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Michael And The Dragon
We have been noticing that revelation in the Greek is apokalupsis which simply means to uncover. This is what the book of Revelation is about, uncovering. And it goes without saying, there are marvelous wonders of Jesus Christ being uncovered in that book of signs and symbols. For that matter this applies to all scripture. There are mysteries to be uncovered and known in every verse of scripture. This uncovering, this apocalypse, is what takes place when the substance of a thing is exposed that had been hidden inside a menial form, such as words written upon stone, parchment, or paper. For instance, As Eugene Peterson (author of The Message Bible) wrote: "Imagine a pot of stew on a stove. A person enters the house and becomes aware of rich aromas coming from the kitchen. The smells are inviting. He guesses at some of the ingredients. He asks others in the house what is in the pot and gets different opinions. The cook doesn’t seem to be anywhere around. Finally, everyone troops into the kitchen. One of the company takes the lid from the pot; they all crowd close and peer into it. Uncovered, the stew with all its ingredients is exposed to the eye: Apocalypse! What was guessed at is now known in detail and becomes food for a hearty meal." (Reversed Thunder, Pg. 19).
This has been the same with all scripture, especially with the book of Revelation. However, a genuine apocalypse hasn’t been the norm. People over the ages have entered the household of religion, and upon reading or hearing searing sermons on this concluding pot of stew of the Bible, various and sundry smells, speculations, and imaginations have been instilled into the minds of millions. Some have smelled frightful aromas of the four horsemen, the mark of the Beast, the false prophet, Babylon the great, Armageddon, stars falling from the heavens, massive hailstones, locusts with the stings of scorpions, plagues, a bottomless pit, a lake of fire, writhing bodies in eternal torment, ad infinitum. That which many smell from this apocalyptic pot of stew is the invidious fumes of burning flesh and molten sulfur. These odors and projected images of terror and calamity have greatly influenced the thinking of Christians throughout the ages, causing the book of Revelation to be grossly misunderstood, misinterpreted, and terribly misrepresented.
Others have been called to greater enlightenment, and they discern this is a hearty pot of stew. They smell something much differently than most of the world. To them it has a delectable, very savory aroma, and as they read the verses of the prophecy of this book, the lid is lifted from where the aroma is coming. The reality of what has been simmering for centuries is discovered. It is revealed to those who smell the sweet fragrance of Life rather than pungent odors of death.
Now that there has been an apocalypse of the contents of the vessel(s), Jesus Christ, He can be eaten. By eating His substance, of course, we become one with Him in a new and living way. It is then that we are able to not only reveal the substance by the spoken and written word, but we become the manifested word to the world.
The ages are full of instances when anointed words lost their substance. They once resounded as thunder from on high; but after being written they often suffered the same fate of death as Adam and Eve after they were written in the earth as a man and a woman.
The Jews knew the scriptures, especially the leaders; but they didn’t hear the voice of God flowing from them. They memorized them. They tied them to their foreheads and arms (phylacteries). They revered the scriptures. They also found them to be useful tools to control every detail of everyone’s life. The words were read, memorized, and studied, but not heard. The scriptures had become a book of the dead to be used rather than a means by which to hear the voice of God. When it came time to see, touch, feel, and hear the Word to whom the scriptures testified, the leaders refused Him; for their eyes were holden (restrained) from seeing who He was (Luke 24:16). In their religious zeal, they separated the written word from the spirit of the word, and in their blindness became twice dead and plucked up. Someone said, "Ink became their embalming fluid," and it has continued to this day.
Instead of being able to lift the lid from the scriptures’ pot of stew, men saw only the letter of the word by man’s religious mind. This surface perception presents a problem with Biblical teachings. Things are taken too literal rather than seeing them in the light of the Spirit. In order to know anything as we ought, there has to be an apocalypse.
Tradition has been a major factor on how the scriptures are read and perceived. During the dark-ages the religious leaders were extremely traditional, and their doctrines played well with the people who were fearful, superstitious, and believed all kinds of fables and fairy tales. A prime example of one of those fables is the devil of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy Inferno (Dante’s Inferno). And much of what that disgruntled poet wrote was carried over from the dark-ages and kept intact until now. Most Bible teachers have not had an apocalypse of the scriptures, or at least not to a large degree, and especially not in the area of the devil, judgment, hell, and the lake of fire. Therefore, rather than seeing as those things are, the veil remains and they continue having images that will someday have to be cast down.
I truly believe that although the soul of every child of God has been quickened by His Spirit, the mind of the immature understands but only a small amount of the things that pertain to the vast and marvelous realm of the Spirit in which we were born. Even with ourselves, we had been like Israel when reading the Scriptures. A dark veil had been over our spiritual eyes at times, and we were limited to that which our carnal minds could interpret rather than seeing things as He sees them.
Revelation by the Spirit carries us beyond what the natural mind can grasp. When we read any chapter or verse in the Bible, if we understand it with our natural mind alone, then we have failed to discover/uncover/reveal the true meaning which lies hidden beneath the lid of the pot of stew. If we fail to see any truth beyond that which is obvious to the natural mind, then we have not been touched by the Spirit of revelation. If that which we understand is not a living apocalypse of truth, it is the letter that kills.
There are countless examples of understanding the scriptures by the natural mind versus understanding them by the Spirit of revelation, but we will only notice one or two at this time. Heaven is one such subject that is sorely misunderstood and is in need of being noticed. Pinned to the minds of many professing Christians reside images of a natural heaven. Their life-long pursuit is to go to that heaven ‘after they die’ and escape the fires of hell. There are various ways of trying to insure that they see this hope come to pass; namely, by faith, confession, works, belonging to the right church, believing certain doctrines. Moreover, the fear of being eternally damned is quite a motivating factor that keeps the congregation’s numbers up.
So, you really want to go to heaven, do you? If you believe heaven is the way it is generally taught, it might be good to be reminded of what Peter said about it: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the*heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the **elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Peter 3:10. [*heavens: Greek, ouranos and perhaps comes from oros through the idea of elevation, by implication happiness, such as, "We’ve been in heaven since getting married last week."] [**elements: G4747 stoicheion; something orderly in arrangement. From G4748 stoicheo; to arrange in regular line; to march in (military) rank (keep step). (Strong’s Exh. Conc.)]
If the heavens are burned up and pass away, and you are in heaven, then you will likewise be burned up and pass away. John saw it this way: "...heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together." Revelation 6:14. With the natural concept of heaven, we can see a graphic picture: Everyone is frolicking around in a lush garden, some perhaps in or about their mansions, others are sauntering down golden streets, and they all hear a deep rumble as the ground begins to quake. They look toward the horizon and they can’t believe their eyes. It is like huge tidal wave moving toward them and rolling the entire landscape into something like a giant jelly roll. Of course, such a thought is absurd; but if these things are taken literally and carried to the end, this is an example of what could be concluded. Notwithstanding, with the heavens ablaze and being rolled up like a scroll, do you still want to go to heaven?
Those heavens that Peter wrote about which would pass away were the ones of the Jews prior to A.D. 70. Those heavens were their religious authority and power over the lives of the people, and the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, wrote about the signs seen over Jerusalem just prior to their demise.
"Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius [Jyar], a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, 'Let us remove hence.'" (The Works of Josephus: The War of the Jews, Book 6, Chapter 5, Section 3). Thus the heavens passing away with a great noise.
What was going on in the heavens was being manifested in Jerusalem’s earth. All her works, her pompous hierarchy, and her religious practices passed away. Her world, her heaven and earth, was burned up. The authority, power, and the works of Israel were destroyed that day in the heavens, and whatsoever came to pass in that realm of authority came to pass in their earth. As the heavenly host of chariots and troops destroyed the city and Temple in the heavenly realm, the city and Temple were destroyed in the earthly realm.
Jesus said something about this spiritual law to Peter, and it still applies: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:19. Or more accurately: Whatsoever you bind on earth will have been already bound in heaven, and whatsoever you bind on earth will have been already bound in heaven." And The Amplified: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven" with the footnote: "The perfect passive participle, here referring to a state of having been already forbidden [or permitted]."(Charles B. Williams), author of Williams New Testament.
Whether it is a loosening or a binding of powers on earth, it can’t be done unless it is first done by the power from God’s throne from where all power comes, and it is in this heaven the man child, the sons of God, are caught up and made ready for war.
Michael And The Dragon
"And there appeared another*wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne. 7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" Revelation 12:3-5, 7-9.Some believe that this is speaking of Jesus and Mary, His resurrection, and ascension. It is also believed that this is an account of Satan and his hoard of evil angels having been cast out of heaven before the dawn of man. I do not hold to any of these assertions, and especially not the story of Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven thousands of years ago (The Lucifer Question free upon request). Is it not clear that the entire book of Revelation is a prophecy? It is a herald of future events which must come hereafter. It is not a historical account of Jesus of Nazareth. These future events and entities were given to John as signs that were to be revealed in due season. For each sign there is an ordained apocalypse, one of which is Michael.
[*wonder: Greek, semeion; All other places in this book, semeion is translated ‘sign.’ The other places in the N.T. is the same except for when it is ‘miracle(s).’ The root, semaino, is translated ‘signify, signifying, or signified’ as in Acts 25:27, John 21:19, and Rev. 1:1.]
Michael has been thought to be one of God’s two archangels with Gabriel being the other; but there is no place in the Bible that suggests that Gabriel is or ever was an archangel. He is identified as a man of God in the four references of him in the Bible, three of which are:
"...The man *Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, Daniel 9:21 ,"...and the angel (messenger) answering said unto him, I am Gabriel (a man of God or from God), that stands in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings." Luke 1:19, "And in the sixth month the angel (messenger) Gabriel (the man of God) was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph..." Luke 1:26.
[*Gabriel = "man of God" (Thayer’s & Strong’s).]
Have you ever stood in the presence of God? Could it be said of you that you are a man of God? And have you ever received a message from God and then sent by Him to deliver it? If the answers are ‘yes,’ you would fit the description and could be called ‘gabriel.’ This would be the same as declaring with authority from whom and from where you had been sent. It is like delivering a mandate from a king with his seal embossed upon it. Therefore, it is not so important to know the messenger’s personal name that his mom and dad gave him at birth as it is to know from whom and where he is sent. That is what gives the messenger his authority. Of course, if it is God who bestows the name, as he did in naming Jesus, it will tell those to whom he is sent the nature, character, authority, and power of the man.
This surely applies as well to those who have passed on to the other side of the veil, and if so, they are likewise sent with messages from God; therefore, those angels would be called gabriels, men of God. When the angel/messenger that was sent from God to Daniel, Mary, and Zacharias whether from this side of the veil or the other, the personal name, Gabriel, would not have been nearly as powerful as the seal of God that declared from where he came and by whose authority he spoke. So gabriel was an identifying factor of the messenger and his credentials of authority.
Regardless whether it is Gabriel or gabriel, one thing is certain, the scriptures say nothing about him being an archangel. It is strange that so much has been built upon there being two archangels, Michael and Gabriel, when there are only two places in the Bible where the word is used. One is in Jude 1:9 when the archangel Michael contended with Satan for the*body of Moses. The other is in reference to Jesus, and He is identified as the archangel:"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel...." 1 Thessalonians 4:16. He is not imitating the archangel, HE IS THE ARCHANGEL!
[*It is well known within Christianity that there is a body of Christ; however, what is not so well known is there was also a body of Moses. Paul declared this fundamental principle by saying that Israel was "baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:1, 2 ) This indicates that the people of Israel who were of the Old Covenant were the body of Moses in the same manner that the people of Christ who are baptized into Him and are of the New Covenant are the Body of Christ.]
Archangel has a very simple meaning, and when it is translated properly the air begins to clear considerably. The word is a transliteration from the Greek. A transliteration is a word that is not translated from an original language, but it is changed in spelling and pronunciation but usually retains a similar sound. In reality, it is a made up word that has no real meaning until someone gives it a definition which may or may not be accurate to the original word. The word archangel comes from the Greek word archaggelos which is a compound word of archo and aggelos. Archo is a word that means to be first or chief in rank or power, and aggelos is the Greek word for messenger, and the transliteration, angel, is used in most English Bibles.
With archo meaning to be first presents a problem with popular beliefs. How do you suppose there can be two angels that rank first? We have all heard, I am sure, the expression, "Too many chiefs but not enough Indians, "which is to say that nothing is getting done due to too many "heads" having too many different opinions about a matter.
But this is not all; it is taught by many that there were three archangels at one time with the third having been Satan before he was kicked out of heaven. Such a notion is ridiculous. Can you imagine a nation having two or three kings or presidents? Daniel makes it clear that there is only one who is the first: "...And lo, Michael, first of the chief heads, hath come in to help me..." and "...Michael, the great head, who is standing up for the sons of thy people...." Daniel 10:13 & 12:1 (Young’s Literal Translation). The footnote for Michael in these verses of The Geneva Study Bible has this: "Even though God could by one angel destroy all the world, yet to assure his children of his love he sends forth double power, even Michael, that is, Christ Jesus the head of angels." And Wesley’s Notes: "Michael here is commonly supposed to mean Christ."
The question is, if by definition there is only one archangel, how can these two verses speak of two? Frankly, they don’t; for the one who shouts with the voice of the archangel is the Lord Himself who is like God, and the one who contended with Satan over the body of Moses is the archangel, Michael, who is like God; namely, Jesus Christ! You may question how this could be? Did Jesus bless people and contend against the devil before he was born the son of God? Surely so; for before He was conceived by His Father and born of a woman, He came to Abraham as Melchisedec, the Prince of Salem, meaning peace. This was an epiphany. He had not yet been born, therefore, He had no father nor mother, no beginning of days nor end of days. We can now see why our priesthood is after the order of Melchisedec. Melchisedec was Jesus, and this is the priesthood order of Jesus Christ to which we have been called.
If He could appear as a man to Abraham, He could certainly contend with Satan before He put on His earthly body. (Sorry, there is neither space nor time to address this point. Hopefully, at another time.)
Since Michael is one of the signs in this apocalyptic book, it would be good to know the meaning of His name, which would reveal much. Michael is a Hebrew name which means "who is like God." This is no secret, many know this. Although it could be said that anyone born of God is like God; but with Michael being the First, the Head, the Chief, the Archangel, what name comes to mind with this one who is like God? JESUS CHRIST, of course! Hebrews 1:3 also says that He (Jesus) was the expression of His (the Father’s) person! It Michael is a Hebrew name which means "who is like God." It should be clear that it is impossible for there to be more than one archangel.
Since Michael is symbolic of Jesus and the heavens are contained within His people, then the context of this war takes on somewhat of a change. That change being, He and His angels/messengers (aggelos) are in a war that first pertains directly to us. Therefore, not only are there certain individual messengers of Him, but in verse five they are called male sons and these are the ones who war with Satan and his messengers. There are at least two realms of messengers (possibly three, depending on whether we want to include demons). They are messengers which are inwardly and outwardly. Those outwardly are people who are motivated and moved according to the spirit of God or Satan. (There may be spirit beings that have never taken on a human body as well. That remains a mystery.)
The realm within would consist of spiritual messengers that are the warriors of this monumental war in our own lives. On one hand they would be the spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, rebuking, binding, loosening, etc, with the Sprit of Christ being their power. On the other hand there would be the spirit of religion, depression, worry, fear, anger, hatred, murder, envy, strife, greed, lust, perversion—or to sum it up—all the evil and negative thoughts and spirits of the human mind. Jesus is the Lord over the holy things in this heaven of our minds (figuratively the air), and Satan is the lord over the unholy. These are the "angels" that are engaged in war.
We can see in the above verses of Revelation 1-5 that the man child (male son, huios Grk.) was born where the dragon stood and still stands, which was before the woman who appeared as a sign in heaven. The man Jesus was born on the earth by a natural woman of the earth. The birth of the male son of many members takes place where the signs of the woman and the dragon appear, which is clearly in the second heaven. This is a spiritual birth of mature sons of God, and since they are birthed in heaven and caught up to God their Father and His throne, what heaven do you suppose that would be? The third heaven, of course, the one to which Paul was caught up and saw things so high that they were unlawful (impossible) to be uttered in the earth. It is from this third heaven that all power and authority comes. It is by the supreme authority and power of God in the third heaven that Michael and His brethren war with the dragon and his angels. This is the realm of the soul. It is this heaven wherein Satan has power to temp a man with the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. It is also here that the mind of the man is steeped in the letter of the word by the father of lies. However, with the power of the higher heaven, the sons of God bind in heaven this tempter and teacher of lies along with his messengers and cast them out. They cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. That carnal realm of our soulish heavens is burned up and passes away with a great noise.
When victory is known in that heaven, it will also be known in the earth of every son of God, and also corporately. This war and victory is in both the corporate body of Christ and in each individual. It is then, my friend, that we will walk as manifested sons of God in the earth. For that which is loosed in heaven is loosed in the earth. What an apocalypse of Jesus Christ!
This is not the power of a gift from the Holy Spirit. It is the embodied power of God! It is not something He gives us then can be taken back. It is our life, His life! The life and power that was in Jesus becomes ours in fullness without measure.
Revelation 12 is a chapter that speaks of our warfare together with Jesus who was our forerunner. He gained victory over the devil, the great red dragon, that old serpent that He fought in the wilderness. He cast him and his angels from the heaven of his soul. He cleaned His house from one end to the other. What a victorious example for us! He raised the bar and set it in the heavens forever! And together with Him, our one and only Archangel, we will also clean His corporate house that we are. He demonstrated it in type when he cleared the Temple of the animals and money changers.
Therefore, let us not only count on the same war when we are caught up in the Spirit to God and His throne, but victory as well! We will be overcomers in every sphere of the heavens! Our natural man would love to overcome without conflict; but the truth is, there can be no overcoming without conflict. By definition, the words victory and overcome implies struggle against opposition. No one can have victory without war. There must be something to conquer to have victory of any kind. As long as we are moving and having our being in our religious thoughts, dead doctrines, dogmas, isms, schisms, creeds, or in nothing but our daily affairs of life, and in everything under the sun, we will have no problem at all with the devil. We will have nothing to overcome. There will be no war waged against us if we are one with the nominal religious orders of the world.
It is when we are born and caught up to God and His throne that we break the barriers of the heavens. It is then that we meet with terrible opposition. Until then, we encounter nothing more than what the rest of the world does on a daily basis. Some of it is good and some of it is evil. There is tribulation in that world, and no one has to be told about it or schooled in that arena of life and death. Every one knows about it by experience; but this is not the overcoming we read about in the book of Revelation. This overcoming is first and foremost by the absolute power and immutable authority of Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, and the supreme Head of His Melchisedec priesthood. He is the life and overcoming power in His body that is but for a little while obscurely housed in the most holy place of His Temple, reserved for His appointed apocalypse and made ready for war in heaven!
To be continued...
Elwin R. Roach
Note: I wrote in our previous article, #211.09, that the Jesuit priest, Emmanuel Lacunza, was the origin of Dispensationalism and the Rapture teachings that he taught in his book, The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty (1812). However, we now find that there was a Baptist minister, Morgan Edwards, who wrote around 1772 his essay, Two Academical Exercises on Subjects Bearing the following Titles; Millennium, Last-Novelties. My thanks goes to Evangelist John L. Bray who was kind enough to send me a copy of his newsletter, Biblical Perspectives (March 1, 2009 edition) which contained this insightful information.
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