12-7 The Devil's Angels
This devil-dragon has Angels. The devil's Angels of Matt. 25 describe
those who expect to be in the Kingdom by being justified by their works,
although placing little value on serving others. Such a description fits
the first century Jews well. The other parables of Matt. 25 also
seem relevant to those who felt justified by the Jewish system; the foolish
virgins who thought that they of themselves had enough oil, and the one
talent man who thought he didn't have to do anything with his talent.
We have shown that Angels frequently refer to physical Angels and
also to the often evil men whom they control. Obviously,
some of the actions attributed to the 'Angels' in their human manifestation
are the result of the evil desires of men, not of the Angels; although
overall their actions are used by the Angels behind them to bring about
their will. The Angels associated with the Jewish satan system can
thus represent the Jewish persecutors of the seed of the woman, the early
church, as well as the actual Angels associated with the Law. These Angels
fought with Michael, the great Angel personally representing Jesus, and
His Angels. The idea of Angels fighting has been seen in Daniel, and in
Zech. 1:20,21 (see notes on this in Chapter 11).
The use of the language of physical violence does not necessarily imply
sin or hate. Jesus "spoiled principalities and powers" (the Angels associated
with the Law) and led them away captive in His victory train (Col. 2:15)
when He died on the cross. This is the same battle between Michael and
His Angels and the 'Mosaic' Angels which is described in Rev. 12. The
condemnation of men for worshipping Angels in Col. 2:18 following straight
on from the reference to Angel "principalities and powers" instituting
the Law implies that the Judaizers worshipped Angels in their own right
because of their evident association with the Law. Thus Paul begins his
treatise in Hebrews about the inferiority of the Mosaic system compared
to Christ by stressing the inferiority of the Angels to Christ. These
Mosaic Angels would have been relatively ignorant of the spirit of Christ,
and the church of united Jews and Gentiles made known to the Angels "the
manifold wisdom of God" in the opening of salvation to the Gentiles (Eph.
3:9,10 cp. Rom. 11:33). Similarly "God was manifest in the flesh (of Christ).
. . seen (perceived/ understood) of Angels" (1 Tim. 3:16), as if they
understood more about God through reflecting on Christ's work. We have
seen that the Angels gave the promises and others gave the Law -
it was these two groups that were in 'opposition' in AD70.
Is the mention of a third of all the Angels being associated with the
dragon imply that a third of all Angels were used to institute and run
the Mosaic system? Or does the third being cast down imply that a third
of all Christians were overcome in various ways by the Jewish satan and
therefore 'lost' their Angels? The dragon losing his "place" in Heaven
may refer to his physical position in the court of Heaven- those
Angels were no longer needed in that position
of accusing to God those who failed to keep the Law. Now in Christ "Who
is he that condemneth?" (Rom. 8:34). The increasing intensity of the dragon's
fighting against the woman's seed as he sensed his end was coming perfectlyfits
the situation in the first century context. As the Jews saw the impending
doom of Judaism due to Christianity and the growing Roman intolerance
of their religion , so their persecution of the Christians increased.
However, with the destruction of the temple in AD70 the main persecutors
of the Christians were the Romans as opposed to the Jews.
Rev. 12:6 describes the woman fleeing into the wilderness (the Gentiles?
Ez. 20:35). This would describe the Jewish persecution of the Christians
leading to the scattering of the massive Jerusalem and Judean ecclesias
throughout the Roman world, thus laying the basis for the preaching of
the Gospel to the Gentiles. It would be fitting if that started in earnest
after the destruction of the temple in AD70. The woman was to be fed in
the wilderness for 1,260 days (3« years). This recalls Elijah's experience
of being fed in a wilderness for the same period by the ravens. This experience
was to teach him that the Law was not supreme, seeing that ravens were
an unclean bird and he was led to be dependent on them for his life. This
would fit the context of the Law's supremacy being ended in Rev. 12.
"War in Heaven"
The "war" in Heaven of Rev. 12:7 implies that there was a period of time
in which the Law was thrown out. Presumably this war started at
the crucifixion of Jesus, although in prospect even then He led
the Law-Angels in His victory train, as if the war had been fought
and ended. The casting of the star-Angels of Heaven to the earth
by the dragon / devil's angels in v. 4 is therefore either the same
as or part of the "war in Heaven" of v. 7. Notice how the temple
is often described as Heaven (1 Kings 8:30; 2 Chron. 30:27: Ps.
20:2,6; 11:4; Heb. 7:26; 2 Cor. 12:2); the Star-Angels of Heaven
are therefore further connected with the Mosaic system which was
ended with the temple's destruction in AD70. Jesus described the
judgements on the Jewish system in AD70 as Him coming with the Angel
armies of Heaven to destroy the city. Mat. 24 prophesies His coming
in AD70 with His Angels- implying there were others who were not
to come with Him. These would be the Angels who fought with the
dragon's Angels. 2 Peter 3 makes it clear that as the figurative
Heavens and earth at the time of the flood were destroyed,
so the Mosaic heavens and earth were to be destroyed finally in
AD70. The Angels brought the flood originally, and also brought
about the end of the Mosaic heavens and earth. The Mosaic
"heavens" have a slight reference to the Angels of which the Mosaic
system was a pattern. These Angelic/Mosaic Heavens were to be ended
by other Angels. "The Lord of Sabaoth" (Hosts- of Angels, James
5:4) was to bring the judgements on Jerusalem. James 5:9 may allude
to the Angel standing at the door in Sodom: "The judge standeth
before the door", as if the Angel (the Michael Comforter Angel)
was about to judge Jerusalem. Sodom typifies Jerusalem in Is. 1:10;
Jer. 23:14 etc. Jn. 16:11 describes the Comforter Angel as judging
the Jewish world. Hence "the judge" standing before the door was
this same Angel.