What are archangels? Is there more than one archangel?

Archangel is a word that occurs only twice in the Bible, both times in the New Testament. Archangel means "chief angel."

First Thessalonians 4:16 says, "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. And the dead in Christ will rise first." Here the chief angel is mentioned as heralding the coming of Christ at the rapture.

The archangel also appears in Jude 9: "But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you'" In this verse, the archangel is identified as Michael. It is possible he is the only one, since he is called "the archangel." Michael is also mentioned in Daniel 10, where he is called "one of the chief princes" in verse 13. He is later referred to as "your prince" (Daniel 10:21) and "the prince who protects" (Daniel 12:1 NIV).

The Bible never says there is one and only one archangel. If there are more than one chief angel, Michael is certainly one of them and likely the head of them. Given the attention given to Michael's name (only one other angel is ever named in the Bible), Michael likely serves as the leader of the holy angels.

Michael serves God as the one who protected Daniel (Daniel 12:1), withstood the devil (Jude 9), and will participate in the rapture of believers (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Michael enjoys a prominent role in Scripture, but his glory is always subservient to the glory of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:13).

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