All right, let’s jump into our study of God’s word together. As promised, tonight we are going to quickly look at the second half of Revelation chapter twelve. So if you’re not there already, please turn in your Bibles to Revelation chapter twelve, and we’ll be starting in verse seven.
“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.’ And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Let’s pray together.
In tonight’s passage, you’re going to notice that much of what John writes about is fleshing out what he mentioned earlier in the chapter. For instance, in verse four John mentioned that the dragon swept down one third of the stars in the sky, and that story is fleshed out in verses seven through nine. And verse six tells us that the woman will flee to the wilderness for 1,260 days. That story is fleshed out in verses thirteen through seventeen. And tonight, I’m going to handle the verses a little bit out of order. First, we’re going to handle the story of the fall of the dragon, and then we will look at the message of the voice from Heaven in verses ten through twelve.
Verses seven through nine tell of a great war between Satan and the angels of God. The Bible tells us that Michael, who is God’s chief angel, made war against the dragon and his angels. Thankfully, the dragon lost the battle, and was cast out of Heaven. Most commentators agree that approximately one third of the angels sided with Satan, and that’s why verse four says that one third of the stars fell from the sky. Something interesting to note is that verse nine is one of the only verses in the Bible that tells us that Satan is the same serpent from Genesis three. It’s something we all know like the back of our hands, but it’s because of this verse that we know it for sure.
The big question about these three verses is “When?” When did all of this take place? When did Satan get kicked out of Heaven? And remember last week I told you that I think Satan rebelled against God after Creation and before the Fall. But this is where is gets tricky. Because we know from the book of Job that Satan still had access to God’s throne even after he had rebelled. We don’t know why God allowed that, but He did. In Job one and two, Satan stood before God’s throne accusing Job. In fact, the name “Devil” literally means “accuser.” That’s one of Satan’s primary jobs. And as I was looking through different theories on when Satan was kicked out of Heaven, I found out that there are at least ten different theories! Some believe it happened before Creation. Some believe it happened during the Old Testament. Some believe it happened during Christ’s lifetime, and some believe it won’t happen until the Tribulation. And frankly, we can’t be sure. Personally, I believe this happened at the Resurrection, because that is when Christ delivered a death blow to Satan. So in other words, I do not believe that Satan has access to God’s throne today. I think He did until Christ defeated him, and now Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. And unlike Satan, Christ is not accusing us of all of our numerous sins. Christ is constantly saying, “He’s one of Mine. She belongs to Me.”
And while I believe verses seven through nine tell of a past event, I believe that verses thirteen through seventeen tell us a future event. These verses talk about how the dragon will make war on the woman. Remember, the woman represents the nation of Israel. But the Bible tells us in verse fourteen that the woman will be given the wings of an eagle that will take her into the wilderness. In the Bible, the wings of the eagle normally refer to God’s miraculous protection. And while I do believe this will be God’s miraculous intervention, we in the twentieth century might think of something else. In John’s day, he never could have imagined that one day airplanes would fly people through the sky, but as we read about the people flying into the wilderness, we realize that God’s master plan might involve saving the nation of Israel by an air evacuation. Who knows, but it’s fun to think about. And while in the wilderness, the dragon tries to destroy her by a flood. But the Bible says that the earth will open up and devour the flood. I don’t know if this is symbolic or literal, but my principle is that if I’m not sure, I always assume literal.
The final verse of the chapter tells us something very interesting. Verse seventeen tells us that after the dragon realizes he can’t hurt the nation of Israel, he will begin to make war with the rest of her seed, which are those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ. That’s us! The devil will begin a furious rampage to eliminate all of the Christians on the planet. This is the point in the Tribulation where persecution ramps up considerably, and many, many Christians will be killed.
And so, what’s the lesson in all of this for us? Well, that’s where verses ten through twelve come in. Remember, in these three verses, a voice from Heaven will call out and say some important things to us on earth. Look at what the voice says in verse ten. “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.’”
Each one of these little verses has an important life lesson for us in the church. Lesson #1: Verse ten tells us that Satan has been defeated. The one that stood before God and constantly reminded Him of our unrighteousness is no longer allowed in Heaven! Praise God! And of course, that was made possible by the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Lesson #2: As followers of Christ, we must be willing to give our all for God. In verse eleven, the voice says that the believers overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. I think what we have here is an example of a Christian dying instead of denying Christ. Because notice at the end of the verse, it says that they loved not their lives unto death. I can just imagine the Antichrist rounding up Christians and trying to “defeat” them by convincing them to deny Christ. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, true believers will not deny Christ. So they will be killed. But in their death, they are not defeated. No, that is when they overcome the devil. So I ask you tonight, which would you rather have: life or Christ? I hope it’s a choice that none of us ever have to make, but if we do, I hope we choose Christ. But the simple fact is, we often have to make choices in our life. Christ or snooze button. Christ or football. Christ or affair. Christ or party. My prayer for us, is that by the power of the Lamb, we will always choose Christ.
Lesson #3: The devil is vicious, because his time is short. I hope this is something you know from the bottom of your heart. Satan is active and well in our world, and he hates you with a passion. While his anger will continue to grow until Christ’s Second Coming, he’s hopping mad right now. He wants nothing more to destroy you. But normally, I don’t think he tries to destroy our physical lives. I think he is much more interested in destroying our spiritual lives. Because of that, I challenge you to cling to the cross, and never let your guard down. Keep your eyes on Jesus, because as soon as you glance away, the devil is going to be waiting there to try to defeat you.
So I hope this chapter has been beneficial to you. Revelation chapter twelve is an amazing chapter that peels back the physical world, and gives us a glimpse of the age-old battle between God and the devil. And we here tonight have an important part in this battle. We are the battlefield! But church, the over-arching message of Revelation chapter twelve is the same as the entire book of Revelation. And the over-arching message of Revelation is the same as the over-arching message of the entire Bible. And that message is… God wins!
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