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What 1 Thessalonians 4:16 really says --- Jesus is not the archangel Michael

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is evidence that the Lord Jesus is the archangel Michael. Is this true? What does the Bible say on the matter? This is the passage:

 

1 Thessalonians 4:

16      For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.   (NKJV)

 

 

 

This does not say Jesus is an archangel.  It just tells us that upon His descent, He will be accompanied by the

following things: a shout, the voice of an archangel and the trumpet (shofar, ram’s horn) of God.

 

It does not say He has a voice of the archangel, but that there will be a voice of an archangel (which implies there is more than one).  Remember, Daniel tells us Michael the archangel is only one of the chief princes:

 

Daniel 10:

13   "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael,

      one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.   (NASB)

 

 

The apostle Paul also tells us that there are many elect angels, which supports Daniel’s statement that there are many chief princes / archangels:

 

1 Timothy 5:

21      I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that you observe these things

       without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.   (AKJV)

 

 

What 1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us is that the Lord Jesus’ arrival will be accompanied by the voice of an archangel. His arrival will be heralded by an announcement from this mighty angel. This only makes sense, because we see in other places not concerning Jesus that there are other mighty angels that make loud and significant proclamations:

 

Revelation 10:

1        I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.

2        He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,

3        and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.

4        Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them."

5        The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven

6        and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,

7        but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished,

        as He declared to His servants the prophets.   (NKJV)

 

Revelation 18:

1      After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority,

      and the earth was illumined with his glory.

2     And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place

     of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.   (NASB)

 

 

So an archangel making an announcement to proclaim the arrival of the Lord Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, not only makes sense because of who Jesus is and the significance of His return, but it is demanded since even “lesser” events had announcements from mighty angels.

 

Loud announcements happen with royalty even here on earth where a pronouncement is made before royalty enters; why would it not happen for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords?

 

Actually, this already happened once when He entered Jerusalem:

 

Matthew 21:

8        Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road,

       and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.

9        The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,

       "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!"

10      When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?"

11      And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."   (NASB)

 

 

His entrance was marked by words of praise and joy and He was recognized and announced as the Messiah. That is why they called Him the Son of David, a Messianic title, and called Him the blessed one who comes in the name of the LORD (Yahweh/Jehovah) and shouted ‘Hosanna’ which means “save us now!”.

 

 

A triumphant and exultant pronouncement of His arrival will happen again. Where once His entrance to Jerusalem was in meekness and in the form of man and proclaimed by men, in a time yet future, His coming to establish the Kingdom of God with Jerusalem at its center in the millennium will be in glory and power, and His entrance will be announced by an archangel.

 

We see this unfold in the pages of the Book of Revelation.

 

The wedding is about to commence:

 

Revelation 19:

7   "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."

8    It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

9   Then he *said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'"

     And he *said to me, "These are true words of God."   (NASB)

 

 

The Lord Jesus returns with His bride for the wedding supper:

 

Revelation 19:

11      And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True,

       and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

12      His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems;

       and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.

13      He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

14      And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

15      From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations,

       and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

16      And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

(NASB)

 

 

And note almost immediately when the heavens are opened to reveal the Lord Jesus, the King of Kings, in Revelation 19:11-16, a mighty angel standing in the sun announces to all in a loud voice for everyone to assemble for the wedding supper of God:

 

Revelation 19:

17      Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice,

        saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God,

18      so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great."

19      And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

(NASB)

 

 

If the voice of a mighty angel standing in the sun accompanies the Lord Jesus’ descent in Revelation 19:17, then why could not another or the same mighty angel/archangel do the same in 1 Thessalonians 4:16?

 

 

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses are not correct in their interpretation that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states Jesus is the archangel Michael.  Also, they cannot have it “both ways”.  If their logic states that the voice of an archangel must be the Lord Jesus’ voice, then isn’t it also possible that the trumpet of God is His trumpet – that He is God?  It is called the trumpet of God, not the trumpet of ‘a’ god.

 

However, what the Bible really indicates is that the archangel will actually do both – the archangel will both shout and announce the Lord Jesus’ arrival and this archangel will also blow the trumpet (shofar, the ram’s horn).

 

The Bible tells us the Lord Jesus’ highly visible return in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 will be heralded by an archangel; again, as any arrival of royalty would be loudly proclaimed – with both voice and instrument.  His return will be announced with much fanfare – shouts and trumpets blaring. This archangel will shout out that the bridegroom comes and blow the trumpet of God.  This is what an angel did as God came down the first time in power and cloud upon Mount Sinai and undoubtedly, an angel will blow the trumpet long and loud again upon the arrival of the bridegroom for His bride:  

 

Exodus 19:

9    The LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever." Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.

10   The LORD also said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments;

11   and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

12   "You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, 'Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

13   'No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.' When the ram's horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain."

14   So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments.

15   He said to the people, "Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman."

16   So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

17   And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

18   Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.

19   When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.

20   The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.    (NASB)