The 34th text fragment presents us again an iconic picture that has influenced during two millennia European culture: Michael battling with the dragon. In practically each Roman-catholic church this picture is shown as the symbol of the inner battle each man has to fight. But the Apocalypse presents a battle in heaven. Archangel Michael battles after the sounding of the seventh trumpet with the dragon and overcomes. This makes that man keeps an evolutionary spiritual perspective, although the danger for a fallback of the human soul still remains (Bock, p.193-197). The trials now really start. The newly born child carries the spiritual self, but it is still immature. As representative of the human I, Michael steps forward. The world soul, as well as the individual human soul, stand between dragon and archangel, between the selfish I and the higher I. The archangel overcomes the dragon, casts him on the earth, where he still remains active. We have to overcome the dragon in our souls with the help of our higher selves.
The third woe
The activities of the dragon, cast on the earth, represent the third woe. This third woe is not described as explicitly as the first two were, and seems to extend till text fragment 35 in which the beast rising from the sea and the beast rising from the earth appear. The spheres of the stars are free of the power of satan, where the cosmic transition of power by the Christ starts. The light, shining in darkness, intensifies. The victory of Michael is also shared by the Christian martyrs which were named in the fifth letter to Sardis. Due to their suffering the clogged channels of Gods blessings can start flowing again (Schult, p.204). Spiritual man digests suffering and death and, through this, experiences resurrection.
The victory of the Christ over all demons of the planets and the star constellations of the zodiac is presently not a visible reality. This will occur when the seventh trumpet has been sounded, at the end of time.
The battle of Michael with the dragon in art
The heavenly battle of Michael with the dragon, which subsequently is continued on earth, has been a key-motive in the religious art of Europe. It concerns the battle in the human soul also known in Medieval times as the battle of Saint George and the dragon. Saint George, sitting on a horse, saves the daughter of the king, representing the human soul, by killing the beast. In early times of Christianity this motive was also found in Egypt, as illustrated by the funeral stela showing Horus killing Seth in the shape of a crocodile.
The combination with the riding on a horse amplifies the message. Only man can rule his thinking, feeling and willing, like the horseman rules his horse. It implies that man can control even his soul impulses, the temptations in his soul coming from the dragon, represented by ‘belly’-animals such as dragon, serpent and crocodile. By this ability, man puts these forces in service of his mission to save his soul, in Medieval times represented by the princess. After this, man will become able to enter the spiritual world and meet the spiritual beings intuitively from inside.
The theme has also been used in a political art setting, as shown by the following poster to recruit soldiers for World War I by the British Government.
The only place where archangel Michael is explicitly mentioned in the Apocalypse is this text fragment (Schult, p.200-203). Michael means: Who is as God? With this cry Michael once pushed Lucifer into the abyss when he wanted to raise himself above God. In the same way he will cast, after the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the mixed being of Lucifer and Ahriman from the heavens unto earth. Little is said in the Bible to explain the fall of angels. The Bible presupposes that the reader is familiar with the different spheres and their spiritual beings which are active in supporting or distorting the development of mankind. All these angels and demons are small compared to God, which gives them a basis to exist (Isaiah 45:6). The fall of Lucifer is mentioned by Isaiah (14: 12-15). The role of Michael is described at moments that the developments change from temporal to eternal.
The battle of Michael with the dragon is also described in Isaiah (27:1), but here it is presented as an act of God self. God will search with his sword the Leviathan, which is the flying serpent, and the Leviathan which is the wounded serpent, and will kill the dragon in the sea. The dragon in the sea refers to the dragon in the heavenly ocean of the stars and is the dragon of which this text fragment reports. The flying serpent is Lucifer, and the wounded serpent is Ahriman. Schult finds in Isaiah the same demonic trinity as mentioned in chapter 12 of the Apocalypse: the dragon in heavenly heights, and the beasts rising from the sea and the earth depths.
The woman Sophia is protected by her wings
For the essential battle with the dragon, the human soul will be initiated, far away from the face of the serpent. And to the woman were given the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly to the desert, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, far away from the face of the serpent. The three and half a times refers to the old initiation which took three and a half days. This number of three and a half also indicates that we are half-way the cycle of seven. After this point, a new wave of passions will test the initiated man, which has received in the newly acquired consciousness two wings with which an escape from the influences of the dragon is possible.
In Babylonian literature, the divine Sophia is also subject to the fall and the descent to hell (Schult, p.197), but this is not the case in the Apocalypse. She stays at here place on earth, protected by God and free from sins. With the flood of water Satan still tries to take here holdfast away by flushing away solid earth, but the earth spirit prevents this. This action of Satan can be seen as confusing the soul by prematurely taking away the physical constraints which are a holdfast in man’s natural spiritual development.