Home » Sunday: The Battle in Heaven    


Sunday: The Battle in Heaven — 19 Comments

  1. There is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine right now and while it is affecting millions of people in that part of the world, here in Australia we are largely isolated from its tragedies and effects. It occupies space in the news media from time to time and the war is given as the reason why our fuel prices are so high. (Fact check: they were high before the war started) But, the sad reality is that we can largely ignore the war in Australia.

    The conflict between good and evil can be considered a battle that took place a long time ago and in a place far away, but that ignores the fact that we are still participants in this battle. There is no "other side of the world" for us in this fight; no place to hide from it.

    The big problem for us who believe this battle is real is: How do we interact with those who believe there is no conflict?

    I will come back to this idea often because, while it is easy to convince ourselves, the fundamental challenge for us is how do we communicate these ideas to others?

    • That is a good question Isaac.

      How long were Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall? The war in heaven might have happened after creation, sparked by leadership dynamics. e.g. what colour should the grass be? 😉 We make educated guesses that it was the next week, but there’s no specific timeframe given in the Bible. There’s nothing to indicate whether it was days, weeks, months or years. It may have been 100 years. They didn’t age. Everything was perfect. Did they have children after God told them to “be fruitful and multiply”? We don’t know. Was Eve there during the first Sabbath? There is much that we do not know.

    • Hello, Isaac. A number of people have already weighed in on the answer to your question, and I tend to agree with all of them, but my perspective is that the answer is: Both.

      I understand that, before the creation of this world, the one then called Lucifer sought to exalt himself above his proper station, and persuaded somewhere between one-third and half of the other angels to sympathize with his cause. When disaffection had ripened into active revolt, the one now called Satan, with his followers, was expelled from residing in heaven.

      However, I believe that Revelation 12:7-9 has a deeper meaning as well. When Jesus was going to the cross, He meekly submitted to all of the outrageous treatment that Satan and his followers could throw at Him. And when He died without failing or retaliating in any way, Jesus prevailed in permanently destroying Satan's influence among the unfallen inhabitants of the universe. In the first chapters of Job, we see Satan brazenly appearing at a heavenly council, claiming to represent Planet Earth. But, since he was cast down at the cross, his activities are effectively limited to working on deceiving the inhabitants of Earth. He and his angels have now been fully cast down to the earth.

      That's how I see it.

    • Revelation 12: 7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
      12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth:

      12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
      12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

      This battle actually has two phases, verses 7 and 4 describe the beginning of the battle in heaven, before creation. We know it was before creation, because he was already very much a deceptive devil when he appeared at the tree of knowledge of good and evil, to share his knowledge of evil with Eve.

      He had already gained success with one third of the heavenly angels who were influenced by the dragon (then a high ranking beautiful angel) insinuating that God's laws were too restrictive, and God wasn't fair with them. He wanted to be equal with God! (See Isaiah 14:13-14)

      This brought doubts into heaven. Even though Satan and one third of the angels were cast out, the questions he planted into the minds of angels didn't totally go away.
      We see in the book of Job, that Satan still had access to the councils of heaven where he would appear to flaunt his victory over people, and continue his accusations against God's justice.

      But at the cross, that changed. All doubts lingering in unfallen minds were completely and eternally erased. The horrific evidence was that Satan would stoop to torture and kill his Creator. No longer did he have access to heaven.

      Jesus declared just before His crucifixion

      John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me

      This corresponds with

      Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

      At the cross, Satan was defeated. Salvation was available for all who accepted Christ and the cleansing blood of justification.
      In Desire of Ages we read

      Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. . ...The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken.
      Yet Satan was not then destroyed... for the sake of man, Satan's existence must be continued. Man as well as angels must see the contrast between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness. He must choose whom he will serve. {DA 761.3}

      Angels were fully convinced that setting aside God's law ended in terrible degradation for the ones doing so. But not yet mankind, they are not yet convinced that setting aside God's law and following after their own desires has terrible natural results. They still tended to believe Satan's lies that God's laws restricted their pursuit for happiness and success.

      Not till all are fully convinced that sin is the enemy to happiness, peace, goodness and life, will God permanently blot out all sin from the universe.

      And as the lesson tells us --
      God has given us a choice!
      He has opened heaven's door for eternal life and happiness for us, but it is our choice.

    • Hello Isaac,

      I think reading Revelation 12 in its context would answer your question. The scene described by John is full of symbolism. Here is a synopsis:

      Revelation 12:1-3. Two signs appear in heaven. The woman and the dragon.
      Revelation 12:4. The dragon threw a third of stars to the earth and stands before the woman to devour her child. It is at this point, the symbolism of the story plays out on the earth.
      Revelation 12:5. Her child is born, who is the Christ and is “caught up to God and his throne.”
      Revelation 12:6. The woman is provided with safe haven in the wilderness.
      Revelation 12:7-8. There is a battle in heaven between two forces: those of Michael and of the dragon. The dragon and his forces are expelled from heaven at this point.

      From this description, it is clear that the dragon is expelled from heaven, that is, the presence of God and his throne, which occurs after Christ's crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to the throne of God. Before this event occurred, the dragon had access to both heaven and earth. After this event, he no longer had access to heaven. So the dragon was cast out of heaven after creation.

      Hope this answers your question.

      • Hi, Richard. Thank you for laying it out in that way. Nevertheless, I'm not sure that your reasoning quite works, concerning the timing of the dragon's expulsion. If the Waldensians retreating to the mountains is the most obvious fulfillment of the woman being provided safe haven in the wilderness, then that took place long after the cross of Calvary. So, it seems to me that the events recorded in Revelation 12 are not strictly chronological.

        I certainly concur with your conclusion that the dragon was fully expelled from heaven at the time when Jesus died on the cross. From that point on, there was no use in his trying to influence any of the heavenly intelligences. Nevertheless, as recorded in Luke 10:18, Satan had already previously been thrown out of heaven.

        "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

        This is why I believe that Revelation 12:7-8 was fulfilled in two stages, and that Revelation 12 is not entirely chronological.

        I hope this helps.

      • Hello RG,

        Thanks for the comment. I was reading Revelation 1:1-3:

        The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. (NASB1995, emphasis mine)

        These words indicate that Revelation was very relevant to readers in John’s time because a blessing is pronounced to those who read it, “for the time is near.” Further, Revelation 22:10 indicates the book is not sealed, that is, it is not only relevant to those in John’s time, but directly applicable to their lives, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”

        Just wondering how the Waldensians figure into the first and second century AD reader’s apocalyptic understanding, because Waldensians seem very much out of the context of the passage.

        I appreciate this opportunity to think things through in context so I can give a credible answer to those who might question my line of reasoning.

        My thanks as always for your thoughts and comments.


        • Thank you, Richard. To my mind, the historicist approach to interpreting Revelation is the only way to see it without major twisting and distortion of the text. In other words, its predictions cover all the way from John's day to the restoration of the earth at the end of 1,000 years after the 2nd Coming of Christ. Certainly, the Waldensians fit right into that period of time.

          From that standpoint, Revelation's fulfilment did indeed begin soon, from the time of John's writing. For the time when everything will be fulfilled to be "soon," I suppose we might have to consider 2 Peter 3:8. If, in Matthew 24, Jesus blended His prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 together with His end-time prophecies, in order to go easy on His disciples who probably weren't prepared to think about thousands more years of the present evil age, then He may have testified in a similar way through John in the book of Revelation. But, from where we are today, it's a lot easier for us grasp the length of time involved.

          Just some thoughts.

        • Hello RG,

          I agree that Revelation provides a lens for revealing the work of the Dragon in human history; hence, the repeated words of the True Witness to all the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” This appears to be an ongoing discovery process ever since John published the revelation of Jesus Christ that Christians of all ages have used through the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

          As human history evolves, the words of Revelation continue to have relevance to Christians that will extend to the end of time. For this reason, present truth cannot fossilize in one particular age without imperiling the work and existence of the church as it journeys to its future.

          Thanks again.


    • Isaac,

      I am a firm believer that it happened after creation.

      First, Genesis 1:1 only mentions the Spirit of God being present on earth at creation and no one else.

      Secondly, Ezekiel 28: 12 - 13 details Lucifer's presence in Eden with all his beauty. Sin consequentially occurred afterwards.

  2. I think the casting out of the devil happened before creation but the Bible may not be specific on that. We don’t know how long after creation Adam and Eve met the serpent but presumably it was fairly quickly suggesting the devil existed at Creation.

  3. Isaac, we know without speculation that Satan was cast to this earth after being cast out of heaven. Revelation 12:9. And we know he presented himself as a serpent after Creation. Genesis 3:1-6.

    Inspiration given Ellen G. White gives me the belief that Satan was cast out of heaven before creation, when Satan devised a plan to go against God's government. Part of his plan was to deceive Eve, disguised as a serpent. What remorse they must have had! We are also told that, before their fall, they were warned of Satan and his dangers. You can read all for yourself from the book 'Patriarchs and Prophets' at egwwritings.org. I like to access the book 'Patriarchs and Prophets' from the app on my android, 'EGW writings 2.' Read the 3rd chapter.

  4. After the creation of this earth. Lucifer was cast out of Heaven and was cast down to this earth. Rev.12:7-9. Therefore, the earth had to be created before he could be cast down to it. Then, not very long after that, he appeared in the garden of Eden to tempt Eve.

  5. Oh how I love this comment section, and I am enlightened by the comments of the many contributors. But I do wonder why we put so much emphasis on the three angels' messages when there are actually four angels. See Revelation 18:1-5: "For I saw another angel…"


  6. "Created in the image of God, we as humans can make moral choices. The power of choice is closely aligned with the ability to love. If you take away the power of choice, you destroy the ability to love, for love can never be forced or coerced. Love is an expression of free will."

    What a powerful thought! How amazing, how liberating! That explains a lot of why we choose what we choose! We are slaves of ourselves when we do not comprehend the love of God for us! Once understanding this love, even just a bit of it, anything can be possible through us!

  7. The fact that sin began in heaven tells us that God values freedom of choice very highly. He allowed sin, rather than removing the freedom of choice. Those were the two options. You allow freedom of choice and get sin and all this devastation, or, you don't allow freedom of choice so you can stop sin.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>