Summary: War in Heaven
The War in Heaven
Revelation 12:7-8, “7Then there was war in heaven. Michael and the angels under his command fought the dragon and his angels. 8And the dragon lost the battle and was forced out of heaven. 9This great dragon--the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world--was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.”
There has been a war in heaven since the fall of Satan (Isaiah 14:2-14; Ezek 28:11-18). Though at the present Satan has access to God’s throne in heaven (vs.10; Job 1,2), Satan’s domain is the earth and the air around the earth. This is why the Word describes him as the “god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4) and that “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2) and his demon hosts as “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). Satan and his minions have actively opposed both the holy angels and God’s people since his fall. In the Old Testament demons sought to hinder the ministry of the holy angles to Israel (Daniel 10:12-13). In the present Satan prowls around like a lion (1st Peter 5:8), opposing the spread of the Gospel (Matthew 13:19,37-39; Acts 13:10), oppressing individuals (Luke 13:10-16; Acts 10:38), and uses sin to disrupt and pollute the church (Acts 5:1-11). Believers are to be wary of his schemes (2 Cor 2:11), give him no opportunity (Eph 4:27), and resist him (James 4:17).
The future conflict with involve Daniel and the dragon which we have identified clearly as Satan. The grammar structure here points to the fact that Satan will start the battle. The Word does not reveal how angles fight nor would we be able to comprehend such a battle. Henry Morris in The Revelation Record points out, “With what weapons and by what tactics this heavenly warfare will be waged is beyond our understanding. Angels cannot be injured or slain with earthly weapons, and such physical forces as we know about are not able to move spiritual beings. But these beings do operate in a physical universe, so there must exist powerful physic-spiritual energies of which we yet can have only vague intimations, energies which can propel angelic bodies at superluminary velocities through space and which can move mountains and change planetary orbits. It is with such energies and powers that this heavenly battle will be waged and the spectators in heaven (including John) will watch in awe. When Michael finally prevails, and Satan is forced forever out of the heavens, a tremendous cry of thanksgiving will resound through the heavens.” This event could be sparked by the Rapture of the church and Satan getting in the way of the raptured believers passing through their realm, the prince of the power of the air and his demon hosts will try to hinder their passage. That may trigger the battle with Michael and the angels.
Michael is always seen as the defender of God’s people against satanic destruction. In Daniel 10 the inspired prophet give and Old Testament example of him in action. A holy angel, dispatched with an answer to Daniel’s answer to prayer (Daniel 10:12), was delayed for three weeks by a powerful demon who was in control of the Persian Empire (Daniel 10:13; vs.20). It was not until “Michael one of the chief princes came to help” him (v.13) that he was able to prevail. Daniel 12:1 also speaks of Michael’s defense of God’s people. The New Testament also speaks of Michael as the defender of God’s people. Jude 9 describes his conflict with Satan over the body of Moses which was after Moses death (Deut 34:5-6). Michael contested Satan for possession of Moses’ body, which Satan apparently wanted to use for some pernicious purpose. In the Lord’s power, Michael and thus Moses was buried in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no ma knows his burial place to this day (Deut 34:6). Significantly though Jude 9 describes Michael as an archangel which the only reference to this is in 1st Thess 4:6 in relation to Jesus. It is possible that the archangel in that passage is Michael and that he is shouting as he confronts Satan’s attempt to interfere with the Rapture.