1 Thessalonians 4:16 YLT because the Lord himself, in a shout, in the voice of a chief-messenger, and in the trump of God, shall come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first,

Who is the chief-messenger/archangel in this verse? Are there more than one archangel or is there only one archangel?

ἀρχαγγέλου (archangelou) Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular Strong's 743: A ruler of angels, a superior angel, an archangel. From archo and aggelos; a chief angel.

The word archangel is singular as Bible Hub shows, if this is so, who is this chief angel?


3 Answers 3


Two angels are named in scripture - Gabriel, twice, and Michael, five times - a total of seven times.

Gabriel stands in the presence of God, Luke 1:19, and was sent from God, Luke 1:26.

Thus he stands and is sent to enunciate.

He also has the power at his disposal to respond to inappropriate enunciation (by unbelief) and to prevent further such (negative) speech pending a significant event, Luke 1:20 and 1:64.

Michael is named five times in scripture, every time in respect of combat, leading other angels.

Michael is also called an archangel in Revelation 12:7.

The un-named archangel could be either of these persons, or it could be another un-named (and never named) angel.

Since the 1 Thessalonians 4:16 text refers to 'the voice' of the archangel (in a situation where all combat is already over and won) it would be reasonable to suppose it is Gabriel, the one who stands and is sent to enunciate, and is chief enough to be sent on arguably the two most significant of all tasks in all of history, thus able for the third most significant task, at the end of history.

When this archangelic voice sounds, it will cause all other, unbelieving and negative voices, to cease altogether.

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    Interesting connection, Nigel, though admittedly not proof. Gabriel announced miraculous new life in preparation for Jesus' first coming. The dead rising could represent new life in preparation for Jesus' second coming. Oct 31, 2021 at 12:17

The archangel is mentioned just twice in the Bible:

  • Jude 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!”
  • 1 Thess 4:16 - For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

To the above data we may add the following:

  • Dan 10:13 - However, the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
  • Dan 10:21 - But first I will tell you what is inscribed in the Book of Truth. Yet no one has the courage to support me against these, except Michael your prince.
  • Dan 12:1 - “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
  • Rev 12:7 - And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels warred against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels warred back.

Allow me to add a few further verses as well:

  • Rev 19:13, 14 - He [Jesus] is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and pure, follow Him on white horses.
  • Josh 5:14, 15, 6:2 - ... He replied. “I have now come as Commander of the LORD’s army.” Then Joshua fell facedown in reverence and asked Him, “What does my Lord have to say to His servant?” The Commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. ... And the LORD said to Joshua, “Behold, I have delivered Jericho into your hand, along with its king and its mighty men of valor.

[Note: The angel Gabriel is nowhere called an archangel.]

From the above we many deduce the following:

  • the only archangel in the Bible is called, "Michael" = One who is like God.
  • The LORD is often called the angel of the LORD (see appendix below)
  • Michael, the archangel is the leader of the armies of heaven according to Rev 12:7, which also appears to be Jesus in Rev 19:13, 14. Thus we often find the angels referred to as either "the Lord's angels" (Ps 91:11, 103:20, 148:2), Michael's angels" (Rev 12:7), "God's angels" (Job 4:18, Heb 1:7), "The Son of Man's/Jesus' angels" (Matt 13:34, 24:30, 31, 25:31, 2 Thess 1:7) and "the Father's angels" (Matt 16:27, Rev 3:5). All these are distinguished from the Devil's angels (Matt 25:41).
  • Whether this same "Michael" is the the one referenced in Daniel 10 is not completely certain, but the associated references point in that direction.

APPENDIX - Angel of the LORD

The following passages make it clear that the “Angel of the LORD” is almost always, the LORD (Jehovah) Himself, probably Jesus in particular. Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1.

A closely related phrase, “Angel of God” who is clearly God as in Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22, etc. See also Acts 10:3, 4, Gal 4:14.

  • 1
    Dan 10 more likely refers to the same warrior Jesus as Rev. 19. 10:13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Oct 31, 2021 at 12:37

Are there more than one archangel or is there only one archangel?

Daniel 10:

13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

Jude 1:

9 But even the archangel Michael [Μιχαὴλ ἀρχάγγελος], 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!”

Michael is the only named archangel that is mentioned in the Bible. Still, there could be others.

Who is the chief-messenger/archangel in 1-Thessalonians 4:16?


Of equal rank with Michael is Gabriel, the angel of comfort and good tidings in Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21, and Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26. The military style of this passage suits rather the character of Michael.

Similarly Jamieson-Fausset-Brown:

the voice of … archangel—distinct from the "signal shout." Michael is perhaps meant (Jude 9; Re 12:7), to whom especially is committed the guardianship of the people of God (Da 10:13).

The jury is still out on this one :)

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