Daniel and the Archangel
Daniel's Vision by the Tigris River [Hiddekel] by Michael Van Der Gucht (1660–1725)
by Trent Dee Stephens, PhD, for the Come Follow Me lesson November 7-13: Daniel 9-10, 12
This post has been delayed because of website issues.
I am going to deviate from my normal pattern of discussing the current Cone Follow Me lesson and stay instead in the book of Daniel because there is a critical discussion in that book about the nature of Adam – Michael. In Daniel chapters 9, 10 and 12, Daniel has an encounter with Michael the Archangel. In contrast to nine references to Michael in the Doctrine and Covenants, Michael is mentioned only five times in all of ancient scripture: two in the New Testament and three in the Old Testament: two of those are in Daniel 10 and one in Daniel 12. Here I am presenting chapter 3 from my book, The Infinite Fall: A Scientific Approach to the Second Pillar of Eternity (Cedar Fort, 2021).
Chapter 3 Adam and Eve’s Place in Infinity
We have learned through modern revelation that Adam’s premortal and post-mortal name was Michael the Archangel. These three concepts: that Adam had a premortal existence, that he was Michael in that existence, and that he continued as Michael in his post-mortal existence, are key to understanding who Adam was and how truly powerful he is as an infinite, immortal spirit.
Michael’s name shows up nine times in the Doctrine and Covenants. The first mention is part of that marvelous revelation concerning Christ’s second coming as recorded in section 27:
“…the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, … Elias, …John [the Baptist], …Elijah, …Joseph and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, … Peter, and James, and John…”1 “And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days.”2 “And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world.”3
Second, we are told in Doctrine and Covenants section 29 that Michael, Adam, will participate in the resurrection.
“But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth—yea, even all.”4
First Thessalonians 4:16 refers to the same event, although in a more obscure manner,
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first…”
Thirdly, we read in Doctrine and Covenants section 78 thatthe Lord God,
“…hath appointed Michael your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days or end of life.”5
The fourth through seventh references are in Doctrine and Covenants section 88,
“…the seventh angel [Michael] shall sound his trump; and he shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be time no longer; and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years. And then he shall be loosed for a little season, that he may gather together his armies.”6
We are further told in Doctrine and Covenants section 88 that Great War between good and evil, which began in the premortal world [see Revelation 12:7, as discussed below], will resume at the end of the world.
“And Michael, the seventh angel, even the archangel, shall gather together his armies, even the hosts of heaven. And the devil shall gather together his armies; even the hosts of hell, and shall come up to battle against Michael and his armies. For Michael shall fight their battles, and shall overcome him who seeketh the throne of him who sitteth upon the throne, even the Lamb.”7
Eighth, we are instructed in Doctrine and Covenants section 107 that,
“Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.”8
Ninth, in Doctrine and Covenants section 128, Michael is praised along with many others in Joseph Smith’s poetic tribute to the restoration.
“Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!”
“And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book! The voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light! The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!”
“And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!”9
In contrast to the nine references to Michael in the Doctrine and Covenants, Michael is mentioned only five times in all of ancient scripture: two in the New Testament and three in the Old Testament. In each case, his reference is in the context of a major conflict between the forces of good and evil. The most familiar reference, in the book of Revelation, is to Michael’s battle with Satan in the premortal world.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”10
Then there is the strange reference to Michael in the book of Jude in the New Testament,
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”11
This verse appears to be quite confusing at several levels, and bible commentators have wrestled with this passage for many years12 John Gill (around 1764-1768) proposed that the struggle between Michael and Satan was over where – or even whether to bury Moses’ body after his death.12 This scenario – of Moses’ dead body needing burial, although a very old Judeo-Christian tradition – would not actually have happened, however, because Moses was translated so that he had a physical body to lay hands upon and pass his keys to the Savior at the mount of transfiguration.13 An alternative explanation proposed by Gill was that the struggle between Michael and Satan occurred over Moses’ spirit while he was still alive. This strange proposal, however, is completely lacking in context.
One question that may be raised concerning this quote is where did Jude learn this story in the first place? Origen (c. 185–254), an early Christian scholar, mentioned a Jewish-Greek book, “The Assumption of Moses,” as existing in his day. The book, although considered by most scholars to be apocryphal, apparently contained a very similar account of the struggle between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses. Origen supposed that The Assumption was the source of Jude’s account, but, unfortunately, that portion of the book is now lost.14 There appears to be no account in extant ancient scripture of any struggle between Moses and Satan, or between Michael and Satan over Moses.
However, through modern revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, recorded in The Pearl of Great Price, we now have another account of “Moses’ Assumption,” and therein is an account of Moses’ struggle with Satan. We read in Moses chapter 1:
“The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up [assumption] into an exceedingly high mountain, And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.”15
“And it came to pass that…Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely? Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve. Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory. And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan. And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.”16
Michael is never mentioned in this scripture, but the passage, “Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength…” (vs 20) is very interesting. Could this be the time when Michael intervened on God’s behalf to strengthen Moses and fight for Moses against Satan, as reported by Jude? Moses chapter 1 certainly appears to contain all the requisite parameters for Jude’s reference and for the missing portion of the Assumption.
The concept of being delivered by an angel is presented twice in the book of Psalms: “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”17 And, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”18These references certainly sound like what happened to Moses in relation to Satan and Michael.
The remaining three ancient references to Michael are in the Old Testament, all in the book of Daniel, and all part of a very unusual story. According to the account in Daniel 10, Daniel had been mourning, fasting, and praying for his people for “three full weeks.” Chapter 9 tells us the subject of his petition,
“Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him… O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.”19
Then, beside the “…great river…Hiddekel,”
“…a thing was revealed unto Daniel…and the thing was true… a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold…His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”20
Daniel said that he was the only one who saw the vision, whereas the men with him only experienced a great quaking, fled, and hid themselves. Bible commentators have identified this “man” as the angel Gabriel, who is named as the angel visiting Daniel in the previous two chapters (the only two times that Gabriel is mentioned by name in the Old Testament).
“Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia… But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.”21
This story of Daniel’s prayer and answer provides us with a huge amount of information concerning the realm of post-mortal spirits. Daniel was praying mightily for the release of his people, Israel, from Persian bondage, which bondage they were suffering because of their disobedience. God heard Daniel’s prayer immediately and sent the angel Gabriel (who we learn from modern revelation was Noah in his mortal life22) to Persia to work for the Israelites’ release. Gabriel was there fighting against the evil spirit, which controlled Persia, for three weeks, and ultimately had to enlist the help of Michael, the archangel, to defeat the forces of evil there.
Both Michael (Adam) and Gabriel (Noah) had already passed through their mortal probations and were now in their post-mortal, eternal lives – where time, apparently does not exist. Once Gabriel came back to earth by assignment to help Daniel and the Israelites, however, earth’s temporal constraints apparently now pertained to his activities. Although Gabriel struggled against the evil spirits for three weeks, he could not prevail on his own. Therefore, “…Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help [him]…”21 This piece of information gives us tremendous insight into Michael’s (Adam’s) immense spiritual power. We, at present, have no more information about Michael’s enormous power over evil aside from the fact that he led the hosts of heaven in the battle against Satan and his host. 10 We also do not know why other angels fall short of having such power.
In addition to Michael’s great power as the defender of God’s plan against the designs of Satan, whose object it is to destroy that plan, Michael, Adam, also helped create the very earth upon which this struggle takes place. In the October 1996 General Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stated, “Adam was Michael who helped create the earth—a glorious, superb individual. Eve was his equal—a full, powerfully contributing partner.”23
It is very important to our understanding of our parent’s nobility to appreciate what Elder Scott said about them. “Adam was…a glorious, superb [and we may add super-human] individual. [and] Eve was his equal…” Aside from Christ himself, Adam was the most powerful, spiritual being to ever live, and his wife, Eve was his equal partner. If we want role models to emulate, these two parents of humanity are it.
Because of modern revelation, we now know that Michael (Adam) was the commanding general of the great premortal host that defeated Satan’s army and cast them out of heaven. We also now know that Michael assisted the Savior in creating the earth, under God’s direction. We know that Michael was designated as the “First Man,” Adam, the father and leader of all humanity on the Earth, the Ancient of Days. We know that after Adam’s life on earth ended, he returned to his role as Michael, apparently battled against Satan in Moses’ behalf and assisted Gabriel in his epic twenty-one-day struggle against the evil forces in Persia. We also know that, at the end of time, Michael will, once again and for the last time, lead God’s forces in defeating the hosts of Satan.
Adam stands at the head of the human family, not just because he is Adam, the Ancient of Days, but also because he is Michael the mighty Archangel. He, and his equally noble wife, Eve, thus stand in a place of honor and dignity throughout all eternity.
1. Doctrine and Covenants 27:2
2. Doctrine and Covenants 27:3
3. Doctrine and Covenants 27:5
4. Doctrine and Covenants 29:26
5. Doctrine and Covenants 78:15-16
6. Doctrine and Covenants 88:110-111
7. Doctrine and Covenants 88:112-115
8. Doctrine and Covenants 107:53-54
9. Doctrine and Covenants 128:19-21
10. Revelation 12:7-9
11. Jude 1:9
12. c.f. John Gill, Exposition of the New Testament, 3 vols, 1764-1768
13. c.f. Matthew 17:1–9
14. Dean, William John, The Assumption of Moses, biblehub.com
15. Moses 1:1-2
16. Moses 1:12-22
17. Psalm 34:7
18. Psalm 91:11
19. Daniel 9:11 and 16
20. Daniel 10:1-6
21. Daniel 10:12-13, 21
22. see History of the Church 3:386
23. Scott, Richard G., The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness, General Conference, October 1996