Comments are off for this post

Study Notes: 20th May 2015

Hebrews 1.14

14 Are they not all divinely authorized spirits being sent out to serve the ones about to inherit salvation?

In the New Testament Michael in mentioned a couple of times.

Firstly he is mentioned in passing by Jude

Jude 8:

[8] In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.

[9] But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

This appears to be a most obscure passage.

The context is of false teachers who had infiltrated the church.

They had no regard for authority, whether earthly or heavenly authorities.

Jude makes the point that these false teachers were very different from Michael, who was supposed to have had a dispute with satan in regards to the body of Moses.

Unfortunately there is no other reference to this in the Bible.

However, we must assume that Jesus is referring to some writing that would have been well known to his readers, especially his Jewish readers.

There have been various suggestions as to what this writing would have been.

W Barclay suggests that it was a book entitled ‘The Assumption of Moses’

It is in this book there is the account of Michael having a dispute with the devil about the body of Moses.

The devil claimed that the body belonged to him, since the body is matter, and all matter was considered to be wicked and evil.

This being the case he regarded all matter as belonging to him.

The devil also claimed that Moses was a murderer, which is true.

Therefore, since the devil is a murderer, the body of Jesus belonged to him.

The point that Jude was making was that within this dispute Michael never spoke against the devil, he never rebuked him.

Instead he said: “The Lord rebuke you.”

What is the relevance of this to us as we study angels?

It would seem that the angels do not have the right, the power, nor the authority to rebuke even the devil, nor his fallen angels.

Therefore, since this is true in regards to angels, it is also true for us.

We need to be very careful about how we speak to others and about others.

This includes what we say about the devil and the fallen angels..

The words of Paul give us the way we should behave when faced with false accusations and false teachings.

Romans 12.17-21

[17] Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

[18] If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

[19] Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

[20] On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

[21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It may seem to be a natural human reaction to take revenge, but if the angels are not permitted to do so, then neither are we.

Furthermore, God’s word commands us not to do so.

The next mention of Michael is in Revelations 12.7, where we read:

[7] And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

[8] But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.

[9] The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

First of all perhaps we need to discover some more about the war in Heaven.

As far as I can gather there are three suggestions:

  1. It has already taken place, before the creation of all things, but after the creation of the angels/.

This view would agree with Isaiah 14.12:

1. How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!  

  1. It is yet to take place, at the end of time

This is an accepted view by many people

However, the problem with this view is that either satan & his fallen angels are still in Heaven, or they invade Heaven for this war.

Neither position seems to me to be acceptable.

  1. It is symbolic of the war that is waged by the kingdom of darkness against the Kingdom of Light.

This position has some merit, since we know that we are in a battle against rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms – Ephesians 2.12.

Personally I take the view that this is a reference to satan being thrown out of Heaven, along with one third of the angels.

That is those who refused to submit to the Father and the Lord Jesus.

Next it is necessary for us to have some understanding of who the dragon is and the names by which he is known.

1 His names.

The dragon is called:

Satan

the devil

the prince of this world

the ruler of the air

the evil one – (this is the description used by Jesus in what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. ‘deliver us from evil’ is better translated as ‘deliver us from the evil one’.)

All these names supply us with information about who satan is, and what he does.

Therefore, we should not be ignorant about him.

Evil has a father, and it is the devil, whom Jesus described as a murderer and a liar:

John 8.44:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Here we see that Jesus tells us that there is a total absence of truth in the devil.

In this passage from Revelation, John tells us that there was war in Heaven, as we have seen.

John would have been familiar with war, since the Romans were brutal oppressors.

It is possible that John may have witnessed the siege and overthrow of Jerusalem, certainly he would have heard about it.

It was a siege in which thousands of its occupants were either starved to death or brutally murdered.

He, himself was a victim of the brutal regime of Rome.

We know that he was transported to the small island of Patmos, where he was used as forced labour in the mines.

In the vision that John is given he saw a war taking place in Heaven, and it was the war of darkness against Light.

From the text it appears that it is Michael, the archangel whom we read about in Daniel, who takes the war to the dragon and his fallen angels.

We often talk about us being attacked by satan, meaning that he carries the war to us.

There are times when this may be true.

However, it is important for us to realize that it was Michael who took the war to satan.

It would appear that satan did not choose the time of battle.

Jesus told Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against him – Matthew 16.18.

This suggests that it is Christians who take the battle to the very gates of hell.

It was the same when Jesus went to the cross; it was not at satan’s time, but at God’s time.

Jesus said: “No one can take My life from Me. I lay down My life voluntarily” – John 10.18 (NLT).

It is good for us to remember that satan can only engage us in battle in the timing of Jesus.

Jesus went into the wilderness under the direction of the Holy Spirit – to be tempted by the devil.

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, took the fight to the devil, just as He did on the cross.

In the vision that was given to John, he was seeing the same things that Daniel saw.

This affirms that there is coming a time when there will be another war, which will be at Armageddon, when Jesus will defeat satan, the dragon, and all his angels and followers.

 

Comments are closed.

Corona Virus (COVID-19) Update

Great news - We have reopened our church building for short services on a Sunday morning at 10.45am. You are very welcome to join us, however it is vitally important you let us know if you are coming either by email to helen@thebridgebaptistchurch.co.uk or by sending a text to 07586 564995. A copy of our safety guidelines will be given to anyone who hasn't already received one. Please be aware that face coverings must be worn.