Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Is Jesus the Archangel Michael?

In a previous post, I explained how it is indubitable that Jesus is God.  I did this by showcasing just some of the Scripture that affirms that Jesus and the Father (and the Holy Spirit) share certain qualities, attributes, and abilities that can only belong to God. So even though the doctrine of the Trinity is pretty confusing, it's very clearly there.

Jehovah's Witnesses try to do something similar with Jesus and the Archangel Michael. What strikes me as particularly odd is that they can see using these handful of passages a connection between these two, yet they can't see the glaring, obvious, repeated, blatant connections between Jesus and God!
To be fair, some of the passages that are said to connect Michael to Jesus are at first glance fairly interesting, and you can see how the case can be made. However, many just don't hit the mark at all, and have to have the Michael theory read into them.
The simplest rebuttal to the Michael being Jesus claim would be in showing the Trinity. If Jesus is God, then he is not one of the angels. But when looking at things like this I prefer to be objective and not start with my conclusion. I'd rather look at the case for Jesus being Michael without the baggage of already knowing it's false. So I have to pretend I don't know, and try and perhaps even see it from the JW perspective. We can let Scripture speak for itself.

I could even entertain the thought that Jesus may also be Michael, given that Jesus manifest himself as a human. Why couldn't he not also sometimes manifest as an angel? Saying that, we know that Jesus did manifest as an angel a number of times in the Old Testament. However, he was never referred to as Michael in those passages, he was always called The Angel of the LORD.
So maybe, maybe Jesus is Michael as well as God, but that remains to be seen.

So let's look at the case for Jesus being Michael.

Towards the back of their Bible Study guide "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" (going by my 2014 version which I believe is the latest edition as of 2017. They make changes to the book every so often when they find mistakes.) they have a number of short articles in the Appendix which deal with various issues. On pages 218-219 is "Who is Michael the Archangel", where they make their case to connect him with Jesus. It's a small book, roughly six inches tall, and this article takes less than those two pages, so you'd think they would really drive the point home easily if they were confident that this was all the space they needed.
This article in response is quite long, so feel free to skip to the summary at the end for the highlights.

Michael's name

The book readily admits that Michael gets very few mentions in the Bible, and thoughtfully includes the meaning of his name: Michael "Who Is Like God?". The interesting thing about Michael's name, is that it's a question. Generally, Jehovah's Witnesses will speak of Michael "who is like God" without a question mark. That's a different thing. That punctuation makes his name a question, which is most likely rhetorical (because no one is like God), while taking it away makes it sound like Michael is similar to God. Given as their literature affirms the question mark as the accurate translation, we don't have to make any further case for it.
That's a small point, but it shows the twisting of Scripture that is common in JW teaching. But it doesn't matter that much anyway, because we can take JW non-questioning meaning and it still won't necessarily suggest that Michael is Jesus who is a divine being very similar to God.
Names in the Bible do generally have double meanings that have some relevance to the character of a person, particularly when the name has been specifically given by God. But you have to be wary that you're reading them properly and not trying to make them fit preconceived ideas.
In Ezra 8:16 a man named Ariel is mentioned. This is his only appearance in the Bible. His name means 'lion of God'. Jesus is often referred to as the Lamb of God. It's often said that in heaven the lion will lay down with the lamb. So from this do we take it that Jesus and this small time player Ariel will be lying around together like besties? No. Firstly because that's a tenuous connection that misreads the meanings of the people's names. Secondly, because the Scripture about the animals together seems to refer to literal animals; and thirdly, because the Bible never tells us that the lion will lay with the lamb. It's a misquote of Isaiah 11:6 "And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;". In short - tread carefully.
Meanwhile, in Acts 19:29 we meet Aristarchus whose name means 'best ruler'. Does that mean he is God? God is definitely the best ruler, so would logic dictate that this man is God himself? No it doesn't. It's just his name. Found in the genealogies the name of Kenan, the great grandson of Adam, means 'sorrow is born'. Does this mean that Kenan was the embodiment of sorrow? Again... no. Although these two were not necessarily God given names, so may not then have any value as prophecies regarding the individual they were assigned to.

So let's say that Michael is a God given name that carries a revelation or prophecy about the angel the name belongs to. It would be better to compare that to another person who has a similarly God given prophetic name. Which would allow us to ignore the numerous other Michaels who appear in the Bible (e.g. Numbers 13:13, 1 Chronicles 5:13, 7:3, 8:16 etc). Like how Abram and Sarai were renamed to Abraham and Sarah which means 'father/mother of the multitude/nations'. Or Jesus for example. His name means 'saviour', so that at least hints at him being God's chosen Messiah. Jesus is also called 'Immanuel', which means 'God with us', which is a major clue in favour of Christ's divinity and membership of the tri-unity - something that JWs would not care to admit.
So again, in this case, there's another very strange way of selective reasoning that allows JWs to accept that Jesus is Michael based on the meaning of a name, but they would reject that Jesus is God despite the meaning of his name.

So the JW who claims that Michael means 'who is like God' as in 'Michael is like God' could potentially be on to something if we take the false translation without the question mark. However, we really have no reason to take away the question mark, and if we do, we're being very unBiblical. Several passages tell us that no one is like God. It's an integral part of monotheism.

There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your name in might. -- Jeremiah 10:6

O LORD, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You -- 1 Chronicles 17:20
O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath -- 1 Kings 8:23
There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord -- Psalm 86:8
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me -- Isaiah 46:9
These are just a handful of the clear, repeated Scriptures that tell us no one is like God. To claim that Michael the angel is 'like God' is blasphemy. The comparisons between Jesus and the Father show us that Jesus is God himself, so there is no blasphemy there. The praise for Jesus belongs to God because they are one and the same. But to give that praise to a lesser being flies in the face of obvious Christian teaching.

The only possible way out for the person who thinks Michael is Jesus, would be to also affirm that Jesus is God, meaning that Michael the Archangel is also God.
But as stated from the beginning of this section, there is no good reason to think that Michael's name means that he is like God. His name in Hebrew translates to 'miy kiy el'. 'miy' means 'who?' and is always a question. If the name was intended to draw a comparison between Michael and God, in place of 'miy' would be 'asher' which means 'the one who'.

Michael After Earth

The Guide tells us that Michael is another name for Jesus used for before and after his life on Earth as a human. JWs believe that Michael is the spirit creature that was God's first creation. When it came time for Jesus to be born, Michael ceased to exist as a spirit and was recreated as the man, Jesus. When Jesus died, he was once more recreated as the spirit Michael.
If that is the case, it seems very strange that the name is not used more often in the Epistles and in Revelation to refer to Jesus, seeing as the man Jesus had died some time before. They consistently continue to call him Jesus.
Same deal with the Old Testament. There are a number of places where we have appearances that can only be Jesus, but he is never called Michael, even though it's centuries before he would be born in human form.
To be fair, he is never called Jesus in the Old Testament either, he's either referred to as The Angel of the LORD or simply as God (e.g. the time when Jacob wrestled God).
These appearances would seem to be prime places for the name Michael to be used, if there was any connection between him and Jesus, but it doesn't happen. In actual fact, The Angel of the LORD is always understood to be an appearance of God himself.
When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.
“We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!” -- Judges 13:21-22


After that fairly lengthy sidetrack, we finally come to the first argument given in the book.
The JW Bible Study book tells us that Michael is referred to as 'the archangel' in Jude 9 and that 'archangel' means 'chief angel'. I'm on board so far.
They go on to highlight that Michael is called 'the archangel', where the 'the' implies he is the one and only archangel. Having in their minds established that there is only one archangel, they then point to 1 Thessalonians 4:6 where Jesus descends from heaven with the voice of an archangel.
Taking the two ideas that there is only one archangel, and Jesus has his voice, logically tells the JW that Jesus is the archangel.
The word 'archangel' only appears in the Bible in these two places, so it seems like an open and shut case.

If it was a syllogism it might look something like this:
P1: Michael is the one and only archangel.
P2: Jesus has the voice of an archangel.
C: Jesus is Michael.

First point on this. Jude 9 reads "But even the archangel Michael...". Now I would agree that a 'the' can imply one of a kind in many cases, but I would also point out that it doesn't always mean that. You could say "I saw the politician Boris Johnson give a speech today". That's perfectly acceptable, and no way suggests that Boris is the only politician who exists or ever has existed. You could even have even said "I saw the Mayor of London Boris Johnson give a speech". At one time he was the only mayor of London, but he is not any more. So to say "the archangel Michael" really doesn't tell us anything about how many archangels there are. All it tells us is that the Michael being referred to in the text is the archangel, and not the son of Sethur from Numbers 13:13.
These descriptive names are merely there to clarify who is being spoken about. Just like how Jesus differentiates between his disciples Simon the Zealot and Simon, who also called Peter. If it said "the one and only archangel Michael", you might have a leg to stand on with that point, but as it is, there's no proof there at all. But even in that case 'one and only' might be referring to Michael himself and not his rank. "The one and only President Trump" doesn't tell us there have never been other presidents.

Next point. Although the word 'archangel' doesn't appear anywhere in the Bible apart from the two listed passages, Michael himself does. Daniel 10:13 calls Michael 'one of the chief princes'. That short phrase alone throws all sorts of spanners into the works of the 'Jesus equals Michael' machine. We already know that 'archangel' means 'chief angel', but in Daniel he is referred to as one of the chiefs. So that might suggest that there actually is more than one archangel. As Daniel speaks of one of a number of princes, he seems to be placing Michael on even ranking with some other unnamed 'princes'. That just blatantly contradicts the notion that Michael is the top dog. But if you think that Michael is Jesus, then he has to be a higher rank than the other angels.
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?
Or again,
“I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God's angels worship him.” -- Hebrews 1:5-6
The Bible tells us quite clearly that Jesus is higher than the angels. If Michael is among them, they can't be the same. Jesus is God's Son, and it is said that all of the angels will worship him. Michael is an angel, so why doesn't it say 'Let God's other angels worship him'? This passage makes a clear distinction between Jesus and the angels, and when you consider the repeated fact that God does not allow worship to go to anyone but himself, it makes no sense to think that God is allowing his holiest creatures to worship an angel.
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” -- Matthew 4:10
Even Jesus tells us that worship is only for God, yet we are commanded to worship Jesus. Jesus has to be God, otherwise worshipping him is blasphemous.
But the JW Guide would have you believe that Jesus is just the highest ranking angel, even though the Bible tells us nothing about one singular chief angel. But then another contradiction arises when we see Michael referred to as 'chief prince' (Dan 10:13, 10:21, 12:1), while Jesus is referred to as 'king of kings' (Rev 17:14, 19:13-16). Can one person be both the prince and the king? Maybe, if we take these titles as just fancy metaphorical ways of comparing the figure to royalty and not take them literally. Of course again, Jesus being named 'king of kings' likens him to God, where the Father is given that title in 1 Timothy 6:15. So even if it is just a metaphor, it's more likely that Jesus is God, than Jesus is an angel.
In short, it seems as though whoever Jesus is, he ranks higher than Michael, who is one of an unspecified number. If we trust the Book of Enoch, which is not accepted in the Biblical canon, but is taken as at least a somewhat trustworthy source by some Jews and Christians, we can learn a little more. Chapter 20 gives a list of seven archangels, which includes Gabriel, the only other named angel in the Bible. Although the Book of Enoch's reliability is very questionable, we're in a situation where there is no reason to think that there is only one archangel, but there are a few reasons to think there could be a few.

Even if Michael is the leader of a group of high ranking angels, the Book of Revelation makes it very specifically clear that angels are not to be worshipped.
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! -- Revelation 19-9:10
When John offered worship to an angel, the angel stopped him and reminded him that he should only worship God. So if Michael is an angel, he is not to be worshipped, but we know that Jesus is supposed to be worshipped.

The third point, if this section hasn't done it's job already is a nice short one. The JW NWT translation of the Bible says that Jesus has the voice of 'an archangel'. Having so far been adamant about Michael being 'the' archangel, the one and only, it's strange that at this point it says 'an archangel'. Doubly strange is that other translations like the NIV do actually say 'the archangel', so why wouldn't they go with that to back up their claim?

The fourth thing to note is what happens in the reference to Michael in the Epistle of Jude.
In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. -- Jude 8-10
In this fly-by mention, Michael is attempting to stop Satan from taking Moses' body. However, Michael is in a difficult situation where he himself has no power to pass judgement on the Devil. This NIV translation says "did not himself dare to condemn him for slander", which is fine, but others use phrases closer to the original meaning for the Greek word 'krisin' (κρίσιν) which means 'judgement'. Michael knows that God is the only judge of sinners. He probably also knows that Jesus has the right to judge. But if Michael is Jesus, then why is it that he fears that he can not judge Satan here?

For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgement to the Son -- John 5:22
So if Jesus can judge, and Michael can not judge, how can they be the same person?

For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. -- Romans 14:10
Yet again, this points to Jesus being God. Not an angel.
Having asked a JW how they could be the same person when Michael can not judge, and Jesus can at Judgement Day, the response I was given was that Michael had not yet been given the authority to by God. I haven't been able to find any Scripture that supports that claim, but again I have found a few bits that seem to refute it.

this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.-- Acts 10:42
If Jesus 'has' been appointed, that would suggest past tense. He is already the Judge. True, he is waiting until the end times to commence judgement, but he has the authority already, or at least by the time Acts was written around 62AD.

because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. -- Acts 17:31
Here in Acts again, we see that a 'man' has been appointed. Not an angel. This fits in completely comfortably with the doctrines of the tri-unity and the incarnation, where one of God's persons is both fully man and fully God. It doesn't sit too well with the teaching that a man has died and an angel will be the judge. It also causes a problem for the JW idea of resurrection where at death Jesus the man became Michael the angel, instead of a man being raised from the dead. This verse suggests a man being raised from the dead, it doesn't say a man was transformed into a spirit being.

So, we have no support for the idea that Michael is waiting to be given authority to judge, but we do see that the God-man Jesus is waiting to exercise his authority at the right time.

Next in Jude 9, Michael says "The Lord rebuke you!". He is calling on God to judge Satan because he has no power to himself. What he says seems to be a direct quote of Zechariah 3:2: "The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you".
However, you'll notice that LORD refers to God, while Lord without all-caps is translated from the Greek 'kyrios' (κύριος), which is usually a reference to Jesus. So it would seem that Michael is calling on Jesus to rebuke Satan, which makes no sense if he is Jesus.
Then you might say that in Zechariah, the LORD says "The LORD rebuke you" in reference to himself, so perhaps Michael is saying "Jesus rebuke you" in reference to himself. But you'd have to remember that Michael 'did not dare pass judgement', so it would be a blatant contradiction if he went ahead and did it in the next line.
So here we have Michael either calling to God to rebuke Satan, because he can't do it himself, or he is calling on Jesus to rebuke Satan, which means he can not be Jesus.
Obviously the JWs would choose the option that Michael/Jesus is calling on God because it is not yet time for him to pass judgement. Although, if it's not time and Jesus/Michael knows that, then why would he bother with the prayer?

Jesus when faced with Satan and other demons does not behave in this way. When Satan tempts him in the desert he does not call God for help, he simply says
"Be gone, Satan!"-- Matthew 4:10. At which point Satan left.
Later during his ministry, he makes it clear that humans do not have the ability to rebuke demons.

And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” . . . And when He had come into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” -- Mark 9:25-29
As you can see from this, Jesus straight out rebukes a demon with a clear command. He even says "I command you", nothing like "I call on God to rebuke you". His disciples, who had previously been trying to rebuke the demon themselves had failed, so Jesus advises them that it can only be done by prayer i.e. asking God to do it for them, not doing it by their own power.
So to rephrase that: Jesus told his disciples that men can not rebuke demons but have to ask God to do it for them. He told them this moments after he had himself rebuked a demon and commanded it under his own power. So, if only God can rebuke demons, and Jesus rebuked a demon, that is a fair clue as to who he is.

Looking back at the syllogism I constructed again:
P1: Michael is the one and only archangel.
P2: Jesus has the voice of an archangel.
C: Jesus is Michael.

So far, this section has only addressed the problems with P1. It seems that there is no solid reason to think that Michael really is the one and only archangel. Apart from that, looking at the context of the passage in which JWs believe Michael is stated to be the one and only archangel, we find several reasons to believe that he is a separate being to Jesus.
I'm yet to touch P2, and this argument for the identification of Michael with Jesus seems to be utterly shredded. And that's even without noting that C doesn't necessarily follow from P1 and P2 anyway. But just to be thorough, let's take a look at P2 as well.

The JW Guide tells us that Jesus having the voice of an archangel links him to the 'office of archangel' and suggests that he is Michael.
It's a common compliment to singers to say that they have the 'voice of an angel'. Does that mean that they actually are an angel? Or is it just a metaphorical way of saying their voice is very pleasing?
It's the second one. We know that.
So why think that Jesus' archangel voice is a literal pointer to his identity rather than a descriptive simile?

It would seem that the reason JWs believe that interpretation is due to their leaders at the Watchtower twisting the Scriptures again.
Compare the ESV passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:16:
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
to the NWT (JW) translation:
because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet, and those who are dead in Christ will rise first.
Spot a difference? It's subtle but potentially powerful. See in the ESV translation which here has similar phrasing to the NIV, NASB, KJV, NLT, and any other popular version you can think of, Jesus arrives while the sound of a trumpet is heard - the kind of image you'd expect for a grand arrival of a king. In the JW's NWT however, the phrasing suggests that Jesus could be carrying the trumpet. So while in every other version, Jesus' arrival is announced by horns and shouts and noise, in the NWT it's reworded to seem like Jesus himself is shouting and blowing a trumpet.
And for the JW it has to be that way. It couldn't suggest Jesus with the voice of an archangel accompanied by the sound of trumpets. Jesus has to own them both or own neither.
If they said "with an archangel's voice, and the sound of the trumpet", it would seem as though Jesus was making trumpet noises with his mouth. But they have to edit the text to make it not seem like that. Because that's silly.
This separation is reinforced in the guide as they put a full stop after "archangel's voice" as though the verse ends there, allowing them to avoid the complication of the trumpet.
This verse just is not intended to be read as the JWs have twisted it. It's not even that the way it is written in the NWT demands that it be read in the way JWs interpret it. It's more to do with how their Watchtower magazine and their Bible Study Guide tells them to interpret it. That's the real issue. Your average Jehovah's Witness will not realise they are being intellectually dishonest. They will be honest, sincere, good people. The trouble is that the dishonesty has all gone on behind the scenes by the people who write these guides and they have lied to the people they're sending out to evangelise.

There's no reason to think that Jesus coming with the voice of an archangel means he is an archangel. It would be strange to say 'my mate Dave shouted at me with the voice of a human'. You say someone shouted like a lion or a foghorn or something which helps describe what they sound like. It wouldn't mean that Dave was a literal foghorn, it's just a helpful way to describe him. So even if the voice of the archangel belongs to Jesus, it still makes no sense to conclude that he is himself an angel.
But as it seems very clear from the text, the voice of the archangel belongs to someone shouting for Jesus, announcing his arrival, accompanied by the sound of trumpets.

Another point on this passage is that the Jehovah's Witness argument to suggest that this proves that Jesus is an archangel once again backfires. If they want to say that Jesus coming with an archangel's voice proves that he is an archangel, then wouldn't that also mean that Jesus coming with God's trumpet proves him to be God? Why would an angel be carrying God's personal trumpet?
It would be inconsistent to say that someone else is blowing God's trumpet in support of Jesus, yet Jesus himself is shouting as an archangel.

Here's a better syllogism that a Jehovah's Witness could try to support:

P1: Jesus' voice is the voice of an archangel
P2 (from P1): Therefore Jesus is an archangel
P3: Michael is the only archangel
C (from P2 and P3): Therefore, Jesus is Michael

But as we have seen there is no reason to think any of the premises are true.
P1 fails because it is more likely that the archangel's voice is not Jesus shouting himself, but someone else announcing him. Alternatively, if it is actually his voice, then the phrase makes more sense as a metaphor.
P2 needs P1, but if P1 doesn't work, then we can't have P2.
P3 fails because the Bible seems to suggest that there could be other archangels and never explicitly tells us there is only one.
If all three premises fail, we can have no confidence in the conclusion.

But the JWs have one more argument for the claim in their Guide.

Army Leader

The JW argument goes something like this:
P1: Michael is the leader of an army of angels. (Rev 12:7)
P2: Jesus is the leader of an army of angels (2 Thess 1:7, Rev 19:13-16)
P3: There is only one army of angels.
C: As an army can only have one leader, Jesus and Michael must be the same person.

This syllogism can only really work if it's worded along these lines. Unfortunately for the JWs, the Biblical evidence doesn't match up to this specific phrasing.
While it is true that Michael leads angels into battle in one chapter, while Jesus does in another, it never explicitly says that either of them is the one and only leader. It always says 'Jesus (or Michael) and his angels'.
This distinction could very easily describe a situation where for example, Michael is a Captain, while Jesus is the General. They would both be in positions of command, but one outranks the other. This simple point basically means we can have no confidence in P1 or P2.

It gets worse though. The JW support for P3 is that the Bible does not tell us that there is more than one army, so we must assume that there is only one. I fear that this is another dishonest twist from the Watchtower organisation. You'll notice that the Guide quotes the Bible verse related to Michael, but doesn't quote the verse related to Jesus. Why? Because Revelation 19:14 reads "the armies in heaven". That would be 'armies' as in the plural of 'army'. P3 is simply false.

Just to really rub salt in the wounds of this tattered argument... the alleged connection between Jesus and Michael would make more sense if the battle that the leaders fought were the same story being told again. But they are not. Michael leads his angels in expelling Satan from heaven. Jesus leads his armies in a battle ending in the destruction of the beast and the false prophet. These are two separate events. Michael could have led the entire army in one battle, while Jesus led them in a different battle. There's no reason to assume that every battle would have the same commander.

One last nail in the coffin. Revelation mentions Michael and his angels in Chapter 12, but Jesus and his armies in Chapter 19. We might be able to assume here that Michael is leading an army, considering that he is fighting Satan's forces, but the passage doesn't actually explicitly say anything about one.

Once again the JW syllogism falls apart at every step, and so we just can not conclude that Michael and Jesus are one and the same.

The two arguments offered in the study Guide did not impress me at all at first glance, and with just a little digging, the threads have come apart entirely. When originally presented with this by the Jehovah's Witnesses, I told them I found it unconvincing so they suggested I look at the website for more information because the reasons to believe it would be better explained there. So having utterly dissected the arguments in the Guide, I with an open mind proceeded to search their website to find any more arguments in favour of the notion that Jesus is also Michael.

I found two articles. One was simply the Study Guide online, so identical to what has been covered above. The second was an article called "Who is the Archangel Michael?". The bulk of it was a rewording of the above two arguments, but it did add an extra third one. Perhaps this was the clincher I was looking for?

Michael “will stand up” during an unprecedented “time of distress.”

The argument is basically that Michael will 'stand up' during the last days to protect the saved. This must mean that he is Jesus, because Jesus does something like that too.

Here it is in their words:
(Daniel 12:1) In the book of Daniel, the expression “stand up” is often used to refer to a king who rises up to take special action. (Daniel 11:2-4, 21) Jesus Christ, identified as “The Word of God,” will take special action as the “King of kings” to strike down all of God’s enemies and protect God’s people. (Revelation 19:11-16) He will do so during a time of “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning.” Matthew 24:21, 42.
And the relevant Bible verse:
“During that time Miʹcha·el will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of your people. And there will occur a time of distress such as has not occurred since there came to be a nation until that time. And during that time your people will escape, everyone who is found written down in the book. -- Daniel 12:1 (NWT)
I can't see how this convinces anybody.

For a start, the titles given to Michael and Jesus don't match. Michael is named 'the great prince', while Jesus is called 'king of kings'. Besides that we know that 'king of kings' is a title applied to God according to Timothy 6:15. It's difficult to escape that connection even if we know that Jesus is sometimes also referred to as a prince elsewhere.

The Bible passage tells us that Michael will rise up and stand for the people, but that's hardly conclusive. It might be if Revelation told us that Jesus single-handedly defeated the army of Satan, but it doesn't. It tells us that Jesus leads armies into battle. This includes angels. It tells us that the 144,000, who are people taken from the tribes of Israel, will save souls that still need to be saved. It also tells us about seven angels with seven plagues. We could here again reference the book of Enoch which tells us that there are seven archangels, of which Michael is one. So the seven archangels of Enoch would be a better fit for the seven angels with seven plagues.
It seems arbitrary to say that Michael arising for a task in the end times means he must be Jesus, when there are so many others doing so many things too.

I'm not really exactly sure what needs rebutting in this argument. I can barely piece together the train of thought that is supposed to connect Michael to Jesus. My best guess at a syllogism for it:

P1: Michael will stand up on behalf of the people during "a time of distress such as has not occurred". (Dan 12:1)
P2: Jesus will lead the armies of heaven against the beast and the false prophet (Rev 19:11-16) 
during a time of "great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning." (Matt 24:21).
P3: P2 refers to "‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel" in the context of Matt 24:15 which points to the book of Daniel where Michael is mentioned.
P4: The abomination that causes desolation is a reference to the end times.

P5: Both Jesus and Michael are doing something for the good of mankind during the end times.
C: Therefore Michael and Jesus are one and the same.

Regarding P2, I can see nothing that actually connects Jesus' battle with the beast to 'the abomination that causes desolation'. Perhaps the sound of angels blowing a trumpet in Matthew 24:31? That's about it.

It seems much more likely that 'the abomination' was a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. Jesus said the events he was talking about would happen before this generation had passed away (Matt 24:34). Luke 21:20 even gives us the extra detail about the desolation that just before it, Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies.
I also see no reason here to link Michael to the desolation. Daniel 12 talks about how he will be present when God's people will be resurrected. That would suggest the end times.
So if Michael is dealing with the end times, but Jesus is talking about 70AD, there can be no connection made using the desolation.
The trouble is, that there is a huge amount of debate about what the desolation that Jesus spoke of is. It's difficult to grasp what the JWs how attempting to use it when they haven't fleshed out their argument at all. It seems to assume that we all understand the desolation to be about the end times, despite that being an unlikely possibility.

If that connection can't be made we are still left with the simpler argument:
P1: Michael will stand up for mankind (special action) during the end times.

P2: Jesus fights on behalf of mankind (special action) during the end times.
C: Jesus and Michael are one and the same.

Even though P1 and P2 seem to be true, the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow. There's nothing to suggest that they can't stand together as separate individuals.

To Sum Up

  • Michael's name: Michael means 'Who Is Like God?'. It is a rhetorical question, not a description of the angel. 'miy' is always a question. The Bible is very clear that there is no one like God. Otherwise Michael should be called Asherchael: 'The One Who Is Like God'.
  • The claim is that Michael is the name of Jesus while in his spirit form. However, the name is not used for him in many places that it should be.
  • The Bible never tells us that there is only one archangel. However, Daniel 10:13 says that there are many 'chief princes' and Michael is one of them, implying that his rank is equal to a group of others.
  • The Bible does teach us that Jesus is higher ranking than all of the angels, and is worthy of their worship (Heb 1:6). Matthew 4:10 is just one example of Scripture that tells us that only God is worthy of worship. If the Bible tells us that only God may be worshipped, and that Jesus is worthy of worship, then Jesus must be God.
  • Although he is referred to as 'the archangel Michael', this would only be proof that he is the only archangel if names like 'Simon the Zealot', or 'Agrippa the king' meant that they were the only zealot and king respectively. Which they obviously do not.
  • The Bible tells us (Rev 19:9-10, 22:9) not to worship angels. If Michael is an angel, he is not worthy of worship.
  • Michael has no power to judge Satan (Jude 9). Jesus has been given all judgement by the Father who judges no one (John 5:22). But God is the only judge (Romans 14:10). Therefore Jesus is God and Michael is not.
  • Michael the archangel could not rebuke Satan (Jude 9). Jesus the man commanded Satan to leave him alone (Matt 4:10) and Satan obeyed.
  • Michael could not rebuke Satan. Jesus told his disciples that men can not rebuke demons but have to ask God to do it for them. He told them this moments after he had himself rebuked a demon and commanded it under his own power. This strongly suggests that Jesus is God.
  • The context of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is that Jesus will arrive accompanied by shouts from angels and trumpets playing. Not that he himself will be playing a trumpet or owning an archangel's voice.
  • Taking the phrase 'Jesus with the voice of an archangel' to literally mean Jesus is an archangel would be extremely clumsy if it was true. It would be like saying 'Dave with the voice of a human'. It makes more sense as a metaphor.
  • There is no reason to think that simply because both Michael and Jesus lead an army of angels that they are the same person. It could be that Michael is the Captain, while Jesus is the General.
  • Rev 19:14 tells us that there are 'armies' in heaven, which debunks the JW claim that there is only one army. This is ironic as this is the verse JWs to try and show Jesus' connection to Michael.
  • Michael led angels to drive Satan from heaven. Jesus led angels to destroy the false prophet. These are separate events, so no connection between the commanders can be made.

    I think the verdict is absolutely clear. Jesus is God, and Michael is an angel, a lesser being. There is an outside possibility that Jesus could also be incarnate as Michael, but on that front I'm unconvinced. The JW Guide at least gives me no reason to think so.