Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Mutiny in Heaven

B) Conflict

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. 
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 12:7-10

The War in Heaven

In The Revelation, the war in heaven is recorded after the rapture of the Church.  In my posts, the war in heaven appears immediately after the introduction to the book because the war in heaven happened long before The Church even began to exist.

In 12:3 we will be introduced to the red dragon.  However, first, here, in 12:7 we are taken back into pre-history, to an incident that happened in the heavens, perhaps among the stars in space, before humankind came along;  (here it helps to imagine the Star Wars series).  Michael and his angels fought against the red dragon.

The dragon and his angels (33 percent of the stars (angels) of heaven) lost the war and their place in heaven.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them onto the earth. 12:4.  

This thought takes us directly to Ezekiel 28:13-17, where God said to Satan, You were in Eden, the garden of God; …“You were the anointed cherub; You were on the holy mountain of God;…You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.…And you sinned; …and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, …“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;… I cast you to the ground.

This reminds us of Isaiah 14:12-15, How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol.

Some say that this passage in Ezekiel refers only to the King of Tyre, and the passage in Isaiah makes reference only to the king of Babylon.  However, based on Revelation 12:7-9 it is easy to see a second, much deeper, meaning in these two passages, namely, the fall of Satan from heaven.

Joy in Heaven

    It was after Christ had ascended to heaven that John heard a loud voice in heaven, making this announcement, Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
    Later in our studies, we will find that John actually went into heaven.  If you want proof before we get there, see 4:1-3.

  Satan lost the first battle and fell from heaven, and that is where The Revelation 12:7 resumes the account and that is when 12:8 takes on meaning, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. No longer, John says, may Satan enter God's presence to accuse the brethren.  

   We recall from Job 1:1, in the Old Testament, that Satan came to Jehovah to accuse a man that was perfect and upright, and one who feared God and turned aside from evil. 

That was before Christ took His royal seat at the right and of Jehovah.  After that, Satan's evil work is limited to the earth.  He is the prince of the power of the air. Eph. 2:2.  He will do his best to destroy the righteous woman (Israel) and her offspring (the Church).  We will have much more about this picture later.

After Satan was cast out of heaven he can no longer accuse the brethren.  Now we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1

If ever there was any doubt in the mind of any heavenly creatures which side was going to win the war in heaven, (read: the war in space), that doubt was put to rest when Christ took His place at the Father’s right hand. The acclamation of victory rings clear; Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! 12:10-12

   To get a more complete picture of this whole idea I suggest the science fiction book by C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent PlanetIt is very good Christian reading for those who like science fiction.

The angel associates himself with humankind by saying the accuser of our brethren.  Here, “our brethren” seems to imply, that it is a number of angels that speak. Cambridge commentary.  Therefore, we should think of the angels only as fellow servants, not as beings to be worshiped or addressed in prayer, as some do.

  However, many commentaries do not believe that the words our brethren refers to angels.  Because angels are not the brothers of humans.  Those commentaries argue that the words our brethren refers to the Christians who have already gone to heaven.  Those same commentaries also believe that Christians "go to heaven" when they die.  However, that teaching is not to be found in the Bible.

   Here is one argument against that teaching.  Christ said, In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2.  Christ, speaking in the future tense, said I go to prepare a place for you.  With that in mind the question can be asked, Where, in heaven, did the Old Testament saints go when they died.  The rooms in heaven were not ready yet!   

   Most Christians will not be resurrected until the second coming of Christ which will happen after the great tribulation.  We will get back to these points later on in our studies.

On the Side

An interesting observation is that both the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses say the angel, Michael, is really Christ.  However, by way of contradicting themselves, they do admit that Christ is superior to an angel.

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