The War in Heaven

The “war in heaven” is a representation of the war in Rome, described in Book 4 of the Wars of the Jews, where Vespasian sends Mucianus {Michael;} to fight Vitellius {the dragon;} and becomes emperor:

“…and besides what troubles there were under Vitellius, and the fight that was about the capitol; as also how Antonius Primus and Mucianus slew Vitellius, and his German legions, and thereby put an end to that civil war; – I have omitted to give an exact account of them, because… they are described by a great number of Greek and Roman authors; yet… I have just touched upon every thing briefly. Wherefore Vespasian put off at first his expedition against Jerusalem, and stood waiting whither the empire would be transferred after the death of Nero. Moreover, when he heard that Galba was made emperor, he attempted nothing till he also should send him some directions about the war: however, he sent his son Titus to him… but as they were sailing… they heard that Galba was slain… After whom Otho took the government… but Titus, by a Divine impulse, sailed back from Greece to Syria, and came in great haste to Cesarea, to his father. And now they were both in suspense about the public affairs, the Roman empire being then in a fluctuating condition, and did not go on with their expedition against the Jews, but thought that to make any attack upon foreigners was now unseasonable, on account of the solicitude they were in for their own country.…”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 4, 9:2

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. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 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.”

– Revelation 12:7-9


“But now sedition and civil war prevailed, not only over Judea, but in Italy also; for now Galba was slain in the midst of the Roman market-place; then was Otho made emperor, and fought against Vitellius, who set up for emperor also; for the legions in Germany had chosen him. But when he gave battle to Valens and Cecinna, who were Vitellius’s generals… on the second day Vitellius’s soldiers had the victory; and after much slaughter Otho slew himself, when he had heard of this defeat at Brixia… Otho’s army also came over to Vitellius’s generals, and he came himself down to Rome with his army…”

– Josephus, Wars Of The Jews, Book 4, 9:9

“Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

– Matthew 11:11-12


“AND now, when Vespasian had given answers to the embassages, and had disposed of the places of power justly, and according to every one’s deserts… he preferred to go for Rome, rather than to march to Alexandria, because he saw that Alexandria was sure to him already, but that the affairs at Rome were put into disorder by Vitellius; so he sent Mucianus to Italy… in order to fight Vitellius; whereupon Vitellius sent away Cecinna, with a great army… but when he saw there that the enemy were numerous and in good order, he durst not fight them… so he began to think of betraying his army to Antonius. Accordingly, he assembled the centurions and tribunes that were under his command, and persuaded them to go over to Antonius, and this by diminishing the reputation of Vitellius, and by exaggerating the power of Vespasian. He also told them that with the one there was no more than the bare name of dominion, but with the other was the power of it; and that it was better for them to prevent necessity, and… to avoid the danger beforehand, and go over to Antonius willingly; that Vespasian was able of himself to subdue what had not yet submitted without their assistance, while Vitellius could not preserve what he had already with it.”

– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 4, 11:2

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. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 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. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

– Revelation 12:7-12

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