And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,…
Looking at these words from a Christian's point of view, we are reminded by them that whatever else was meant by the war in heaven of which they speak, they, at least, mean for us that the powers of evil have done their utmost to overcome Christ and the powers of good, and have failed — that Christ has proved good to be stronger than evil, and light than darkness. And the high hope is raised that He has done this for the whole universe, for the spirits in every other world-if such there be — as well as for the spirits of us poor men struggling with evil in this. That He has done it for us, is what His gospel tells us. The powers that are for us, we are taught, are greater than the powers that are against us. God the Father is for us. Christ the Son, the express image of His person and character, is for us. The Spirit which communes with our spirit, and stirs up conscience, and keeps it alert against the foe, and helps our weakness, and disturbs and tortures us with remorse when we yield to temptation — this Spirit is for us. All good influences are for us and help us against sin, and these influences begin early, and last while life lasts in some one or more of their manifold shapes — the words of our parents, the little prayers they taught us, the words and example of dear friends that are gone, the softening power of sorrow, the warnings of sickness and pain, the calm, peaceful face of the just man, the turbid complexion, the restless eye, and repulsive look of the wicked, the influence of a familiar friend, the influence of a good book, the influence of the best of books, the blessings of thought and labour, and of duty done, the power of prayer and communion with God, the power which words of truth, of charity, of wisdom have over us, the pleasure we draw from beauty, whether in poetry, in painting, or in music — these, and ten thousand other influences with which all of us may, in one way or other, surround ourselves, are all of them so many ministering angels which fight under Christ's banner on our side against that which is false and evil, and for that which is good and true — and all proclaim a victory won elsewhere for good, which shall in the end be a victory here too — complete and final over evil. There is another spiritual and eternal truth here. We are told the good angels conquered the bad angels and their leader, and drove them out. Now, again, whatever we may choose to say of this account, at least it suggests a very plain and wholesome lesson. When we think of angels at all, we may imagine that the great difference between us and them is that they are strong and we are weak; but this festival warns us that this is not so. The great difference between us and them is, that they are obedient, and we are disobedient; they are humble, and we are proud. All other differences lie in that. The strong good angels beat the strong bad angels, because the one were obedient to God's laws, the others were rebellious against them. Michael overcame the dragon, because Michael was God's champion, and the dragon was his own. The one depended upon God, the other depended on himself. We may call this a story, an allegory, still there is an abiding truth in it. Say, for a moment, it is a story, then this is the moral of the tale. Obedience is strength; disobedience ensures defeat. In science, in knowledge, in conduct, in religion, obedience, humility, and trust in God, are qualities without which no discoveries are made, no advance accomplished, no virtue attained, no holiness perfected. They are qualities without which our characters are poor and weak, our ways unstable, and our thoughts and desires mainly selfish.
(John Congreve, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,