Summary: War in heaven with the dragon
I have mentioned from the pulpit on different occasions that I get upset about people that give the impression--overtly or in a subtle way--that they are going to take on Satan or his demons. I have heard stories from years ago about preachers dressing up in army fatigues and making a whole lot of noise about "battling Satan", "binding Satan", and "rebuking Satan".
Satan is not to be trifled with. On the contrary, "the battle is the Lord's" (1 Samuel 17:47; 2 Chronicles 20:15). There is, around us at this very moment, a battle going on between God's forces of good and Satan's forces of evil. These are invisible forces (for the most part), and fight with powers and forces we do not understand and in a realm that we don't understand as well. For you or me to say we are going to "take on Satan" is foolish at best, and extremely dangerous at worst. To do so would be likened to a tugboat playing chicken with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan! Instead, scripture tells us to resist Satan.
As we have noted in the past, the Revelation of Jesus Christ is perhaps the most difficult of all books in the canon of Scripture to interpret and teach. However, it promises blessing to those that read and hear it, and one of the great blessings is that we learn great Bible doctrines from the study. One such thing is that although Satan's forces are alive, well and active today they will ramp up the battle during the end times. Why? Two reasons; hatred and frustration.
We know that Satan hates human beings--unsaved and saved--but has a particularly fierce hatred for God's people. That would be Christians, and the nation of Israel. In addition, Satan gets frustrated because he is the ultimate loser and God wannabe; he knows he is going to lose but for some reason is under the delusion that he can win the battle against God.
This week, we are going to see that throughout the time from the Garden of Eden to the current age, the battles that have been going on are mere skirmishes; the real war in the spiritual realm is yet to occur.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. Revelation 12:7-8 (NKJV)
Michael: Archangel, Warrior, Protector
Two weeks ago we saw the "playbill" of characters in Revelation Chapters 12 and 13; today we see the next key character, Michael. The name Michael means "who is as or like God?" (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary); Michael is identified as an archangel (Jude 9), the great prince (Daniel 12:1) and "having special charge of the nation of Israel" (Unger's). Michael is the only one described as an archangel; Gabriel (Daniel 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26) may well be an archangel is not specifically named as such.
In chapter 10, Daniel had a vision that greatly upset the prophet. Daniel did not eat or bathe for three weeks, and was set in prayer during that time. After three weeks, a man appeared, and by the description would have been an angel. Since Gabriel had spoken to Daniel before (Daniel chapters 8 and 9), he was probably the angel speaking to Daniel. This angel stated that he had been delayed as he was opposed by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia", a reference to a fallen angel or demon that was in charge of demonic activity in Persia. But then look what happened: ...and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia (Daniel 10:13b, NKJV). Michael is the "Warrior Angel".
Daniel 12:1 shows Michael in another role in which he is assigned: "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book (Daniel 12:1, NKJV). We learn two important things from this passage: Michael is the overseer/protector of Israel, and will protect specifically those of Israel whose names are written in the book (Lamb's book of life), meaning those Jews that come to faith in Jesus Christ.
However, one other thing that we learn is that God does not allow Michael to deal with Satan specifically until the Tribulation Period: Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 1:9, NKJV). During a dispute concerning Moses body (buried by the Lord in an unknown location), Michael did not deal with Satan but said "The Lord rebuke you!"; in short, we are to leave the "rebuking of Satan" up to God. We are, however, to resist the devil; James wrote "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NKJV); if you are submitting to God then you can adequately resist Satan and he will flee from you.