Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Revelation 12:7-12 Satan Cast out of Heaven!


KEY TEXT: Revelation 12:7-12 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them 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. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "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. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!"

KEY THOT: John saw in his vision the final battle taking place in heaven between God's archangel Michael with his angels and Satan with his angels. But Satan was defeated and cast down from heaven and consigned to earth. The timing of this event is in the future, even though Satan's defeat was already an accomplished fact at the Cross: "having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Colossians 2:14-15). Jesus already foresaw this event before he went to the Cross: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you" (Luke 10:18-19).

But the final act of casting down Satan and angels did not take place there and then at the Cross. We know that Satan and his hosts still operate in the heavenlies from Ephesians 6:12. In this verse, Paul describes the church's spiritual warfare against spiritual forces from two realms: earth and heaven: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age [NIV: this dark world], against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places [Greek: epouranios, existing in heaven]." But one day, sthose that are till inhabiting in the heavenly places will be cast out of heaven and hurled down to earth for their final judgment. The dragon's battle against archangel Michale will end in defeat and banishment from heaven: "he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven" (Revelation 12:8).

We know from this passage that this event must place near quite near the end of this present age because "the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" (v.12). In other words, the devil was furious that he is finally cast out of heaven for his final destruction. So he turns his wrath against the saints as his last stand against God and his children before he is forever cast into the lake of fires, together with all humans who have chosen to align themselves with the devil instead of Christ: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). 

That Satan is still roaming in heaven is something hard for us to understand. But it makes perfect sense if he is to fulfill his designation as the Accuser of the Brethren, In order to fulfill this role, he must have access to God to do it: "for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God" (v.10). In Job 1:6, we read that Satan and his angels presented themselves before God: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them." But one day, this access by Satan and his angels will be over and they will be cast down to earth for the final showdown.

When Satan is finally defeated both in heaven and on earth, he will unleash his final fury against the saints. But the saints will defeat him "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death" (v.11). The worst the devil can do to the saints is to kill their mortal bodies, but he could do nothing to their eternal souls. But Jesus himself has said: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

Abba-Father, even as the days draw nearer for Satan to be finally cast out of heaven, we know that the saints will face increasing pressure and persecution for their faith. Strengthen our testimony and faith in the blood of the Lamb and deliver us from the fear of death. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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