There are three theaters of battle: the earth, the inner man, and the realm of angels. The greatest impact is from the inner man.
The “inner man” is a biblical term as referenced in Eph 3:16 – “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. .” It has to do with our mind, our heart, and our spirit; the ethereal land of refection, conscience, and will; the seat of our identity and determination. This was the driving force for the “war in heaven.”
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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.” (Rev. 12:7-9)
Convergence was in the inner-man, the spiritual world. Pride, pettiness, cowardice, lust, and the like proceeded from the mouths of men and moved events against Jesus. Jesus kept the good will of the Father. All virtues of mind and heart were alive in Him – righteousness without sin. He was called upon to bear the malice of sin against Himself while maintaining love. It was in the plan of God these internal forces should engage. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. . .” (Acts2:23) The war in heaven materialized through an event which occurred in the earth. The driving force of men’s sinfulness met the goodness of God in the Christ. When Jesus was crucified the, struggle for the world’s salvation was fully waged. Externally there were lashes, nails, thorns, a cross, mocking, contempt, a quiet endurance, words of blessing and comfort, words of a man suffering, words called out to God in hope, and a declaration. The externals were witnessed with eyes and ears. This was a battle displayed on earth. Internally, there was temptation to come down from the cross; to use His power for Himself. The constant pressure of pain and humiliation was on the mind of Christ to turn from the Father’s will. God’s desire was that such agony should be borne for the sake of true mediation and redemption. Had Jesus turned away, all would have been lost.
How did Michael and his angels come into play? They are depicted fighting with the Dragon and his angels. The Bible does not clearly explain the interaction between the world of angels and men. It says some things, but not all can be understood. And we must be wary lest we be guilty of “. . . intruding into those things which he hath not seen. . .” (Col.2:18) We do know they are ministering spirits “ . . sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. .” (Heb.1:14) Perhaps their part in the battle was that of ministering to Jesus strength from the Father. Some of their strength may have come from Jesus’ love. However it may have been, the keeping of determination was Jesus’ and Jesus’ alone. He wasn’t used by the angels, and the Father didn’t pull His strings. The angels success in the battle was only because Jesus submitted Himself to His Father’s will.
The Bible makes clear what the war in heaven was all about. It can be easily understood by looking at the spoils of battle; “. . . 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. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev.12:10-11) Thus the field of battle was the spiritual dimension,”heaven”. . . not the dwelling place of God, but the dimension in which we all have a place. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. . .” (Eph. 2:6) Satan was deposed from his position of being the accuser. It is as simple as that.
There is no greater battle than what was waged on Calvary. The question of our meaning in life, the vanquishing of death, the power of redemption, reconciliation, the resurrection, the Judgment, the world to come . . . all of these things and more hinged on the obedience and love of the Good Shepherd who laid down His life to take it up again. Armageddon is small potatoes compared to what has already been done for us.
The pattern for Armageddon’s battle has been established on Golgotha.