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When war broke out in heaven
“Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.”
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9.
The beginning of the story
Long ago, before the earth was formed, there were no people, only innumerable angels in heaven, who ministered and served God. Among them was Lucifer, a cherub (a winged angel) who was “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” (Ezekiel 28:12.) He had an important task in heaven, and many looked up to him. But over time, he began to think that perhaps he could gain something from this honor; maybe he could even become greater than God. (Isaiah 14:13.)
With these thoughts of greatness in his heart, he drew other angels to himself who also wanted to gain something for themselves instead of offering all honor to God. (Revelation 12:7.) Later, Lucifer (now known as Satan) also set about to deceive human beings, to draw them away from God and into his own way of pride and destruction. He succeeded in this quest at his first attempt, deceiving Adam and Eve by appealing to their sense of pride, wanting to have the same ability to discern between good and evil as God Himself. Then Satan established himself as an accuser of mankind, and from the day he tempted Adam and Eve until the day Jesus died on the cross, he both roamed the earth and came before God’s throne in heaven to accuse people. Even the law that God gave to His people to guide them in His ways gave Satan grounds for his accusations, since no one could keep all the law without sinning. (Job 1:7; Romans 3:20.)
However, when Jesus came to earth as a man, He never sinned – not even once! (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15.) Death had no power over him, because the wages of sin is death and it can only have a hold on someone who has committed sin. (Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23.) Jesus made a way through His flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit and completely overcame sin in the flesh in every point. By dying on the cross, He paid the price for us and made a way so that we can also follow Him. His resurrection from the dead demonstrated His eternal triumph over Satan, sin and death. Jesus had now become an Advocate for those who want to follow Him on the same way through the flesh!
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So war broke out in heaven
Because of Jesus’ tremendous sacrifice and His triumph over Satan, there was no longer any place for the accuser in heaven. Therefore, a war broke out in heaven. The archangel Michael and his angels fought against Satan and his followers. Now there was no room or reason for division in heaven – it was a day of decision! Now God could throw Satan to the earth, along with those angels who had followed him and rebelled against God. (Revelation 12:7-9.)
This event happened long ago, but it still has great significance for us today. The battle between pride and humility is the thread that runs through the history of all humanity.
Satan is still active on earth today, as are all those angels who were cast out of heaven. They are what the Bible calls the spiritual hosts of wickedness, and their mission is to destroy as many lives as possible. (Ephesians 6:12; John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:8.) They do this is by using the only tool that they understand – pride, which is egotism; living for myself above all else. By nature, we are drawn to seek our own interests. Satan is a master at using what we are attracted to – our weaknesses – to try to convince us that we will be happy when we get what we want. He even tries to convince us that our actions will be justified if we get our “rights,” even if we must hurt or destroy others in the process.
But as long as there are people on the earth who love God above all else, Satan cannot be completely victorious. And those who still resist Satan have one tremendous weapon to use against him. Satan and his hosts are full of a spirit of pride. They have absolutely no understanding of the value of being humble!
The power of humility
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, … being found in appearance as a man, … humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:5,8.
Jesus always humbled Himself! In Philippians 2:2-3 we clearly read how He lived His life by showing mercy, being full of love, doing nothing through selfish ambition or conceit, and esteeming others better than Himself. He left us a clear example of how to use our bodies to be well-pleasing to God.
It is not natural for us to humble ourselves because we have all been tainted by egotism to a degree. But we read in God’s word that if we humble ourselves under His mighty hand, then God will also give us grace and exalt us in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6.) Jesus showed us that when we are committed to going down, acknowledging our sin, and asking God for help, that is actually how we become great! He came as a servant and He became our Savior with a name above every name. He showed us that when we commit ourselves to obeying God at the cost of everything of self, then God righteously and richly rewards us for our faithfulness! This is extremely powerful, because this attitude of humbling yourself is completely contrary to Satan’s high-mindedness.
Choose the winning side!
In this great battle that is being waged between Satan (pride) and Jesus (humility), we all get to choose which side we will be on. We can either use our bodies to serve God or to serve Satan and his hosts. Therefore, the choices we make in our daily situations actually have eternal significance! It says in the Bible that the Holy Spirit and the flesh are contrary to each other. (Galatians 5:17.) The lusts in our flesh, which are what Satan uses to tempt us, want us to live for ourselves. (James 1:14.) In a spirit of pride, our flesh claims that it knows best and that God is a lie.
However, the Spirit prompts us to do God’s will – to deny our own lusts and to live for Him. He works in us to give up our own selfish desires and to make sacrifices to bless the others. He leads us to go against our feelings and to do what we know is right. He urges us to humble ourselves and to let God free us from selfishness and sin. Then, step by step, we become free from all the pride that dwells in us.
The choices we make in our circumstances – both the simple, everyday ones and the big, difficult ones – have tremendous significance in this great battle between pride and humility! If we are faithful to continue on this way down, then we are examples of people who are going on the same way Jesus did – the way of humility. May there be many who choose this way in this great battle!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.