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Michael Archangel, Reporting
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
A Holy Week Monologue
Guido Reni, "The Archangel Michael Defeating Satan" (1635), Santa Maria della Concezione de Cappuccini, Rome, Italy, oil on canvas, 202x293 cm. Depicting Revelation 12:7. Larger image.
Michael Archangel here. Sometimes people refer to me as The Archangel Michael -- either is okay. I'm in charge of security for the Kingdom of God, commanding hundreds of battalions of warrior angels, the heavenly host. Pretty heavy responsibility, especially when critical battles rage on earth and in the spirit-world.
I've been asked to share with you about those crucial days -- Thursday through Sunday of Holy Week. Much is still classified, but here are the basics.
Thursday, Jesus meets with his disciples in the Upper Room. We have angels posted inside and out. He partakes of Passover with them, and then begins the practice that Christians have come to call the Lord's Supper.
During the meal, Judas leaves. We have known for some time that he has been compromised. His inherent greed has clashed with Jesus' basic generosity and grace on numerous occasions, and he sees that there is no advantage to be gained here. So Judas extracts money from Jesus' enemies in exchange for providing intelligence on the Master's whereabouts, so he can be captured at a time when there are no crowds to protect him.
After he leaves the meal, we track Judas's journey to his contact on the chief priest's staff, relaying that Jesus and his disciples will retire to the Garden of Gethsemane later that evening. This triggers deployment of temple guards to make the long-awaited arrest. We've been watching, and have stationed thousands of troops in the Garden, unseen, but we are there in force.
To the Garden
Jesus adjourns the Passover supper with a hymn, and proceeds with his disciples to the Garden. We go on high alert as Jesus and his men enter.
He asks his disciples to pray, then takes the inner circle -- Peter, James, and John -- further into the Garden. Then he goes further still, kneels down, and prays.
I hesitate to share what happens next, but much of it has become public knowledge anyway. Jesus engages in an intense dialog with his Father.
"Abba, Father. Anything is possible with you. Even changing our long-laid plans. So I ask you to remove this cup, this destiny, from me."
There is a long pause. Jesus is kneeling, sweat rolling off him like drops of blood. He listens for the Father's reply. Then we can hear him whisper, "Okay. Not my will but yours be done. You know what you're doing!"
In the meantime, the temple guard and some of the chief priest's functionaries are led by Judas into the Garden. They carry torches -- a dozen or two armed men at most. No problem. We're ready, awaiting orders to defend the Son, who is our charge.
Judas approaches Jesus. Nearby angels spring to intervene, but receive no order to do more, and hold back. Judas now kisses Jesus. The kiss is a predetermined signal to the temple guards to move in. We should be striking, defending right now! But our specific instructions are not to move without a direct order. So we wait in anguish, watching events as they unfold.
Peter doesn't wait. He pulls a sword and starts slashing, but is quickly disarmed by the guards. Then Jesus says something that surprises me, since he discloses classified operational details.
"Put your sword back into its place, Peter. Don't you know that I can call to my Father and he will instantly unleash 10,000 angels? But if I were to do that, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled?"
I am dumbfounded. Against my better judgment, I signal the troops to stand down. I've heard my orders, but I don't understand. Not at all!
Trial and Crucifixion
The soldiers arrest Jesus, and the next day parade him before chief priests, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod, and Pilate again.
You know what happens. The Son of God is brutally flogged within an inch of his life. My troops have surrounded the Roman barracks, tears flowing down our cheeks. We possess overwhelming force. Any moment we can rescue him and put down his captors, but we are forbidden to act -- still totally unaware of the reason.
Jesus is marched up the hill outside Jerusalem, Golgotha, the "place of the skull. " Here he is crucified. I'm beside myself. Here I am, chief of security, watching them pound nails into the hands and feet of the Son of God himself. My troops are here too -- in force -- but we must just stand and watch, stunned. We have explicit orders to forbear. WHAT IS GOING ON?!
On the Cross
Jesus' cross is hoisted to a vertical position and he is left to die by slow torture. Severely beaten, he can't last long. He is fading.
We hear him speak. "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing." Well, we don't know what the Father is doing either. We are shocked. Angry. Frustrated. All our training is urging us to take immediate defensive action. But we are angels under orders, and pride ourselves on our discipline. We weep, but don't move a muscle.
Hours pass. One of the others crucified that day asks to be with Jesus "when he comes into his kingdom." Jesus promises him in a weak but sure voice, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." What? The Son never lies. How can this be? What is the plan? We haven't been briefed!
It is dark now, though only midday -- a sign of the Father's sadness, I'm sure. We watch as the Son of God struggles to breathe. Finally, he whispers, "It is finished!" Then he summons all his strength and shouts out in a raspy voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
His chin drops to his chest. The Son of God is dead.
A Flurry of Commands
Suddenly, orders begin to come quickly from on high, one after another!
Tear the curtain of the temple "from top to bottom," we are commanded. We're on it. Angels rip the curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. Now anyone can access the very presence of God. Amazing! Who could have anticipated this?
Next, earthquake. Shake the earth, break the rocks around Jerusalem. Cracks appear in buildings, in the wall. People are crouching in fear. Awestruck, the centurion in command says, "Surely this was the Son of God!" Yeah! We could have told him that!
Next, we get orders to open the graves of devout believers, some of whom that have been dead for centuries. My angels comply, and suddenly the Almighty's resurrection power hits the bones, the decaying bodies. They rise, now whole, and begin to walk around the city, causing terror and consternation.
Earthquakes? Long-dead saints? What is happening? What is happening, indeed?
Humans can't see it, but our intelligence network is now alive with reports that Satan's high-ranking leaders -- principalities and powers around the world -- are suddenly disarmed, plundered of weapons they would never lay down voluntarily. Somehow, what has happened on the cross this day has shaken the spirit-world. Nothing is the same. Suddenly, Satan's forces have been stripped of their power.
My intelligence analysts gradually surmise what is happening. The clues have been there, but we couldn't figure it out -- and neither could the enemies' spies. Maybe that's why it was kept so secret until now. My team reminds me of two important facts:
- John the Baptist has pointed to Jesus and prophesied: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
- Jesus has declared, "The Son of Man came ... to give his life a ransom for many."
Oh! I get it! The cross serves as a kind of sacrificial altar in the cosmic scope of things. Jesus is the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He makes atonement for their sins on that very cross. The Son of God's life in exchange for that of mere men. And his death, his shed blood, is a kind of ransom paid to set free the slaves. All of them!
How could I have missed it? In one fell swoop, the Father and Son have released all the sin-prisoners Satan holds captive. Shackles are broken, bonds are cut, gross sin is wiped away as if it never happened. Now the prisoners are free to walk away. All they need is faith enough to stand up and walk towards the Son. They're all free! Suddenly! Amazing!
Paul later explains: "None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." Hey, if we warrior angels had understood this, we wouldn't have second-guessed our command to stand down when Jesus is arrested and crucified!
No wonder it is a secret! Satan thinks he has won by crucifying the Son of God, but by the same act -- in a kind of spiritual jujitsu -- Satan's treachery brings about his own defeat! Incredible!
I doubt that Satan really understands this for a few days. He knows his forces have been weakened, yes. But it isn't until Sunday morning -- when Jesus rises from the dead and walks out of the Garden tomb into the Father's bright new world -- that Satan realizes he has been tricked. Too late. Much too late.
Still on High Alert
Of course, we warrior angels are active to this day. After all, their hate and envy still cause Satan and his demons to hurt and deceive and destroy. But they know it is only a matter of time. So we're still there to fight them every day, every skirmish around the world. And we post a protection detail on every believer 24/7, ready to defend every man, woman, and child in our care.
Yes, we're here and will be until the day when the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God and his Christ. On that day, Christ will return and throw Satan to his final doom. But in the meantime, we're on the job. Michael Archangel here, at your service.
Of course, this story is a work of fiction. But it is based on the teaching of Scripture, especially the Gospel narratives, and Mark 10:45; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 2:8; Colossians 2:15; and Revelation 12:7.
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