by Rev. Dr. Dennis J. Goff
Each year on September 29, the church remembers the minor festival known as St. Michael and All Angels day. The 29th day of September is closest to the first Sunday following the autumnal equinox. From now until the following March when the spring equinox occurs, the hours of darkness each day exceed the hours of light.
Speaking of the hours and days of darkness, this month also marks another remembrance for us. Sept. 11, 2011, marks the tenth anniversary of a terrorist attack on this nation. It cast a dark shadow over our country that still lingers with the ongoing threat of a terrorist invasion. The forces of darkness affect us on a spiritual front as well as a national front.
Paul makes it clear that the forces of evil still exist in this world. How does Paul describe those forces (Eph. 6:12)?
While Osama bin Laden may have been viewed as our nation’s chief enemy, we read in the Book of Revelation who our real enemy is. What role did the archangel Michael play in the defeat of this enemy? See Rev. 12:7–9.
Ultimately Michael’s participation in this battle is overshadowed by Christ. How does John describe Christ’s role in defeat of Satan and the spiritual forces of darkness (Rev. 12:10–12)?
Because Peter tells us that our enemy, the devil, “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), God provides an army of angels to assist the people of God. What role do angels play in the lives of believers today? See Heb. 1:14 and Ps. 91:11.
As we consider the number of military personnel that are activated to assist our nation, these numbers cannot compare to the number of angels God charges to assist the people of God. How does Scripture quantify the number of angels among us (Heb. 12:22; Is. 6:3; Matt. 26:53)?
On one occasion, the king of Syria went to kill the prophet Elisha. “Horses and chariots and a great army” (2 Kings 6:14) were sent against Elisha. The Syrians believed that Elisha was all alone, but what did the Lord reveal to Elisha (2 Kings 6:16) and to the Syrians (2 Kings 6:17)?
Because angels work on behalf of God and according to His power, the mere numbers of angels are not what dictate their force. What was one angel able to accomplish against larger forces (2 Kings 19:35; Luke 22:43; Acts 5:19)?
While we live in a world where there are spiritual and other forces of darkness all around us, we nevertheless live confidently as the people of God who are blessed with the ministering of God’s holy angels in our lives. Furthermore, we trust in the triumphant victory of Christ who destroyed the darkness of sin and death in our lives.
> St. Michael is mentioned by name in the Books of Daniel, Jude and Revelation.
About the Author: The Rev. Dr. Dennis J. Goff is Senior Pastor at Family of Christ Lutheran Church, Ham Lake, Minn.