But when Mi′cha·el the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body,he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: “May Jehovah rebuke you.” – Jude 9
The book of Jude reveals a fascinating example: “When Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: ‘May Jehovah rebuke you.’” (Jude 9) Michael is a name applied to Jesus—before and after his life on earth—in his role as archangel, or chief of Jehovah’s heavenly army of angels. (1 Thessalonians 4:16) Note, though, how Michael handled this confrontation with Satan.
Jude’s account does not tell us what Satan wanted to do with Moses’ body, but we can be sure that the Devil had some vile purpose in mind. Perhaps he wanted to promote the misuse of that faithful man’s remains in false worship. While Michael resisted Satan’s wicked scheme, he also showed remarkable self-restraint. Satan surely deserved a rebuke, but Michael, who at the time he was disputing with Satan had not yet had “all the judging” committed to him, felt that such a judgment should come only from Jehovah God. (John 5:22) As archangel, Michael had extensive authority. Yet, he humbly deferred to Jehovah rather than trying to seize additional authority. Besides humility, he also showed modesty, or an awareness of his limitations.
Jude was inspired to write about this incident for a reason. Sadly, some Christians in Jude’s day were not humble. They were haughtily “speaking abusively of all the things they really [did] not know.” (Jude 10) How easy it is for us imperfect humans to let our pride get the better of us!