WAR IN HEAVEN
"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. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Rev. 12:7-9).
At first glance, and with the old doctrine of Satan losing a pre-adamic war in outer space, one could mistakenly conclude that verse four of this chapter is saying the same thing as verses seven through nine. But are they?
We should first recall, the book of revelation was written of FUTURE events that were to take place from the time of its writing, rather than of eons past. If we will also notice, verse four tells us SATAN is the one who is casting the stars of heaven to the earth, while the other verses speak of Satan himself being cast out along with his angels, and the ones casting them out are MICHAEL and His angels. You see, in one we have Satan doing the casting out, and with the other it is Michael who is doing the casting out. What we have then is two entirely different prophetic events. This being the case, it is essential for every Christian to know what is being said here. Since this war is in heaven and is fought by an army of "angels," some might think there is no reason to be too concerned about such things, being that heaven is out there some where and we can read that the good guys eventually win. But dear saintly stars of God, when we realize the heaven spoken of here is the heavens within our very being, we may have the tendency to stand up and take notice and prepare for the war we have actually been in for quite some time but just haven't known it.
The popular teaching about Satan has him dwelling upon the face of the earth as a result of losing a pre-adamic war in heaven against God, and God having used Michael as His chief captain to accomplished this feat. The above mentioned verses (Rev. 12:4 & 7-9) are the foundational scriptures to support these thoughts. However, when we look a little deeper into the matter, there are too many things that just don't measure up. For instance, if Satan's prison has been the face of this earth for the past 6,000 years or so, How can he be the PRINCE OF THE POWERS OF THE AIR, as mentioned in Eph. 2:2? Or consider this: If the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is some where in outer space, why was the devil able to sow bad seed among the good seed, being that his confinement was supposedly to the earth? And again, if heaven that Jesus spoke of was really somewhere other than upon the earth, why did He say the field of that kingdom of heaven is THE WORLD? The truth of the matter is simply this: heaven or the kingdom of heaven, as spoken of in the Bible, has nothing whatsoever to do with any particular location but has everything to do with the spiritual reality of spiritual things! If we insist on locating heaven to a certain place, then let us understand where that particular place might be in reference to the context of Rev. 12 -- the only place in the universe that it is -- HEAVEN IS IN YOU, dear reader and nowhere else!
Yes indeed, this war in heaven is of the spirit, and "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God." (II Cor. 10:4-5). Although Jesus made it clear, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Lk. 17:20-21), people are still looking "out yonder" somewhere for it. Come on saints, let us submit to losing our natural thinking head so we can take on His mind and begin to see some of these things as they were intended.
Hopefully by now, we are beginning to see what type of book Revelation is. Namely, it is a spiritual and prophetic book that pertains to spiritual and future things (from the time it was written)! Therefore, when we read of Michael and his angels, can we conclude that Michael just might be significant of something? -- that perhaps his name is telling us something we should be aware of? -- and does it in any way reflect upon an entity within ourselves? -- being that this heaven and its war is within. In order to have everything in context with this subject and these questions, it is necessary to back up to Rev. 12:5 and start more at the front.
"And she [the woman in heaven] 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 His throne." (Come on now, let's stop thinking "rapture," for this is not what it is speaking of. We'll cover that topic later on in this series.)
The MAN CHILD should be translated MALE SON (arsen uios, Grk.), which would indicate someone who is MATURE and has the authority and power of his father. This mature son is caught up to the throne of God. Throne, as we see it in the Bible, refers to a realm of authority, and that realm is of the heavens where the war in question is fought. For a couple of points of reference we will notice Acts 7:48-49 and Heb. 12:2: "...The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool," and "...Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Some may say, "That is fine and good, but it sounds like this could just as well be speaking of the natural heavens and not necessarily of the heavens within people." In response, we will only remind ourselves of this: "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places (the heavens, Grk.) in Christ Jesus....He dwelleth with you, but shall be in you....At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you" (Eph. 2:6, Jn. 14:17 & 20). Therefore, we see it as being very clear that wherever the Father is found is where we find Jesus, and wherever Jesus abides is where we will be found, which happens to be IN HEAVEN where THE THRONE OF GOD IS!
Hopefully, we have adequately established in our minds where the heaven is that is spoken of in the book of Revelation. If we have, what follows should be easy enough to grasp.
Satan sits upon the throne of each human being of the entire earth whose father is Adam. However, when we are born of the Spirit of Christ something begins to happen. We begin to mature and become one with the Christ within. He soon takes His rightful position in us, which is the throne of His temple, for He has bought and paid for us with His own blood. Since it is God who sits there, in the form of Christ, and it is He (Jesus) who redeemed us, then our heart is in fact the THRONE OF GOD. This, of course, presents a real problem, for a kingdom can only have one lord, and the one we had previously been serving (Satan) is not going to give up without a battle. This particular battle is spoken of beginning with Rev. 12:7. We will go through these verses with that thought in mind, and by the time we finish, I believe most of you will agree.
MICHAEL, as we mentioned earlier, does have a spiritual significance; that is, since this book of Revelation is one of signs or symbols that points to and describes certain things, so Michael also symbolizes something. Michael is a Hebrew name which means "ONE LIKE GOD." Now, for another question. WHO in all the universe is LIKE GOD?...I can think of none, except JESUS CHRIST who is the EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON! (Heb. 1:3). And also, WHO is the CHIEF MESSENGER of God to all those who are also messengers?...Without contradiction, we must again say, it is JESUS CHRIST!
The word archangel has a very simple meaning, and when it is "translated" properly things begin to clear up considerably . ARCHANGEL 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 decides to give it a definition which may or may not be accurate to the original word. Baptism is a transliterated word which in its original Greek form is baptisma, or baptize is baptizo. The actual word means, "to make whelmed." The word ARCHANGEL comes from the Greek word ARCHAGGELOS which is a combination of two words: ARCHO which means FIRST or CHIEF and AGGELOS which simply means MESSENGER. Now, one more time, WHO is MICHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL? Or to ask it in proper translated form. WHO is THE ONE LIKE GOD WHO IS THE CHIEF MESSENGER? Can there be any other answer than THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?!!! We think not but have no contention with those who may disagree.
If Michael is symbolic of Jesus and the heaven is 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 directly pertains to us. Therefore, not only are certain individuals messengers of Him, but in verse five they are called 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. The other 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, and on the other hand would be the spirit of depression, worry, fear, anger, hatred, envy, strife, greed, lust, perversion -- or to sum it up -- all the evil or negative thoughts of the mind. In this heaven of our minds (figuratively, the air), Jesus is the lord over the first (the positive) and Satan is the lord over the second (the negative). These are the "angels" that fight the war; with Jesus being the prince of every good and prosperous aspect of God's kingdom, while Satan is the prince of every thought and deed that is contrary to God and His purpose.
When this war is won in the realm of the soul by the Spirit and power of our great prince and "archangel," the Lord Jesus Christ, what a shout will be heard (some are already shouting), which will be that of the voice of the archangel (I Thes. 4:16) and from this heaven this proclamation will be declared: "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." (Rev. 12:10).
We will notice, this casting down results in the establishment of the kingdom of God. Therefore, with this alone we can say the war in question is not one of eons past, for His kingdom has never been established as it is stated in this verse. But praise God, we are now beginning to see the war ending in some of the saints and this great kingdom being set up. Although Satan has at times come in like a flood to all who have ascended to the throne of God; but now, when he comes to some he is finding nothing in them, as it was with Jesus, and he is cast out, for there is no foundation anywhere in them for him to hold to. He therefore, winds up in the bottomless pit with nothing to stand on. Before his defeat he and his messengers (whether people or the evils in our minds) had a place (a real homestead) in this heaven, for it says in verse nine, "And [Satan & his messengers] prevailed not; neither was THEIR PLACE found any more in heaven."
The kingdom of God is first rooted within every saint who has won their personal war, and then from there the war can be won outwardly. The ones whose father and captain is Satan can and will be at that time conquered, and the visible kingdom will then be seen in all the earth.
There are many who do not believe they are being moved by the spirit of Satan, but evidence and the written word attest otherwise. Paul said, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey...." (Rom. 6:16). Therefore, if someone is submitting to the pull of their carnal desires, fears, angers, or whatever, then they are being motivated by and are obeying Satan. He is their master, for they have given him place in their heaven to rule over.
Although our attention has been focused on Satan's influence upon Christians, we should not forget that he is the lord of the whole world of people who are not in Christ. He is lord to those who are inhabitants of the world and not of God's kingdom, as Jesus mentioned in Jn. 14:30. Rev. 12:9 has also recorded the magnitude of his influence and tells us of what type of lordship he has over his subjects. It says he is the one who "...deceives the whole world." Now who can say, they are a man of their own making, the captain of their own destiny. that they serve neither God nor the devil? A fool perhaps, because whether it is known or not or whether we like it or not, we are serving one or the other; and when we are drawn by the Spirit and venture to serve God, and Christ takes his place upon the throne, this is when war begins.
Again, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And THEY overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of THEIR testimony; and THEY loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:10-11). Who do we suppose "THEY" are that verse eleven speaks of? THEY ARE THE SAINTS OF GOD and not mystical, winged angels of age-old tradition. For THEY overcame him (SATAN) by the BLOOD OF THE LAMB, and by the WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY, and they loved not THEIR LIVES (souls, Grk.) unto THE DEATH. Neither of these attributes that enabled them to overcome Satan can be attributed to "angels" as it has been traditionally taught. everything here proclaims loudly that the victors of this war are MEN!!! If we will also keep everything tied together in this chapter, and quit spreading it out over the universe and throughout all the eons past and future, we can see the MAN CHILD of verse five, the ANGELS of verse seven, and the OVERCOMERS of verse eleven can be none other than THE SONS OF GOD who by Christ set up the kingdom of God within themselves and finally upon the earth. Verse thirteen also relates to this truthful fact by telling us of the dragon persecuting the woman who brought forth the MAN child (the Grk. omits "child"). It is this MANY MEMEBERED MAN that is referred to as: THEY WHO FEED the woman in the wilderness, the "ANGELS" who war in heaven, the OVERCOMERS who conquered by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony and by not loving their lives unto the death. HE IS THE ONE, who defeats Satan in the heaven of themselves; and because of this his anger is turned to that which brought forth this man whose head and lord is JESUS!
Elwin R. Roach
Tail Of The Dragon
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