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Is Michael the Ruler of Israel? The Witness of the Dead Sea Scrolls

In this post (https://answeringallah.com/is-michael-the-ruler-of-israel-further-proof-that-jesus-isnt-an-archangel-pt-4/), I am going to appeal to the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) to provide further proof that Jesus cannot be the archangel Michael.

Even though he is not dogmatic about this identification, cult leader Gregory Stafford believes that there is an association between Melchizedek and Michael in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This leads him to accept Melchizedek’s identification with Michael. Check out, for instance, what he says in one of his youtube broadcasts titled, “Pre-Christian Evidence Jesus is the Biblical Messiah: Psalm 110:1-7” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoWMDgrZXVw&t=568s).

Stafford isn’t alone here, since this view is held by certain biblical scholars such as the late Jewish scholar Geza Vermes:

The heavenly deliverer is Melchizedek. Identical with the archangel Michael, he is the head of the ‘sons of Heaven’ or ‘gods of Justice’ and is referred to as elohim and el. The same terminology occurs in the Songs for the Holocaust of the Sabbath. These Hebrew words normally mean ‘God’, but in certain specific contexts Jewish tradition also explains elohim as primarily designating ‘judge’… (The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, translated by Geza Vermes [Penguin Books, Revised edition 2004], p. 532; bold and underline emphasis mine)

Vermes wasn’t the only biblical scholar to hold to this position:

“… In view of his role as an Elohim in 11QMelchizedek, however, Melchizedek seems to be God’s principal angel or heavenly angel. He is almost certainly identified with Michael and the Angel of Light in 4QAmram (see Chapter 3 above). This role of principal angel is later filled by the Son of Man in the Similitudes of Enoch and in its most elaborate form by Metatron, the ‘little Yahweh,’ in 3 Enoch, both of whom are enthroned in heaven. (On Michael and Metatron as heavenly priests see Bietenhard 1951: 150).” (John J. Collins, Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls [Routledge, London and New York, 1997], p. 139; bold and underline emphasis mine)

This is where the problem lay for Stafford. According to the book of Hebrews, Melchizedek is not Jesus the Messiah, but an OT foreshadowing of Christ:

“In being fatherless, motherless, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days nor an end of life, but being made LIKE the Son of God, he remains a priest for all time… And this becomes even clearer when another priest arises who is LIKE Mel·chizʹe·dek, who has become such, not by the legal requirement that depends on fleshly descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is said in witness of him: ‘You are a priest forever in the manner of Mel·chizʹe·dek.’” Hebrews 7:3, 15-17 New World Translation (NWT https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/study-bible/books/hebrews/7/)

Therefore, since Melchizedek is identified with Michael in the DSS literature, and since Melchizedek is not Jesus the Messiah according to Hebrews, but a being that prefigures the Messiah, Jesus, therefore, cannot be the archangel, Michael.

To further break this down:

The DSS associates Melchizedek with the archangel Michael, which leads Stafford to assume that they may be one and the same figure.

Hebrews distinguishes Melchizedek from Jesus, stating that they resemble each other.

Melchizedek and Jesus, therefore, cannot be the same Person.

This further means that Jesus cannot be the archangel Michael since Stafford assumes on the scant evidence found in the DSS that this archangel is the same individual as Melchizedek.

In my next post, I will show how the book of Enoch further refutes Stafford and his Arian cohorts since the NT identifies Jesus as the Lord God and Son of Man referred to in 1 Enoch, figures that are distinguished from the archangel, Michael.

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