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If the archangel, Michael, fought "one-on-one" with Satan, who would win?

Robert writes - Can you please explain why Michael and Satan were fighting over the body of Moses. Is Michael stronger than Satan, or vice versa, since Michael just said God rebuke you? Please advise. Thank You.

Dear Robert,

I see three separate but related questions in your message...

  • Q1 - Why did Michael and Satan fight over the body of Moses?
  • Q2 - Is Michael stronger than Satan?
  • Q3 - Why did Michael merely ask God to rebuke Satan, rather than engaging him in combat?

I will attempt to answer each of these questions in the panels below...

Q1 - Why did Michael & Satan fight over the body of Moses?

I have highlighted two key words in Jude 1.9.

  • "Contending" translates the Greek word, diakrino, which means to separate thoroughly, i.e. (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose.
  • "Disputed" translates the Greek word, dialegomai, which means to say thoroughly, i.e. discuss (in argument or exhortation).

My conclusion - Michael & Satan had a heated argument over Moses' body. They did not actually fight in the sense of exchanging blows.

  Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!'' Jude 1.9

God personally buried Moses in a secret location. In my OPINION...

  • God did this so that the grave site of Moses would not become an object of worship by the Jewish people.
  • Satan wanted to take Moses body so that it could be enshrined in a public location known to the Jews. Thus, the body of Moses would have become an object of veneration or worship by the Jews. Idolatry!
  Then the Lord said to him (Moses), "This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, `I will give it to your descendants.' I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.''

So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He (
God) buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. Deu 34.4-6

Concerning the possibility of idolatry towards Moses, consider Mt 17.1-4...

  • When Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the mount of the transfiguration, Peter wanted to build tabernacles for each of them.
  • Had Jesus given Peter his way, these tabernacles could well have become sites for worship.
  Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, brought them up on a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish,
let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.'' Mt 17.1-4
Why would Satan want the Jews to worship Moses?

More to the point -- why does Satan sponsor all forms of idolatry and false religions?

He does so in order that people will worship anyone and anything OTHER than the true and living God.
  Again, the devil took Him (Jesus) up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.'' Mt 4.8-9; see also 2 Thes 1.3-4 & Rev 13.15

Q2 - Is Michael stronger than Satan?

As noted above, Michael and Satan did not engage in an actual fight over Moses' body (Jude 1.9).

  • However, angels CAN engage in combat with each other, as recorded in the verses alongside.
  • What we do NOT know is the exact nature of this combat.

If Satan and Michael battled "mano-a-mano" I'm not sure who would win (but I would sure like to watch!). In any event, Michael won in both the two references (Dan 10.13, Rev 12.7-8).

  (The angel said to Daniel...) "But the prince (an angelic prince) of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael (the archangel), one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings (angelic kings) of Persia." Dan 10.13

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (Satan); and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. Rev 12.7-8

Q3 - Why did Michael merely ask God to rebuke Satan, rather than engaging him in combat?

Why did Michael merely ask God to rebuke Satan, rather than engaging him in combat? The verses that precede and follow Jude 9 make the answer clear...

  • Jude 8 condemns people who were rejecting authority and speaking evil of dignitaries.
  • Jude 10 repeats the condemnation.
  • In contrast with those who speak evil, Michael's forbearance in his dispute with Satan was given as an example of NOT speaking evil of dignitaries.

Yes, Satan was a dignitary...

  8. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.
9.
Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!''
10. But these
speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Jude 1.8-10

Before Satan rebelled against God, he held high office in the mountain of God. Namely, Satan was -- "the anointed cherub who covers."

  • It was God who established Satan in this high office.
  • It was God who cast Satan out of his high office in the mountain of God.

Clearly then...

  • ONLY God may appoint to high office
  • ONLY God may depose from high office
  • ONLY God may decree the degree of punishment or dishonor to befall those who rebel against Him.
  (God said...) You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.

You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.

By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore
I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Ezek 28.14-16
In conclusion...

It is God's prerogative - and His alone - to rebuke the dignitaries He appoints. Thus, Michael did not rebuke Satan. Rather, Michael asked God to do so.

By the way, I have a problem with Christians who go about saying words such as, "Satan, I rebuke you!" I know of no verse in the Bible that commands or permits a Christian to exercise such power or authority.

It is God's prerogative to rebuke Satan. Not yours or mine or any other creature's. Amen.

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