Michael is a mighty archangel described in Scripture as commander of God’s heavenly armies. Many of us name upon him each day as a defender and protector. But in what sense does he shield? And what’s the battle actually about?
Scripture describes Michael casting Satan out of heaven (Revelation 12), battling with Satan over the physique of Moses (Jude 9), or battling a spirit described as “the prince of Persia” (Daniel 12).
If angels are religious and immortal beings, what does it even imply for them to “fight”? They can’t be wounded or killed – so how can there be any battle, any victory or defeat?
The actual battleground is over human freedom, and all that’s impacted by our “yes” or “no.” This battle has implications for every one in every of us individually, but in addition cosmic ones – as a result of God makes us his stewards.
Each and each human individual is created in God’s picture and likeness. The devils envy and hate every one in every of us, and relentlessly search to wreck us. But God additionally positioned the complete cosmos beneath human stewardship. God invested us with true authority – an authority the satan has all the time envied and hated. He seeks to steal it away by seduction and lies. He appears to succeed – each with Adam and Eve and with every of us. They and we give away what isn’t his to take. And then he thinks he can maintain us captive.
Enter Jesus as the new Adam. He ushers in the Kingdom of God, the new creation, new heavens and a brand new earth. Those who’re prepared to die with him and rise with him via Faith change into members of his Body. Under his headship, each enemy is positioned beneath his toes, till ultimately even loss of life itself is destroyed (Ephesians 1-2). All this occurs by human company, by the exertion of human freedom – his human freedom, but in addition yours and mine. In due time, our human future is to change into greater than all the angels as we behold God head to head and change into like him (1 John 3).
We are likely to esteem our personal dignity and freedom far lower than God does! He by no means forces us to do something. For that matter, evil spirits can’t power us to do something both. Had Adam mentioned “no” and instructed the satan to go away, the satan would have needed to honor Adam’s God-given authority! The similar holds true for us, although we’d like the energy of Jesus to reclaim and restore that which we have now given away. United with him and in him, we’d like by no means concern evil spirits. Indeed, it’s they who concern us as we shine with restored glory!
When I say that God honors our freedom, that additionally signifies that he permits our freedom to have its penalties. We have been the stewards of this present cosmos, and we failed in our stewardship. Though it nonetheless bears beautiful goodness and sweetness, this cosmos is irreparably broken. The world as we all know it’s passing away.
[NOTE – I am using the original Greek word kosmos, which can be translated either as “world” or “universe”]
Jesus tells us that he got here into this cosmos to not condemn it however to put it aside (John 3:17). He will forged out the satan, the ruler of this cosmos (John 12:31). But in what method? Jesus doesn’t cease us from dying, and he doesn’t cease this universe from coming to its simply demise. His kingdom isn’t of this world – as a result of we the stewards have really ruined it by giving dominion over to the satan. The satan could have his pound of flesh. But the satan has by no means understood love or the new life that springs forth from love.
In his dying and rising and ascending, Jesus crushed the head of the serpent. And he ushered in the new creation. Like his risen physique (or somewhat, AS his physique) this new creation is each the similar and new. We already take part in it! In Christ the head, the battle is finished. It is completed. Love wins. In us the members, the battle continues to be enjoying itself out – we’d like solely give over our freedom!
In the early Church, the Letter to Diognetus taught that we Christians are in the world, however not of the world. In one sense, we stay and act identical to everybody else. But we really stay in a completely completely different dimension! In the 300’s, Gregory of Nyssa noticed that “the foundation of the Church is the creation of a new cosmos.” More just lately, Pope Benedict XVI defined the Ascension of Jesus as opening up a brand new dimension of human existence.
That is the place Michael is available in. He is the mighty guardian of this new creation. He is God’s reply to the satan. His title isn’t a reputation however a menacing query: “WHO IS LIKE GOD??” The satan kinds himself a god, however isn’t. Michael brings God’s Truth and Love to full mild and casts out the satan. All that’s true and good and delightful is resurrected in the new creation. All that’s disordered, all that tends towards wreck or destruction, all that spirals in direction of nothingness – that belongs to the satan, who will in the end be the ruler of nothing.
But again to human freedom. If we would like Michael’s safety, we should select to abide in the new creation, somewhat than cling to this world, which is shortly passing away. That means changing into prepared to die to what’s simple or acquainted and belief in the newness that’s coming. We achieve glimpses and tastes of that newness, however should not but prepared for it in all its fullness.
It is really difficult to abide in the “already but not yet” of Hope. Even now, we possess the Kingdom and already take part in it. But we’re not but able to see God head to head, and never so utterly remodeled as to share in the fullness of the ascended glory of Jesus. We name on Saint Michael many times to defend us in that in-between place, by which we’re nonetheless weak to the assaults of the evil one. Michael willingly and faithfully defends us. He safeguards the area by which develop. however solely we will do the rising!
The extra we change into who we’re, the fewer entry factors the satan even has to try an assault. God’s mild exhibits us the weak spots the place the satan will predictably assault us. We ask Michael’s safety – however we additionally cooperate with Christ to restore these breaches!
Gregory the Great calls the earthly Church “the Dawn” – absolutely and positively ushering in the full mild of Day, however nonetheless combined up with the darkness. We eagerly await the full Day, when Christ will all the time shine, and when Michael’s safety will not be wanted. In the meantime, we interact our journey of change and progress, till Christ turns into all in all.
This publish was initially printed on Abiding in Love and Truth and is reprinted right here with permission.
Image of Saint Michael from St. Spyridon church in Trieste, Italy: Depositphotos.