Question: Satan disputing with Michael?
E W Rogers, Oxford
Question: What was the matter over which Satan disputed with Michael in respect of the body of Moses? Can you throw any light on this?
Answer. Jude 9, like many another passage, has drawn from the pens of commentators many strange suggestions: they read too much into what has been written in the inspired text. When Scripture is silent commentators begin guessing with sorry results. We are informed that Satan contended with Michael over the body of Moses but when, and where and why are not disclosed. It is not necessary to assume that Moses' body was required for the purpose of the appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration: that appearance did not inevitably demand the possession of a body. That he did not possess at that time a glorified body is, in all likelihood, the case seeing that he would thereby have had priority in that respect over the Lord Jesus, and it would, seem to contradict Hebrews 11. 40. Nor should we suppose that a manuscript error has occurred and that the person referred to is Joshua, because of a similar phrase in Zech. 3. Such a phrase might well have been used on very many more than even two occasions. It is, I think, best to leave the matter where it is: the great end which the Spirit has in citing this incident is to show the seriousness of speaking evil of dignities (v. 8).