Eric Mason (@pastoremase), a prominent Christian preacher and author, recently made a reel on Instagram in which he asserts that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a cult. The first and primary reason he offers to support this claim is that Adventists generally hold that Christ is Michael the Archangel. From this premise, Mason makes the rather massive leap of logic that Adventists must, therefore, believe that Jesus is an angel—a created being—and, thus, Adventists deny the deity of Christ by claiming He is merely an angel made by God and not Himself God. In this, Mason has drawn gigantic conclusions based on minuscule data. And the matter is quite serious because his gigantic conclusion is to write off an entire Protestant denomination of his brothers and sisters in Christ as a cult. In this,

he has done horrendous damage to the reputation of millions of his fellow Christians.

I can only assume that Mason has made this mistake honestly and not maliciously due to a lack of information on the subject and that he will offer a public correction once he does have the information, which I will provide here.

First, the Seventh-day Adventist Church absolutely and unequivocally holds to the Christian doctrine of the coeternal deity of Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit. By claiming otherwise, Mason has made an extremely unfair and damaging claim against the Adventist Church.

Secondly, holding that Christ is the Michael of the biblical narrative does not necessitate denial of Christ’s deity. The Adventist Church does not believe that Jesus is a created angel. Mason simply lacks background theological and historical knowledge on the subject, leading him to draw completely unfounded conclusions.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church did not originate the idea that Christ is the Michael of Scripture. Rather, the Adventist Church has simply held this teaching consistent with the general position of Protestant Christianity up until relatively recently in church history.

The fact is that John Calvin, the great Protestant Reformer, to whom Eric Mason must look with great respect since he is himself a Calvinist, stated that Michael is Christ.

Charles Spurgeon, perhaps the most celebrated Baptist preacher in the denomination’s history, also held that the Michael of Scripture is none other than Jesus Christ prior to His incarnation.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, held the same position.

The universally celebrated Matthew Henry Bible Commentary and the Matthew Poole Bible Commentary both hold that Christ is the Michael of the biblical narrative.

Is Eric Mason going to declare John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, Matthew Henry, and Matthew Poole all to be cultists because they believed Christ to be the Michael of Scripture? I don’t think so.

All of these individuals believed in Christ’s eternal deity while simultaneously holding that Michael is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ active in human history before being born in Bethlehem as God in the flesh. The Adventist Church has simply continued holding this original Protestant position.

Below, I provide the quotations from the above-named Protestant thinkers regarding Michael, all of which can easily be referenced by simple Google searches.

Now, then, why did the above-named Protestant luminaries, as well as Christians in general until relatively recently in church history, regard Michael the Archangel as none other than the pre-incarnate Christ? Here, I will briefly offer the biblical reasoning for the position.

First, here are the basic identifying characteristics of Michael:

Michael is a Hebrew name that means, Who is like God? The idea embedded in the name is that Michael is the one who reveals to us what God is really like. This mission is precisely the stated mission of Christ in such Scriptures as John 14:9 and Hebrews 1:1-4.

Michael is called “Michael Your Prince,” that is the defender of Israel and the church (Daniel 10:21).

Michael has irresistible authority over demons (Daniel 10).

Michael, the “Prince” of God’s people, is also called the “Messiah the Prince” (Daniel 9:25).

Michael stands up as the defender of God’s people in the last days (Daniel 12:1).

Michael holds resurrection power—a power angels do not possess—having already raised Moses from the dead, and He will raise all of God’s children from the dead at last (Daniel 12:2; Jude 1:9).

The acts of Michael in Revelation 12 are the same as the acts of Christ in John 12. In both passages, Satan is defeated by his chief opponent, called Michael and called Christ.

All of the above characteristics of Michael indicate that He is the chief/primary/ultimate opponent and conquerer of Satan in the great war between good and evil. And here’s the kicker: all of this data about Michael in the biblical story flows directly from the first Messianic prophecy given to humanity in Genesis:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15, NIV).

This is God telling Satan that He is going to send a rescuer, a warrior prince, into the world through the womb of a woman, who will defend and save the human race against Satan’s attack by crushing the serpent under His heel while Himself being wounded in the process. This is the original messianic prophecy-promise that pointed forward to the conquest of Satan by Christ at the cross of Calvary.

Michael is simply the name born by Christ before His incarnation as the warrior prince sent by God into the world to defeat the enemy and save humanity.

It is evident, then, that Michael is not an angel in the ordinary sense of a created being. Rather, Michael is the “arch”—meaning “chief” of the angels, not one of them. At the same time, He is Himself the primary “angel” purely in the sense that the word “angel” means “messenger.” That is, He is the one who bears and embodies the message of the gospel to humanity. This is why Christ is called by the prophet Malachi “the Messenger (Angel) of the Covenant” (Malachi 3:1). The word here translated messenger is the same word that is translated throughout the Old Testament as “angel.” The word angel simply means messenger. There is an order of created beings who operate as messengers of God to humanity and are hence called angels. And sometimes, the word angel is applied to the pre-incarnate Christ, not to designate Him as one of the created beings called angels, but as the one who is the preeminent “messenger of the covenant” or the gospel to humanity.

The core reality of God’s character is self-giving, other-centered love. “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Satan launched his war against God on planet earth by denying the intrinsic goodness of God’s character of love and instead representing God as self-serving and thereby against the ultimate best interest of humanity (Genesis 3:1-5). Sin entered the world through deception regarding the character of God.

One called “Michael” stands out in Scripture as the lead defender of God’s character and kingdom.

This mighty warrior is unique in that He is unarmed. He bears no weapons of force but wages war against evil with truth and love. Michael’s identity and character are of special significance in solving the mystery of the war between good and evil. The central issue pending in God’s universe—and in every human soul—is present in the meaning of Michael’s name. In Scripture, all names mean something and carry significance. Within a name is contained one’s identity, character, mission, or calling. As mentioned, “Michael” is a Hebrew name that presents the big question that must be answered in the great war between good and evil. The name translates as a question, “Who is like God?” or “What is God like?” The Michael of Scripture holds forth and answers this imperative question. It is Michael’s mission to reveal the true character of God over against the lies that have been leveled against the character of God by Satan, the great adversary. Michael’s mission is to vindicate the goodness of God and, in so doing, conquer the kingdom of darkness at its most foundational level—at the level of its lies about the character of God.

In conclusion, Adventists hold to the old Protestant idea that the Michael of the biblical narrative is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ, that the name Michael describes His messianic mission on behalf of humanity and not his ontological nature. While He is Michael in mission, He is none other than eternal God, fully divine with the Father and the Holy Spirit as one of the members of the triune godhead.

Here are some quotations from the above-mentioned Protestant preachers:

John Calvin’s Commentary on the book of Daniel:

“Michael 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 defense of his elect people.”

Charles H. Spurgeon on the identity of Michael:

“He it is whose camp is round about them that fear Him; He is the true Michael whose foot is upon the dragon. All hail, Jesus! Thou Angel of Jehovah’s presence, to Thee this family offers its morning vows.”

“Our Lord is called an angel. He is the angel of the covenant (Malachi 3:1). . . We read that Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels, and the dragon was cast down (Revelation 12). The fight is going on every day. Michael is the Lord Jesus, the only Archangel.”

John Wesley on the identity of Michael:

“Daniel 10:13—‘Withstood me’—God suffered the wicked counsels of Cambyses (a Persian king) to take place awhile; but Daniel by his prayers, and the angel by his power, overcame him at last: and this very thing laid a foundation of the ruin of the Persian monarchies. ‘Michael’—Michael here is commonly supposed to mean Christ. ‘I remained’—to counter—work their designs against the people of God. Daniel 10:21—Michael—Christ alone is the protector of his church, when all the princes of the earth desert or oppose it.”

“Daniel 12:1—The meaning seems to be . . . there will be yet a greater deliverance to the people of God, when Michael your prince, the Messiah shall appear for your salvation.”

Matthew Henry Bible Commentary:

“Jesus Christ shall appear his church’s patron and protector: At that time, when the persecution is at the hottest, Michael shall stand up, Dan. 12:1. The angel had told Daniel what a firm friend Michael was to the church, Dan. 10:21. He all along showed this friendship in the upper world; the angels knew it; but now Michael shall stand up in his providence, and work deliverance for the Jews, when he sees that their power is gone, Deut. 32:3. 6. Christ is that great prince, for he is the prince of the kings of the earth, Rev. 1:5. And, if he stand up for his church, who can be against it? But this is not all: At that time (that is, soon after) Michael shall stand up for the working out of our eternal salvation; the Son of God shall be incarnate, shall be manifested to destroy the works of the devil. Christ stood for the children of our people when he was made sin and a curse for them, stood in their stead as a sacrifice, bore the cure for them, to bear it from them. He stands for them in the intercession he ever lives to make within the veil, stands up for them, and stands their friend. And after the destruction of antichrist, of whom Antiochus was a type, Christ shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, shall appear for the complete redemption of all his. When Christ appears he will recompense tribulation to those that trouble his people.”

Matthew Poole’s Bible Commentary:

“Jude 1:9. Michael the archangel: either this is understood of Christ the Prince of angels, who is often in Scripture called an Angel, or of a created angel.”

Personal note to Pastor Mason: I’d be happy to come on your program and discuss this theological matter and the others that you raised in your Instagram reel, not to debate, but simply to respectfully answer whatever questions you have regarding Adventist doctrine and explain the entire Adventist belief system. It would be quite fun, informative, and respectful, if you would like to do so.

Ty Gibson
Speaker/Director at Light Bearers

Ty is a speaker/director of Light Bearers. A passionate communicator with a message that opens minds and moves hearts, Ty teaches on a variety of topics, emphasizing God’s unfailing love as the central theme of the Bible. Ty and his wife Sue have three adult children and two grandsons.