The War Scroll (1QM), found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, provides a vivid, detailed description of the escalating battle between good and evil, which will eventually climax with good overcoming evil. Such language is rarely found in the Hebrew Bible – with the possible exception being Daniel 10:20-21’s description of the struggle between Michael and Gabriel against the princes of Persia and Greece. This language is also absent in most of the Pseudepigrapha – exceptions include the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Jubilees, and in some earlier rabbinic literature.
1QM’s date of origin has been an issue of considerable debate, ranging from the middle half of the first century BCE to the middle of the first half of the first century CE. Another study dates the final form (found in 1QM, 4Q492, 4Q494, 4Q495, 4Q496) of the War Rule to the second half of the first century BCE, while dating the older stages (found in 4Q491, 4Q493, 4Q471b) to Maccabean times.
The Great Battle Between Michael vs. Belial
In 1QM 13:2,4, the host of God’s spirits battles against Belial, and Belial and his spirits are accursed for their wicked plan.
(The High Priest) shall come, and his brethren the Priests and the Levites, and all the elders of the army shall be with him; and standing, they shall bless the God of Israel and all His works of truth, and shall execrate Belial there and all the spirits of his company. Speaking, they shall say:
Blessed be the God of Israel for all His holy purpose and for His works of truth! Blessed be all those who [serve] Him in righteousness and who know Him by faith!
Cursed be Belial for his sinful purpose and may he be execrated for his wicked rule! Cursed be all the spirits of his company for their ungodly purpose and may they be execrated for all their service of uncleanness!
Truly they are the company of Darkness, but the company of God is one of [eternal] Light. – 1QM 13:1-4
In 1QM 13:11-12, the spirits of Belial’s lot are specifically identified with ‘angels of destruction.’ The sect’s enemies belong to the lot of Belial, while the sons of light belong to the lot of light. The sons of darkness are the army of Belial, and the seven nations of vanity are the troops of Belial. The army of Belial consists of both human enemies and also the spirits of darkness and the angels of destruction.
But Belial, the Angel of Malevolence, Thou hast created for the Pit; his [rule] is in Darkness and his purpose is to bring about wickedness and iniquity. All the spirits of his company, the Angels of Destruction, walk according to the precepts of Darkness; towards them is their [inclination].
But let us, the company of Thy truth, rejoice in Thy mighty hand and be glad for Thy salvation, and exult because of Thy suc[cour and] peace. O God of Israel, who can compare with Thee in might? Thy mighty hand is with the poor. Which angel or prince can compare with Thy [redeeming] succour? [For Thou hast appointed] the day of battle from ancient times … [to come to the aid] of truth and to destroy iniquity, to bring Darkness low and to magnify Light … to stand for ever, and to destroy all the sons of Darkness … – 1QM 11-15
1QM 1 explains that Michael and God’s lot are locked in combat with Belial and his lot for seven battles. Both sides will win three times, until God intervenes in the seventh battle and destroys Belial and his army (1:14-15).
On the day when the Kittim fall, there shall be battle and terrible carnage before the God of Israel, for that shall be the day appointed from ancient times for the battle of destruction of the sons of darkness. At that time, the assembly of gods and the hosts of men shall battle, causing great carnage; on the day of calamity, the sons of light shall battle with the company of darkness amid the shouts of a mighty multitude and the clamour of gods and men to (make manifest) the might of God. And it shall be a time of [great] tribulation for the people which God shall redeem; of all its afflictions none shall be as this, from its sudden beginning until its end in eternal redemption.
On the day of their battle against the Kittim [they shall set out for] carnage. In three lots shall the sons of light brace themselves in battle to strike down iniquity, and in three lots shall Belial’s host gird itself to thrust back the company [of God. And when the hearts of the detach]ments of foot-?soldiers faint, then shall the might of God fortify [the hearts of the sons of light]. And with the seventh lot, the mighty hand of God shall bring down [the army of Belial, and all] the angels of his kingdom, and all the members [of his company in everlasting destruction] … – 1QM 1:10-15
Even the final victory is primarily attributed to Michael.
This is the day appointed by Him for the defeat and overthrow of the Prince of the kingdom of wickedness, and He will send eternal succour to the company of His redeemed by the might of the princely Angel of the kingdom of Michael. With everlasting light He will enlighten with joy [the children] of Israel; peace and blessing shall be with the company of God. He will raise up the kingdom of Michael in the midst of the gods, and the realm of Israel in the midst of all flesh. Righteousness shall rejoice on high, and all the children of His truth shall jubilate in eternal knowledge. And you, the sons of His Covenant, be strong in the ordeal of God! His mysteries shall uphold you until He moves His hand for His trials to come to an end. 1QM 17:5-7