gabriel is the other). Scripture only gives us hints of their movements during human events, but it is safe to say that Michael the archangel is a powerful being.
Despite his great power, Michael is still in total submission to the Lord. His dependence on the Lord’s power is seen in Jude 1:9. The righteous angels have a rank and are submissive to authority, and for this reason they are used as a picture of a wife’s submission to her husband (1 Corinthians 11:10). Taking into consideration the strength of Michael the archangel, his submission to God is all the more beautiful. If the submission of angels is an argument for woman’s submission, we can see that submission is never meant to take away a woman’s strength or purpose or value.
The prophet Daniel is told that Michael the archangel is “the great prince who protects your people” (Daniel 12:1). Daniel’s people are the Jews, and the fact that Michael “protects” them suggests that God has set various holy angels over various countries or people groups. The demons seem to have a similar hierarchy (see Daniel 10:20). The fact that Michael is a “great prince” indicates that he has authority in the spiritual realm. There are others—Daniel 10:13 says that Michael is “one of the chief princes.”
Michael the archangel has, it seems, a prominent role in the events of the end times. Daniel was told by the angel of the Lord that, during the time of the end, Michael will “arise” and there would be a time of unsurpassed trouble—a reference to the Great Tribulation (Daniel 12:1). Israel is guaranteed protection during this time, which will be followed by a great resurrection of the dead—some to everlasting life and others to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:2). The rapture of the church will be accompanied by “the voice of the archangel” (1 Thessalonians 4:16); this could be a reference to Michael, but Scripture does not specifically name him here.
The last mention of Michael the archangel appears in Revelation 12:7. During the tribulation, “war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.” Michael and the forces of heaven defeat the dragon (Satan), and the devil is hurled to the earth. There, enraged, Satan “went off to wage war against . . . those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).
There is a spiritual war being fought over the hearts and souls of mankind. Michael the archangel is a strong angelic prince who protects Israel and submissively serves God by doing battle against Satan. The devil can do his worst, but “he [is] not strong enough” to conquer heaven’s forces (Revelation 12:8).