Battle of the Angels

Angels - church ceiling

This week on Thursday we honour the three archangels named in Scripture: Michael (in Daniel, Jude and Revelation), Gabriel (in Daniel and Luke), and Raphael (in Tobit).  In Scripture we are told they deliver messages to various people. In the case of Michael, they act as a leader to the heavenly host in their battle against evil. No matter whether they relay God’s will or act as an instrument for divine providence, angels represent a conduit between heaven and earth.

Revelation is a book in the Bible written from within St John’s close circle of disciples.  It contains the author’s vision of Heaven but should be understood to be a product of its time, written to give hope to the Church in a period of persecution and prophesying the downfall of the Roman Empire.  It uses figurative language, symbols, visions and picturesque descriptions of the struggle between good and evil.  Chapter 12:7-12 tells about a war in heaven when Michael and his angels took on the dragon.  The dragon and his “angels” were part of the heavenly court but acted only in their own interests.  The dragon created divisions within the court and drove a wedge between loyal subjects and God. By creating discord in the heavenly court, the dragon hoped to eventually topple God in a coup de tat. The dragon’s devious intrigue gave him the name “Deceiver.”

The heavenly battle ejected the dragon and his angels from the divine realm and hurled them to earth. We are told this had two results. First, the angels and saints in heaven rejoiced, for the one who had sown so much discord was now gone. Second, however, the Evil One and his minion now acted on earth in the lives of people. The seeds of hatred, doubt, and selfishness were spread among the populace.  Jesus Himself taught that earth was the devil’s domain.

With Diabolos (the ancient Satan serpent) gone, the heavenly faithful could cry praise to the Lamb and the sacrifice he made for the saints. They defeated the devil with the “Blood of the Lamb” as a weapon. His death on the cross made the victory over the dragon possible.

As heavenly beings, angels serve both God and humanity. They carry God’s message and will to us. They intercede on our behalf. Like the saints, they bring God closer to us and us closer to our Maker.

How do these figures inspire you?


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