What does Revelation 12:7 mean?
ESV: Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,
NIV: Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
NASB: And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,
CSB: Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought,
NLT: Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels.
KJV: And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Verse Commentary:
In this verse we read about a war that breaks out in heaven. Michael, called "the archangel" in Jude 1:9, and his angels fight against the dragon, Satan, and the dragon and his angels fight back. The Hebrew name Miyka'el is formed as a question: "who is like God?" Michael appears in Scripture as the defender of holiness and all that is good.

Satan is the fourth of seven key individuals listed in this passage: this verse refers to Satan as "the dragon," which is further clarified in verse 9. Satan appears in Scripture as the perpetrator of evil and everything opposed to God. Ephesians 2:2 refers to him as "the prince of the power of the air." We can readily understand why conflict between Michael and Satan breaks out in heaven.

The conflict between good and evil rages today, as Satan attacks believers (1 Peter 5:8). Using trials and temptations, he tries to render believers spiritually ineffective. Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 12:7 a thorn in his flesh, some kind of severe personal trial, which he calls "a messenger of Satan." Ephesians 6:10–12 reminds us that we are engaged in a vicious warfare with the Devil and his demonic followers.
Verse Context:
Revelation 12:7–12 describes a war in heaven which breaks out between Michael and his angels and the Devil. Prior to this expulsion, the Devil has access to heaven, where he accuses believers. Job 1 confirms this fact. However, he cannot prevail in his war on Christ and His followers. Genesis 3:15 prophesies his violent opposition to the virgin-born Son of God, and Revelation 20:1–10 reveals his ultimate defeat and eternal punishment. Revelation 13 unveils the Devil's two henchmen, the beast and the false prophet, who assist him in persecuting Israel.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter relates several highly symbolic visions, which introduce figures critical to the end times. First is a woman, representative of Israel. Second is a red dragon, identified with Satan. Third is a male child, who is Jesus Christ. The red dragon seeks to devour the woman's male child, but God caught the child to His throne, referring to the ascension of Jesus after His resurrection. The passage then continues to describe a war in heaven between Michael and Satan—here Satan becomes the fourth key figure—which results in Satan's complete and total eviction from heaven. Satan attempts to destroy Israel, most likely through an armed invasion, which is supernaturally defeated by God through an earthquake. The fifth main figure is the collective ''offspring'' of the woman. These events are given further details in passages such as Ezekiel chapter 38.
Chapter Context:
Preceding verses have brought us to the middle of the tribulation, after the seal judgments and very near the end of the trumpet judgments. Now, the focus shifts to symbolically introduce a series of important figures. These are mentioned in various eras, not as part of the earlier chronology of Revelation. This passage relates to Matthew 24:15–26 and Isaiah 16:1–4. Ezekiel 38 and Joel 1 describe an invasion into Israel from the north, and Revelation 9 identifies the invading army as demon inspired. Revelation 13 continues to describe major end-times figures, focusing on ''the beast,'' also known as the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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