In a discussion with some JWs on another thread, I asked what other Christian religions taught that before Jesus Christ came to earth, he was the archangel Michael.
A JW referred me to a site which showed a quote from John Calvin:
“I embrace the opinion of those who refer
this (Michael) to the person of Christ,
because it suits the subject best
to represent him as standing forward for
the defense of his elect people.”
COMMENTARIES ON THE BOOK
OF THE PROPHET DANIEL,
trans. T. Myers
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979),
vol. 2 p. 369.
Can anyone expound on this a bit? Do Calvinists really believe that Jesus and Michael are the same being?
Well it would certainly kill two birds with one stone for Catholics because you guys pray to both! Haha! Just kidding.
That is certainly possible that he said it. I can’t confirm it or deny it. As a Christian I never read one word of Calvin’s views. But I will say if he believed that then he needs to turn in his license to preach! lol
You ask for intercession? From Man who cannot even save himself. Why would we ask the patron saint of lost keys St. Zita to pray to Jesus to help us find our keys doesn’t Jesus know all? Furthermore in Romans 8:26 it states the SPIRIT (one of the trio) intercedes for us when we know not what to ask for. So what more do we need? Now we should pray non-stop but it is only to Jesus.
Now I understand I can pray for you and ask for intercession for you but I’m not dead and I’m not totally in the spirit world yet because I carry these flesh and bones.
1 Timothy 2:5 (King James Version)
5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
**We always worship and pray only to God **(to God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit) alone, but we can ask you or any Saint (living in Heaven) to pray to God the Father, or Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit for us!!!
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!
*]God seemed, at least for a time, to leave his people without help, and afterwards two angels were sent to contend for them; first, a single one was sent to Daniel, and then Michael, whom some think to be Christ. I do not object to this view, for he calls him a prince of the Church, and this title seems by no means to belong to any angels, but to be peculiar to Christ. On the whole, the angel signifies that God did not put forth his full strength in contending for his Church, but shews himself to be a servant to promote its safety till the time of deliverance should arise. He afterwards adds — for the next verse may be treated shortly, and ought to be connected with this in one context…
[/LIST]**He doesn’t object to the identification, but neither does he clearly adopt it. Someone mentioned Spurgeon & Gill: to the list can be added Cruden’s Concordance, first published in 1737, which lists the titles of Christ at the end: among them ****it includes Michael, and gives references to Daniel. **
You are not worshipping us, Follow. The Catholic Church makes a distinction between asking someone to pray for us (in this sense, it does not mean worship) and praying to Jesus (in this sense, it can mean worship).
So, if you are praying for someone here on earth and it doesn’t mean you’re worshipping them, then when we pray to saints to ask for their intercession, we’re not worshipping them either. :shrug:
If those in heaven receive my request they pray for me?
Reformed Christians are not obligated to believe whatever Calvin said in his commentaries!
Furthermore, saying that the Biblical reference to Michael is a reference to Christ does *not *mean that Calvin demoted Christ to the status of a creature.
Now to the question: in his commentary on Daniel, Calvin says the following in lectures 64-65:
By Michael many agree in understanding Chris as the head of the Church. But if it seems better to understand Michael as the archangel, this sense will prove suitable, for under Christ as the head, angels are the guardians of the Church. Whichever be the true meaning, God was the preserver of his Church by the hand of his only-begotten Son, and because the angels are under the government of Christ, he might entrust this duty to Michael. That foul hypocrite, Servetus, has dared to appropriate this passage to himself; for he has inscribed it as a frontispiece on his horrible comments, because he was called Michael! We observe what diabolic fury has seized him, as he dared to claim as his own what is here said of the singular aid afforded by Christ to his Church. He was a man of the most impure feelings, as we have already sufficiently made known. But this was a proof of his impudence and sacrilegious madness–to adorn himself with this epithet of Christ without blushing, and to elevate himself into Christ’s place, by boasting himself to be Michael, the guardian of the Church, and the mighty prince of the people! . . . As we stated yesterday, Micahel may mean an angel; but I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of Christ, because it suits the subject best to represent him as standing forward for the defence of his elect people.
He then goes on to develop this thought at length. Note the polemic against Servetus (who did not believe in the Trinity). Calvin is not downplaying Christ’s divinity–quite the contrary, he’s reading “Michael” as Christ in order to emphasize Christ’s headship and protection of the Church.
I believe that some of the early Church Fathers also interpreted Michael this way.
The context for my question was regarding a discussion with a JW. I had read somewhere that JWs were the first to claim Jesus and Michael were the same being. The JW claimed “JWs have a unique combination of beliefs but offhand (I) cannot think of one thing that was not taught at one time or another since the Reformation.”
I doubted, but it seems that his claim is correct.
Yes, but it’s important to underline that there’s a huge difference between saying “Michael is Christ” and saying “Jesus is Michael.” Calvin is not saying that Jesus is just an archangel.
If they want support for that, they should go back to Justin Martyr or Irenaeus (one of whom I believe did identify Christ with Michael). Neither of these supported the JW position either, but they came closer inasmuch as they describe Christ as the “Logos” of the Father and an intermediary between the Father and the world, and are not as clear on His equality with the Father as later Christians would be.
I once tried to refute JWs using only pre-Nicene Fathers such as Irenaeus. They had no problem agreeing with everything I said–which underlined the need for Nicaea to me! I don’t see Irenaeus agreeing with the JW position at all–he certainly does not say that Christ was a creature. But they can interpret what he said to fit their theology.
Calvin is a much harder fit, since he had Servetus executed precisely for denying the Trinity! (Which is why I included Calvin’s nasty polemic against Servetus.)
Take a look at the simplest intercessory prayer: The Hail Mary.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace. The Lord is with thee (straight from scripture)
Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus (from scripture)
Holy Mary, Mother of God (from scripture)
Pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen > simply a request to pray for us.
Intercessory prayer is one of the greatest gifts we have. We can (and should) pray for each other. Those that are in Heaven can also (and want to) pray for us.
At night, knowing that I am never going to be a perfect father, I simply ask St. Joseph to pray for me.
Saints are all about both intercessory prayer and serve as examples to us. If you’ve ever read “self-help” books by people like Tony Robbins they talk about finding mentors to emulate. Whether they know it or not they are simply follow the practice of the Catholic Church.
Every day is another day to find something wonderful about the Church founded by Christ.
Gotta love it!!
I confess that I am the JW who provided a list of scholars who identified Michael as Christ. I am glad to see my list confirmed. Calvin was apparently singled out of the list because his name was recognizable to PRmerger.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim that these theologians consider the Son to be a created angel because of this identification. In fact we are not dogmatic on the subject that he is Michael, but we do strongly believe it. Also we don’t use this as proof that he was created.
I am also in agreement that we can find evidence of angel-Christology in the earlier writers of the 2nd century like Justin. That is to be expected in JW theology because we see a gradual change from the 2nd century up to the 4th and beyond until the Trinity is finally articulated.
Thanks for the quotation. Is Calvin’s Christology what all this is about ?
It would be easy enough to regard the angel as a variant of the “angel of Jehovah”, and both as pre-Incarnation appearances of the Word. Mistaken, but easy. The title “prince” would be easy to connect to the “commander of the hosts of Jehovah” in Joshua 5, which is quite often taken as a Christophany in angel form, especially if supported by Rev. 12.
No, actually it’s the JW’s Christology that this is all about.
The context for the OP was regarding a discussion with a JW. I had read somewhere that JWs were the first to claim Jesus and Michael were the same being. The JW claimed “JWs have a unique combination of beliefs but offhand (I) cannot think of one thing that was not taught at one time or another since the Reformation.”
I doubted, but it seems that his claim is correct.