The Woman, Child, Dragon, . . . Page 4 of 5 (series: Lessons on Revelations)
by John Lowe
Verse nine contains two reasons for why this all-important war was fought. First, it was fought to “cast” “Satan” down from Heaven. It is evident from Daniel 10 that behind the kingdoms of this “world” is a Satanic empire in the spirit world divided into kingdoms synonymous with those on earth. Satanic angels or “principalities” as they are called, supervise on Satan’s behalf the affairs of the nations over which they secretly rule. When God called Abraham out of UR of the Chaldees, He said to him, “I will make of thee a great nation” (Genesis 12:2). In God’s time, this nation emerged as a power to be reckoned with on earth. It was a new and divinely-created nation, and Satan had no angelic prince over it. On the contrary, an angel of God, Michael, “one of the chief princes,” was set over Israel in the spirit world. Michael defends Israel and God’s interests in this nation against the ceaseless attacks of Satan’s emissaries. In the Old Testament Satan was the angel who was the counsel for the prosecution against men in the presence of God; he was their adversary.
This war, then, will be fought to “cast” Satan down from Heaven. It is also fought (the second reason) to cast Satan down to earth. The campaign against Satan does not last long. All his followers are flung with him from the sky in one clean sweep. To borrow a famous statement from Israel’s persecuted past, “not a hoof will be left behind!” Satan may be mighty, but he is not almighty. This event probably takes place in connection with the blowing of the third trumpet (8:10-11).
Satan fell to the earth with “all his angels”—referring to demons. This world is their prison, where, as the enemies of God, they work against God’s people. Satan is not omnipresent—he cannot be everywhere at once, so his demons work for him. Demons are fallen angels, sinful spiritual beings who have Satan as their leader (Matthew 25:41; Luke 11:15).
This marks the end of 1Satan’s rule in the air. The prince of this world is cast out of the Heavens. The first and second Heavens were part of his kingdom. He had access to all the Heavens, though limited (Job 1:6). Now his access to them comes to an end. He was cast out of heaven and forced to walk the earth; therefore, he can be called the Ruler of this World (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), for, having been cast out of Heaven, he has to exert his evil influence among men. This is not his final fate, however:
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pita and a heavy chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (20:1-3, 10).
10 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 I heard” reminds us that John is still a spectator and auditor of these events. He does not want us to forget that, because it is very important.
“A loud voice saying in Heaven” seems to refer to the Old Testament saints or to the tribulation saints who have been martyred up to this point (Revelation 6:9-10), for they mention their brethren on the earth: “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down.” The eviction of the dragon is followed by a loud voice in heaven announcing God’s triumph and that the day of His people’s conquest has come. This anticipates the Millennial Kingdom. In the meantime, a glorious event has taken place; “the accuser of our brethren is cast down.” No railing slander against a believer would ever again be heard in heaven.
“The kingdom” must be understood here in its largest extent as embracing the Heavens and the earth. This is the final phase of God’s great plan of salvation. While it has not already “come,” the end is in sight. In that day there will be no occasion to pray, only praise.
“The power” refers to the irresistible might which shall crush all opposing authority—whether satanic in the Heavens or human on the earth.
Many believe that until this time, Satan still had access to God (Job 1:7). But
here his access is barred forever (9:1). He can no longer accuse people before God (see how Satan made accusations about Job before God in Job 1:6).
11 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.
There are no planes, bombs, missiles, nor atomic submarines. The destruction of bodies is not the goal. The people’s power to overcome Satan is found in three weapons:
1. The first weapon was “the blood of the Lamb.” The blood of the Lamb is forever the fortress of saints and of angels. Justified and forgiven men, who have no hope except for the merit of their Savior’s blood, are on the victory side. Men on earth may ridicule Christ’s blood, but in Heaven it is celebrated. They recognize that victory did not come by means of personal merit or might. Without the atoning blood Satan’s accusations could not be refuted. Christ’s blood gave them standing before God. And so it gives us standing even now. The devil has access to God today for the purpose of accusing us (Zechariah 3:1). He does this whenever we sin. But our Advocate, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, is there to plead our cause. Praise God for the Blood!
There is wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb. Don’t you forget that. Let us not minimize that.
2. The second weapon was “the word of their testimony.” This is God’s Word, the Sword of the Spirit, forever established in Heaven. They who believe it, identify themselves with it, and testify to it are assured of victory. This Word is authoritative against demons. It will work wonders in the heart and head of the weakest saint. John adds a testimony in full agreement with this (1 John 2:13-14). The believer who would resist Satan cannot afford to neglect the Word of God.
3. The third weapon was “not loving this life more than the next.” Satan uses death as a means to intimidate people into denying Jesus. Nevertheless, the saints who deal with the complete onslaught of Satan realize that their only hope is to proclaim Christ, no matter the cost.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” The critical blow to Satan came when the Lamb, Jesus Christ, shed His blood for our sins. The victory is won by sacrifice—Christ’s sacrifice for sin, and the sacrifices we make because of our faith in Him. As we face the battle with Satan, we should not fear it or try to escape from it, but loyally serve Christ who alone brings victory (Romans 8:34-39).
“And they loved not their lives unto the death.” The one who completely yields to God (holds nothing back) cannot possibly lose a battle. For the sake of the truth they resigned all that man counts dear. Battles are fought and won by blood, by the Word of God, and by surrendering our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.
12 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.
The result of that war in Heaven is blessing in Heaven but “woe” on earth. This woe is the last in the predicted series of three (8:13; 9:12; 11:14; 12:12). The word “woe” is used as a divine denunciation. Whenever God pronounces a woe there is judgment ahead. This third woe upon the earth, aimed first at Israel, is more severe than any of the former. The reason is obvious. “He the devil
knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Satan is now truly a being with nothing to lose. He knows his final defeat is simply a matter of time. We are living in the last days, and Satan’s work has become more intense. Even though Satan is very powerful, as we can see by the condition of our world, he is always under God’s control. One of the reasons God allows Satan to work evil and bring temptation is so that those who pretended to be Christ’s followers will be weeded out from his true believers. As the great confrontation with Jesus draws near, the devil is desperately trying to recruit as great an enemy force as possible for this final battle.
The Heavens are rejoicing because Satan is cast out forever, and the believers know how to handle him. The rest of the world, however, will have to endure his wrath for a short while. This will be a bad time on earth. But these days will not go unpunished.
As soon as he is cast down to the earth, he at once proceeds to make war against the woman (Israel).