Posted in coaching

the war in heaven, revelation 12:7-17

In one of Daniel’s visions, the Son of Man told him about his battle against wicked principalities that required the aid of the archangel, Michael (Dan 10:5-13). But when the Son of Man took the war to earth’s soil, a “war arose in heaven” and Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (Rev 12:7). “The dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated” (12:8a). Christ’s triumph at the cross ensured Michael’s victory in heaven.

“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Rev 12:9). The reason the satanic dragon is called “the devil” here (which means “slanderer”) is to clarify the meaning of being “thrown down.” What happened? Christ death and resurrection threw down Satan’s podium and smashed it! Forgiveness wrecked the dragon’s ability to accuse God’s people of sin.

Satan’s allegations had some merit—after all, the OT believers were saved by faith before their sins were fully dealt with at Calvary. The dragon’s case, however, was compromised. He’s the one who tempts people to sin in the first place! He deceives “the whole world” and then has the audacity to accuse them “day and night” (Rev 12:9-10). What a jerk! Even so, God “in his divine forbearance had passed over former sins” of the Old Testament believers until Christ’s atonement on the cross (Rom 3:25). But now no one can bring any charge against God’s elect—not angels, principalities, or powers—because “it is God who justifies” all believers (Rom 8:33-39; cf. John 12:31-33).

“Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God’” (Rev 12:10). Our salvation is secure from satanic threat. We persevere through persecution “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony” for we love Christ more than life itself (12:11).

The kingdom has been launched on earth! “‘Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea,” for the dragon is now taking out his fury against the Church knowing that he has a little time left (Rev 12:12). “The suffering of Christians is a sign, not of Satan’s victory, but of the saints’ victory over Satan because of their belief in the triumph of the cross, with which their suffering identifies them” (Greg Beale).

Instead of “horses,” persecution of the Church is described as being spewed out of Satan’s mouth “like a river … to sweep her away like a flood” (12:15). This figurative flood of words aims to eliminate Christianity from the planet (cf. Ps 18:16; 124:4; 144:7; Isa 43:2). Wave after wave after wave of false teachings pound and corrode the Church to this day. God will protect us in this war of words, but we must not lose our voice (Rev 12:16). I rather think Satan’s best marketing ploy is “Just Be Nice” (don’t share the gospel). Yet, to “go and make disciples of all nations” requires words. In fact, “It pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Cor 1:21).

Do you know what drives an enraged dragon absolutely batty? When the Church embodies the commandments of God and verbally maintains its testimony about Jesus (Rev 12:16-17).