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.