At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people— everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered (Daniel 12:1).
THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL (12:7-9). Michael means “like God.” War breaks out in heaven. It appears the Archangel and his angels start the war, since the Dragon and his angels fought back. The objective of this war is to cast the forces of evil out of heaven and to the earth. Angels are capable of being captured and confined by chains and prisons like people (Daniel 10:13-21; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6-7; Revelation 9:11, 14; 20:1-10). The Great Dragon’s forces were not strong enough; they lost their place in heaven, and they were hurled to the earth. That is good news for heaven; bad news for the earth!
Could this be the same war as the one in heaven at Satan’s fall (Isaiah 14:12-14; Luke 10:18)? Certainly, Satan has led the whole world astray to the present and he will intensify his efforts during the Tribulation (Revelation 13:14; 20:3; John 8:44) and after the Millennium (Revelation 20:8-10).
THE SONG OF THE LOUD VOICE (12:10-12). This voice could be all heaven in one accord rejoicing over the victory won by Michael and his angels. Never again will Satan cross the threshold of Heaven. The voice announces seven things:
1. Salvation and power and the Kingdom of God has come
2. The authority of God’s Christ
3. The accuser has been hurled down
4. Martyrs have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and their testimony
5. Woe to the earth and sea
6. The Devil’s fury
7. The Devil knows his time is short
THE DRAGON PURSUES ISRAEL (12:13-16). The Devil knows that he has 1,260 days or three and one half years to be loose before being confined to the Abyss. He pursues Israel but she is given the two wings of a great eagle so she might fly to Petra, where God will take care of her for three and one half years.
What or who are the two wings of a great eagle? Reaching safety may involve God’s miraculous power or human instruments. After Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, God reminded the people, saying:
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself (Exodus 19:4).
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and either Pharaoh Psammetichus or Hophra of Egypt are called great eagles with powerful wings (Ezekiel 17:3, 7). Is it possible modern Egypt and Iraq (Assyria and Babylon) will help Israel to reach Petra?
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance” (Isaiah 19:23-25).
These two nations are going to be blessed in the kingdom for an important reason—God promises in the Abrahamic Covenant: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).
TWO MOUTHS. Mouth appears sixteen times in Revelation. The water like a river/flood might be evil propaganda against the Jews issuing from the Devil’s mouth. It could be the Antichrist’s armies in pursuit of Israel. Jeremiah 46:8 uses similar imagery:
Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers of surging waters. She says, “I will rise and cover the earth; I will destroy cities and their people.”
The earth could open its mouth and swallow the armies of the Antichrist as it did Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16:29-35).
THE REMNANT (12:17) is the fifth personage in this parenthesis. Whatever happens will not keep Satan from making war against the rest of her offspring. Those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus are either tribulations saints not martyred or the remnant of Jews scattered in the other nations. In Christ all saints are offspring of God’s covenants with Israel (Romans 11:13-24).
Historicists identify the war in heaven as the time of Christianity’s conflict with heathenism in the days of Emperor Julian the Apostate (A.D. 361-363). The two wings of the great eagle given to protect the Church are the Western and Eastern divisions of the Roman Empire.
Preterists suggest the Archangel Michael is Christ and the death of Christ did not finish Satan but ended his career as an accuser of the brethren. If Satan is cast to the earth, he cannot accuse the saints before God any longer. The two wings of the great eagle stand for the escape of Judean Church from the Edomite and Roman invasions during the Jewish Wars. This church did escape to Pella in A.D. 66. The river or flood is the Devil’s campaigns against the Church.
Idealists believe the woman’s flight into the desert (where she is sustained for 1,260 days) speaks of God’s care of the Church throughout this age. The river from the Dragon’s mouth is either the peoples of the world or a stream of lies, delusion, religions, etc. The earth opening its mouth symbolically is seen as the saving of the Church from the dangers of deceit and false religions.