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Saturday, 23 September 2017 16:52

82. There was war in Heaven: the dragon was cast out * Revelation 12:7-9 - Part 2 of 2

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7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

 

PART 2

 

*** And there was war in Heaven ***: Based on Revelation 12:7-9, we can understand that when the child was taken up to Heaven, the dragon and his angels followed Him to the Heavenly court. He did not want to let Jesus take away his earthly dominion without any resistance.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus arrived in Heaven, He sat on the throne with the Father (Revelation 5:7; Revelation 3:21), and the Heavenly chorus "sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation; And have made us unto our God a kingdom and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." (Revelation 5:9-12). Note that they were celebrating Jesus’ victory. We can see how that victory also meant rulership over the Earth (Revelation 5:10,12).

Then, war broke out in Heaven once again. The first time, it ended with Lucifer and his angels being cast down, and their first attack on humanity (see study #81). In his mind, there was still a chance for his plans for universal domination to work. This time, however, the "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" of beings praising Christ's accomplishments were immune to the dragon's lies and were ready to defend the Truth. They had just witnessed Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. His death revealed not only the loving character of God but also the destructive character of the enemy. Satan’s false arguments had been exposed.

*** Michael and His angels fight the dragon and his angels ***: This war is a spiritual war. Revelation 12:11 describes the weapons that allow people to overcome God's enemy: "the blood of the Lamb", and "the word of their testimony". Note that this fight happens not only between Michael and Satan but also between the angels on both sides. The angels who believe and follow Satan fought the angels who believe and follow the One who is like God, Michael. This war was about worship, about who they were going to believe in. It's the same kind of battle we saw between the serpent and Eve, and between Satan and Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan challenged the truth. The way to fight back is to use the Word of God, just as Jesus did. Three times He fought back with "it is written” (Matthew 4:4,7,10). The fact that the Heavenly beings were all worshiping God so intensely when Christ ascended to Heaven (they were worshiping with a loud voice - Revelation 5:12), made it clear that Satan's lies would not deceive anyone else in Heaven. "And [Satan and his angel] prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven." (Revelation 12:8).

*** Satan and his angels are cast down ***: Revelation 12:9 identifies the dragon in different ways: serpent, devil, and Satan. 'Serpent' is a reference to the first battle fought on Earth when Eve decided to believe the lies against God (Genesis 3:1-6). 'Devil' means slanderer. 'Satan' means adversary. When Lucifer deceived one-third of the angels through his slanderous accusations against God, he became God's enemy and was cast out of Heaven for the first time (Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18). The type of activities the dragon is involved in are clearly stated in the verse: he "deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). Satan is the mind behind all of the deceitful actions of his agents (Revelation 13:11-17; Revelation 18:2-3; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10).

Satan lost his dominion over the Earth, and that power was transferred to Jesus (see study #81). Remember what the celestial chorus was singing when Jesus sat on the throne? They were singing: "and we shall reign on the earth" and "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Revelation 5:10,12).

How do we know that the casting down of Satan mentioned in Revelation 12:9 happens after Christ's ascension to God's throne? The answer comes in the song the heavenly chorus started to sing after Satan was cast down. We read this song in Revelation 12:10-12. The key phrases in this section are: "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" and that the people overcame the dragon "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony". The blood of the Lamb is clearly referring to Christ's death. His followers are able to overcome the serpent because the Messiah resurrected and ascended to Heaven.

*** Overview ***: We are in the middle of a spiritual battle. This battle is more critical than any other physical war we may see happening among the different nations. The book of Revelation is concerned with the matters related to our eternal life. Too often we become distracted with superficial interpretations that seek to assign material explanations to the apocalyptic contents of this book. As Paul said, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The war is fought against the false arguments Satan wants to deceive us with. His arguments sound good, and even true but what he actually wants is to turn our attention away from God’s message. Even though this is a serious situation, we do not need to be afraid because Jesus has already provided a way for us to overcome it. Through Christ’s sacrifice, the blood He shed in our place, and through the Word of His testimony, we can also cast the dragon out, and give the dominion of our lives to Jesus. The first step to victory is to believe: to believe in the power of the Lamb who was slain, not on our own strength. The battle the enemy is waging against God’s people is the fight of our worship. Like the angels in Heaven, we must continue to praise God with all our soul. Whenever we find ourselves in the middle of a battle, and the bullets of temptations are flying all around us, we must remember the words of Jesus: "Begone, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:10).

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