Archangel Michael and his angels
The icon Archangel Michael and his angels
Archangel Michael. Mon. of  St. Catherin, XIII
In events of the Apocalypse it is mentioned of about hundred angels, who are carrying out concrete functions. Others places in the New Testament notes “many thousands” (Jud.14), “myriads” of angels (Heb. 12:22). Who are angels? They are beings whose main feature is that unlike man, they are not endowed with any earthly flesh.

   They were created long before man and were designated to assist God at the different phases of natural evolution and human history. Possessed of an individual self-awareness and free volition, some angels have got into dispute with God and even have come to counteraction Him in diverse ways and extent. The Archangel Michael is the head of the angels who did not swerve from their devoted fidelity to their Creator.

   Who ranks first on his nature, angel or man? In other words, is possession of an earthly body an advantage or drawback?

  On the one hand the human body bears within its incredibly complex and rich structures the seal of Divine Wisdom, along with the fullness of natural life and an inexhaustible potential for development. Even after death the human soul differs in principle from an angel's namely in that it retains the full memory of the life of that body which it temporarily, prior to resurrection, has part with. Though some angels possess of ability to settle themselves in the bodies of animals or human beings and feed on their energies, no one of angels will ever have such full knowledge in respect of the human body, not one can have so intimate and profound a bond and unity with every single cell and molecule, which by the nature are peculiar to the human soul.

  Yet, on the other hand, how great the misfortunes and limitations are that the body imposes upon man! Hunger, disease, the possibility of being subjected to every conceivable violence, rooting to the spot, ageing and the inevitably of death, all these woes and frailties to which human flesh is subject are unknown to the angel.

   Still biblical tradition unreservedly places man above angel. The Holy Scriptures qualify only man as created in God's "image" and "likeness" (Gen. 1:26-27).

   Hence it is stated that “we are to judge angels" (1 Cor. 6:3), "for it is not to angels that He has subjected the world to come" (Hebr. 2:5).

   Man's distinguishing feature from angel, to wit, his natural body, comprises part and parcel of God's image within man and symbolizes the supreme human worth.

   As for the body's sorrowful, morbid condition, that is due to the violation of being's Divine order, wherein the highest serves the lowest and the strongest the weakest. For in our mundane order of living, the sinful soul exploits the body for sake of pleasure or vanity instead of painstakingly fostering it as God's invaluable creation, preparing it to the future resurrection.

   What is the designation of angels?
   It is to serve humbly in the effort to redeeming and creatively cultivating of nature and mankind, yet withal take up spiritual arms in warring against their mutinous brothers who work violence against nature and the human race.

   That is what the Archangel Michael and his angels do.

   The Archangel Michael is mentioned thrice in the Revelation of Daniel. Thus the "man" whom Daniel beholds, and who, to judge from the description is very Jesus Christ as God, tells the prophet of His struggle against the "king of Persia":

"But, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help Me" (Dan. 10:13); 
"There is none that holdeth with Me in these things but Michael your prince" (Dan. 10:21)

   Distinctly implied is the unnamed patron angel of Persia and Michael as the patron angel of Israel.

   Yet Daniel's third mention of Michael constrains us to regard him as a man of this earth. In connection with the description of the campaigns of the "vile" king (in John's Revelation there corresponds to it an image "a beast from an abyss", 11:7) – Daniel says:

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people"     Dan. 12:1.

  What people is meant?

  Daniel obviously means Israel; however, in John's revelation it is spoken about prompt occurrence as though a new people comprised of the number believing in Jesus Christ. This "new Israel" also has its patron angel:  it is the

“angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God” (7:2).

  He ranks the twelve tribes and
"sets the seal of our God upon the foreheads of his servants" (7:3).

  Scarcely can one doubt that the selfsame Archangel Michael is patron also of the new Israel...

  In John's Revelation there is a direct mention of a name of Michael:

   “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” (12:7-8).

Of exceptional significance here is not only the said event but its entire frame of reference.
Let us now note what came directly before that.

St. John observes a "great portent":

“Women clothed with the sun…  and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and  in  pain to give birth” (12:1-2).

  And next:
"Dragon... stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when her child was born he might devour it"   (12:4).

  This is the dragon that is cast down by Michael, following which the attempt to "devour the child" fails.

"She gave birth to a male child, who is destined to rule all nations with an iron rod. But her child was snatched up to God and his throne" (12:5).

  The link between the birth of the child and the throwing down of the dragon is so intimate that one is fain to conclude that the child and Michael are one and the same.

  But if an angel is born of a woman, that signifies he became human being!

   That is indeed a great event in the world of angels!

   Henceforth and forever their Head has acquired an own human body, and while retaining the qualities of an angel supplements them with the properties of human nature. Archangel Michael and his angels will approach the new level of their existence. Through him other angels true to God are in some manner endowed with the ability to initiate themselves into the mystery of human life in a body, and, above all, into the mystery of Jesus Christ the man: “things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter. 1:12). Insofar as Jesus is God who has become man, the angels have via the human body a qualitatively new way for communication with God. We shall yet speak of the role that Michael acts in the Revelation, where he stands forth under another names. But now it is necessary to answer other question: who is the woman who gives birth to him?