In all the biblical references to him, Michael the archangel is in conflict with the enemies of God’s people. When, in the time of Daniel, the Jews suffered a number of setbacks because of opposition from the ruling Persian authorities, Michael came to the Jews’ rescue. An evil spirit was behind the rulers of Persia and had prevented a messenger of God from reaching Daniel, but the good spirit Michael overpowered the evil spirit and freed the heavenly messenger (Dan 10:12-14). The messenger knew that later he would be opposed by an evil spirit working on behalf of Greece (the nation that would succeed Persia as the Jews’ ruler), but he was confident that Michael’s help would again bring him victory (Dan 10:20-21).

Opposition to the Jews would increase, but God’s people could always depend on Michael to fight for them (Dan 12:1). Among Jewish writings of the period between the Old and New Testaments, there are a number that mention Michael. One New Testament writer, Jude, refers to an incident from one of these books to illustrate a point in his message. Satan had claimed that Moses’ body belonged to him, but Michael again fought on behalf of the man of God (Jude 9). Michael is mentioned also in the visions of the book of Revelation. The context concerns conflict in the spirit world, with Michael and his angels fighting on behalf of God’s people against the devil and his angels. The vision reassures the persecuted people of God that the final victory will be theirs (Rev 12:7- 9). (See also ANGELS.)

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