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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

Week - 21 The Ultimate Cosmic Conflict Revelation 12:7-17 Part Two

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Authored by Jerry Marshall The person of Satan is surrounded with a lot of myth and misunderstanding. He is usually presented as a sort of funny being in a red suit with a pitchfork in his hand, horns on his head and a dragon like pointed tail.

Many have determined that Satan does not even exist. Others of think of him as a separate yet equal to God only that he is evil, and God is good. Others mistakenly assign divine attributes to him imagining him to be everywhere at the same time, or omnisciently reading our thoughts.

For the longest time now, most imagine him to be in hell and in charge of hell. Yet Satan has never been in hell. When he is cast down into the lake of fire, he will not be in charge. “He will be the lowest inmate there; the one undergoing the most horrible punishment ever inflicted on any created being.”

Presently, he roams the earth looking for someone to devour spiritually speaking

(1 Peter 5:8). He also roams the heavens master minding his evil schemes with the help of his fellow fallen angels called demons. And he also comes before God everyday hurling accusations against the saints (Revelation 12:10).

He is described in the Scriptures as the God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4);

the father of lies (John 8:44). He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). The theater of his operations includes both the heavens and the earth, and he battles at every conceivable level - morally, theologically, philosophically and spiritually.

Satan is a created angelic being, the highest created angelic being, which in his pride, foolishly imagined that he could be like the Most High God. His prideful thoughts are recorded in (Isaiah 14:12-14). He is a tenacious enemy who refuses to give up even in the face of a series of defeats. He is an avowed enemy of God and all who are a part of the family of God.

How can the followers of Christ be victorious over the strategies of Satan used against them in spiritual warfare?

Fortunately for us, we have in the text this morning believers who serve as Biblical examples of how to overcome this highest of fallen angels.

The topic at hand in the last part of chapter twelve is the beginning of end of the chief enemy of God and his people. It is the last days of the last days for the one who would soon be incarcerated in the abyss for one thousand years, only to eventually be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be tormented day and night forever.

The triggering event that signals the demise of the Devil is a part of vision be held by John and recorded for us in Revelation chapter twelve.

I. War in Heaven (Revelation 12:7-9)

A. A Mighty Conflict (7)

Please note both the place and the principles of this cosmic conflict.

The theater of this celestial warfare is heaven, which is not a reference to the starry sky above the earth. Nor is it a reference to the stellar space above earth’s atmosphere but rather the place, which is the abode of God.

It is familiar territory of spiritual conflict (Ephesians 6:12). Earlier in this letter from Paul to the Ephesians, he stated that this is the place where Christ is presently seated following His death, resurrection and ascension to heaven (Ephesians 1:20).

It does seem strange that such a battle would take place in the place of the very throne of God. Yet, this is precisely the picture of (Job 1), where Satan and other angelic beings present themselves before God. It is from this place that Satan falsely accused Job of serving God only for the benefits He received from God (Job 1:6-11).

The context of this chapter would indicate that the time of this battle would be perhaps at the beginning of what is called the Great Tribulation. It is a period of three and a half years, after the rapture of the church and prior to the literal Second Coming of Christ.

The primary principles in this war in heaven are Michael and his angels and the Dragon and his angels. Michael (whose name means “who is like God”) is the only angel who bears the title “archangel” (Jude 9) which means “the chief of angels.”

Michael then is the commander of all of God’s holy angels who are God’s ministering spirit being devoted to carrying out the purposes of the Lord for His glory. Michael is also described in (Daniel 12:1) as the Great prince who protects the people of God.

His foe is someone whom he has known since the day they were both created. He is described in this passage as the Dragon who is clearly identified in (Revelation 12:9) as that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan. He is that ancient serpent seen in (Genesis 3) using subtlety, treachery and deceit in order to get Adam and Eve to fall into sin and disobedience.

Satan, Satanas { sat-an-as’} Refers to an adversary (one who opposes another in purpose or act). It has become the proper name for this primary fallen angel because it best describes his ultimate purpose, which is to stand in opposition to God, His purposes, His will and His children.

His other title is The Devil. diabolos { dee-ab’-ol-os} which means to slander or accuse falsely. That seems to be what he devotes his entire day to doing

(Revelation 12:10). We are never more like the Devil when we traffic in the defamation of another person’s character with false accusations.

The Dragon’s angels would be those angelic being who have joined him in his adversarial relationship with the living God. One wonders what the nature of this battle might be since it is a battle of spiritual beings who cannot be killed with the normal weapons of warfare.

It’s certainly a battle over territory with a winner and a loser. There is a loss of territory but not a loss of life. But what is the nature of weapons used in this battle? The scripture does not say.

It is perhaps the exertion of a supernatural angelic power, which can in battle overcome other angelic beings.

B. A Major Defeat (8-9)

The Scripture clearly identifies the reason for Satan and His demon’s defeat. They were not strong enough to prevail against Michael and his angels. They were now vacated once and for all from the abode of God and from His presence.

Because of this loss, Satan and his demonic host will no longer appear before the living God. And Satan will no longer have his platform for hurling accusations against the children of God. His domain will be greatly restricted. His end is near!

It should be noted that although this defeat is another in a continuum of defeats for Satan, he does not quit! He simply turns the focus of his battle to a new territory. His defeat does not cause him to surrender. Rather, it arouses the intensity of his anger. Talk about a sore loser! It should be noted that Satan is described as the one whom leads the whole world astray; (planao { plan-ah’-o} to led astray from the truth to error).

He has done this throughout the ages by his corruptive and deceitful worldviews, erroneous theologies, corrupting morals and false hopes. He has used all possible venues to spread his deception. But now the world he has corrupted morally, theologically, spiritually and philosophically is now his only home.

Remember that he is called and angel of light when in fact, he is the prince of darkness.

II. Joy in Heaven (Revelation 12:10-11)

A. Because of the Defeat of Satan (10)

This momentous victory prompts an outburst of praise from a loud voice in heaven. Because of the phrase, the accuser of our brothers, many believe that this is the voice of one of the martyrs in heaven since angels do not share in the common experience of salvation in Christ which links all the redeemed into the family of God and therefore makes them brothers and sisters in Christ.

The content of this outburst of praise is spoken as if the salvation, power, and kingdom of God (the eternal state) as well as the authority of His Christ (the millennial rule of Christ) have already taken place because of this victory over Satan and his demonic host. There are yet a few more tricks up the sleeve of this defeated foe before he and his angels are all cast into the lake of fire.

But the fact that Satan and his demonic host have now been cast down to the earth means that his end is very near, and the Kingdom of our God and His Christ is just around the corner.

Picture again if you will that it’s like a football game in which there are about thirty seconds on the clock, but your team is ahead by twenty points. The phrase, “Our God” modifies all three of the preceding nouns.

-“The salvation of our God,” refers to that ultimate aspect of God’s deliverance when the curse of sin is eliminated and the saints of God are glorified enjoying the eternal state.

-“The power of God” is a reference to the exercise of God’s omnipotence that ultimately crushes all that would oppose His will and His reign.

-“The Kingdom of our God” is a reference to the eternal state. (Revelation 21-22)

-“The authority of His Christ,” refers to our Lord’s right to reign over His millennial kingdom.

The point is that this defeat of Satan and his angel signals that these prophetic events are now considered fully realized.

The second fact that prompts this outburst of praise is...

B. Because of the Triumph of the Saints (11)

Again, the perspective from which this declaration is made is as if this has already been achieved even though it is yet future. This victory of the saints during the time of the great tribulation is certain not because of any power they may possess but rather because of the enabling power of our Lord. That’s why the victory is certain although yet future.

The strategy that is used to gain a victory over Satan is instructive. It is interesting to me that they did not use any of the modern-day methods suggested for victory in spiritual warfare such as binding Satan or rebuking Satan. Nor did they use exorcisms, ritual formulas or repeated victory prayers or prayers of denunciation.

Their victory over Satan and his demonic host is first and foremost based upon the redemptive work of Christ in which He shed His blood for the redemption of their souls. This is the unshakable foundation of all spiritual victory.

It is descriptive of a mindset of victory possessed by those who are in Christ who are certain of their salvation, assured of their redemption and secured in their position of being in Christ. The accusations of Satan are therefore deflected by their unshakable confidence in the finished work of Jesus on their behalf. They were also victorious over Satan because of their uncompromising loyalty to Christ.

In spite of the intense persecution aimed at these saints by the ancient serpent of old, these redeemed people will remain faithful in their witness for Jesus Christ. Their testimony will not be compromised nor will they waiver.

In addition, their loyalty was rooted in their uncompromising love for the Lord. A love for Him that even exceeded their love for the preservation of their own lives. The one they loved the most is the one they were willing to die for knowing that death is only the doorway to greater intimacy with Him.

III. War on Earth (Revelation 12:12-17)

A. Against the World (12)

The defeat of the Satan and the triumph of the saints is cause for all of heaven to rejoice but not so for the earth and the sea. This exhortation to rejoice is followed by a sober warning. With this defeat, Satan is, as John Phillips wrote...

“...Like a caged lion, enraged beyond words by this new limitation now placed upon his freedom. He picks himself up from the dust of the earth, shakes his fist at the sky, and glares around choking with fury for ways to vent his hatred and his spite upon humankind.” [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux 1991]

The word fury is a translation of a word in the original language, which conveys the idea of a violent outburst of rage. It is a turbulent, emotional fury rather than a rational anger.

And this mindset of Satan is fueled by the fact that his time is short. In just three- and one-half years, he will be chained for one thousand years. And finally, he will be cast into the lake of fire forever. His timing is running out.

Chapters fourteen and fifteen will elaborate in greater detail, just how he will demonstrate his anger toward the land and the sea and those who inhabit the earth during the time of the Great Tribulation.

But the first focus of his fury is that nation from which salvation came, those descendants of Abraham from whom one came who is a blessing to all the nations of the world. Satan now directs his fury....

B. Against the Woman (13-16)

This is the same woman who was spoken of in the first part of this chapter (Revelation 12:1-6). This woman is best identified as Israel and the male child that was born from her is the Messiah, who is the Savior of the world - Our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who redeemed the saints and foiled Satan’s eternal plan of the destruction of them.

This furious pursuit of Israel is what our Lord was speaking of in

(Matthew 24:15-22):

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—

16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

But, as mentioned previously in this passage, Israel will be given divine protection and divine provisions that will put them out of Satan’s reach.

The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.

This reference to two wings of a great eagle is probably figurative language used to depict God’s miraculous and swift protection of Israel in these days such as in

(Exodus 19:4).

Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

C. Against the Saints (17)

Kind of like an evil energizer bunny, Satan just turns the focus of his attack on those Tribulation saints who are in the world at this time.

Practical Implications

What then is the example established for us in this passage as a winning strategy for overcoming our enemy who is that ancient serpent of old?

1. It is our salvation in Christ (12:11a)

2. It is our testimony in Christ (12:11b)

It is our faithful witness of what Christ has done in our lives

3. It is our uncompromising love for Christ (12:11c)

4. It is our obedience to Christ (12:17a)

5. It is the testimony of Jesus (12:17b)

Not their testimony of the salvation that they experienced in Christ, but the witness that Jesus proclaimed about his identity and ministry.


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