Saturday 29 September 2018

Bible Book:

… Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. (v. 7-8)

Revelation 12:7-12 Saturday 29 September 2018

Psalm: Psalm 103



For churches that commemorate saints as examples of faith for our emulation, today has significance as the feast of Michael and all angels. Whilst the word 'angel' is the same word as 'messenger', the Bible in its consistency with the beliefs of its time, has references to angels as supernatural beings, even if they appear in human form, delivering God’s messages especially at key points in the development of the whole salvation story.

Michael, understood as a chief angel or archangel first appears in the Bible in Daniel 10:21 as Israel’s heavenly champion, but here his role relates to a heavenly battle on a cosmic scale.

The book of Revelation sets out to reveal the significance of present time events in the light of God’s overall plan for the universe, which will be completely fulfilled when Christ comes again. It is written in a style that uses vivid and sometimes bizarre visual symbolism akin to modern fantasy dramas, and is carefully structured in eight acts of seven scenes each; this passage is one scene from the fourth act. The book’s purpose is to encourage a group of churches in seven towns of Asia Minor in a time of persecution, including seeking to help them overcome evil forces within themselves.

 The 'dragon' is stated in v. 9 to be symbolic of the 'ancient serpent' (see Genesis 3:1-5), also called the Devil and Satan. Thrown out of heaven, along with the angels that support him, after being defeated by Michael’s forces, the dragon now harries earth and seeks to deceive its inhabitants, as explained in later scenes. It is generally true to say of Revelation’s visions that they portray ongoing struggles rather than particular events that can be dated in time. However, one event in time, the birth and subsequent death and resurrection of Jesus, is depicted in the previous scene to this and is closely linked to it. Therefore, this passage supports the view that Satan has been overthrown by the ministry of Jesus and, whilst tempting the followers of Jesus to forsake their faith, his days are numbered. The shout of triumph from heaven (v. 10-12), one of a number that interrupt the darker scenes in this book, ends with just such a statement.


To Ponder

  • Some people today claim to have met angels with messages from God. Do you, or anyone you know, have such stories to tell? Others are sceptical as to whether angels exist at all. Where do you stand?
  • The serpent tempted Eve in the garden in a story intended to strike chords with the experience of each of us. When and how have you felt tempted to do something you knew to be wrong by a force that felt to be beyond yourself?
  • In similar vein, do you have experience that might be described as overcoming the Devil by “the blood of the Lamb” (Jesus) or “the word of testimony” (v. 11)?
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