Notice as it says in verse 7, “And there was war in heaven,” – how I wish I knew more about this war, but I don’t. I have read many commentators touch it briefly, but most evaded this issue. Why? Perhaps because it’s so hard to decide when it was. Was it before the creation? Was it before the New Testament birth of Christ? Was it at the Crucifixion? Resurrection or Ascension? We are clueless. Jesus talks about this in Luke 10:18. It’s also mentioned in John 12:31, but the time element is uncertain. When did Satan leave the presence of God and fall to the earth? Well, I think we cannot lock it down in chronological history. It’s the idea that evil has been cast out from the presence of God. I think it’s going to start answering the questions of these persecuted Christians, “why are we suffering so bad?”, and God’s going to say, “because I defeated the devil and kicked him out of heaven.” (I think that’s going a bit too much). But there was a war in heaven, and God didn’t even fight him personally, Michael did, which shows not a strict dualism like what Zoroastrianism teaches. Because God is always in control. He doesn’t dirty His hands; He sends His powerful angel (Michael) to do the battle for Him. Satan’s cast out of heaven. He’s defeated twice. First, he couldn’t destroy the Man-child, now he’s kicked out of heaven all together. Where is he gone? He’s cast to the earth, and he’s hurting God’s people now as his only way to hurt God. But Satan had already been defeated twice, he’s going to be defeated three times, as a matter of fact he has been ultimately in the Cross. But he’s let loose for a little while, and that explains the intensification of evil and the suffering of God’s people
Now, Michael is mentioned several times practically in the book of Daniel in chapter 10 and chapter 12. He is the prince of the nation Israel. He fights for God’s people. He’s a military kind of person. You see him again in Jude verse 9 where he’s called an archangel. His name means “one who is like God”. Many have thought he is a symbol of Incarnate Christ; he maybe a symbol but he is not equal with Christ. “…and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,” – now, who are these demons? There seems to a series of angels mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4 that aren’t included in Satan’s regular angels. There also seems to be some angels in Revelation 9:14 that are evil, but they serve God well. Where did the demonic into all this? We don’t really know, and we don’t usually talk about them. Notice as it says, “…and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down,” – the saints would take heart in the fact that Satan and his cohorts are defeated and ousted. So, the huge dragon, the ancient serpent “called the devil…” – the devil means the ‘slanderer’, and Satan means ‘accuser’; they are just the Greek and Hebrew forms of the very same thing. Okay now it says, “…who deceives the whole world;” – that’s his mission. You might want to see 2 Corinthians 4:4, and 1 Peter 5:8 where he is out to destroy everything of God, because he has been defeated, and he hates God. He’s trying to hurt God by hurting God’s people. Now notice as it says, “…he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” – this phrase ‘thrown down’ is used quite often in the book of Revelation 20:3, 10, 14, 15.
In verse 10, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,” – Some think it’s the angels, but I don’t think it can be angels because they’re going to say, “our brethren”, and i don’t think angels ever call themselves brethren or brothers. I think it’s the idea maybe of these martyrs under the throne, or the people of God. We can’t be sure, but they’re going to cry out, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come…” – sounds like chapter 11 verse 15, doesn’t it? Sovereignty is in the hand of God; it always has been. But now it’s ultimately His, and Satan just has a little time so he’s going to intensify his efforts. Notice as it says, “…the accuser of our brethren…” – that’s just what Satan does in Job chapters 1 and 2, and ‘Satan’ really is not a title in the Old Testament. It’s just an adjective of someone who slanders or accuses. In Zechariah 3:1-3 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 it is obviously a title for this personification of evil. Notice where it says, “…who accuses them before our God day and night.” – in Romans 8:33-39 no one can accuse us, and no one can bring a charge anymore I think the church needs to hear that amid persecution and death. The accuser has been thrown down! Hallelujah! “And they overcame him…” – O what an encouragement that must have been to these Christian who are being killed, whose families are being ripped apart. The one who’s causing this misery has been defeated. These ‘inhabitants of the earth’, they’re going to be judged by God. God is going to bring persecution to them. God’s saying, “I’m in control, and I’ve overthrown evil”. Why, every generation of persecuted Christians needs to hear this great hope of chapter 12.
Now notice how they conquered, “…because of the blood of the Lamb…” – Amen! Here’s the death of Christ. Here’s the substitutionary atonement (cf. 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Jn. 1:7). It’s the crucifixion; that’s how we got it. And Christ resurrection shows that it was valid. We have overcome! It’s sealed! Christ’s blood has purchased redemption and giving us victory over the hordes of evil. Hallelujah! And look at the second part, “…and because of the word of their testimony,” – this is the idea we received the message. We hold on to the message about Christ’s death. Here we have grace and faith; those two elements brought together (cf. Rev. 14:12). We are saved by grace through faith, but Christian maturity comes through obedience. Look at verse 17 and see the two elements: they keep God’s commands, and they bear testimony to Jesus. Notice as it says, “…and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” – this goes back to Revelation 2:10, as all Christians are called on to die if need be (cf. Lk. 14:26; John 12:25). We will have to lay our life down for the ultimacy of our faith in Christ. We are all asked to make that kind of commitment.
Look at verse 12, “…rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them.” – there’s celebration in heaven. This may go back to Psalms 96:11 or Isaiah 40:9-13. It may have been happy in heaven, but it’s the pits on the earth because the evil one’s cast down. And he’s going to be enraged because he knows he has just a short time. Now, this short time in my opinion is from the ascension through the Second Coming it’s been almost 2,000 years but it’s still a short time. The New Testament people saw this period as being brief. It’s been extended for some reason, but it’s the hope of every generation of believers.
(TO BE CONTINUED)