Saturday, 30 September 2017 10:36

83. There was a party in Heaven * Revelation 12:10-12

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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, who accused them before our God day and night.

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 death.

12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

 

*** A party after the war in Heaven ***: Revelation 12:7 starts out with the phrase "And there was war in heaven”. Over the past two studies, we’ve seen how the dragon was cast out of Heaven when Christ ascended to the throne. Satan lost his official position as “ruler of the Earth”. Christ’s victory was sealed because He gave humanity a chance at redemption. He served the sentence in our place. This victory was the reason Heaven burst into a great moment of celebration. We also saw this same scene in Revelation 5:9-14. Once again, John heard the loud sound of heavenly voices praising Christ’s victory over the one who had been accusing humanity “before our God day and night.” (Revelation 12:10). Satan can no longer accuse us before the Lord. The dragon lost his rulership, but he did not stop to battle against God. As we will see in Revelation 12:12, he is concentrating his attacks and accusations elsewhere.

*** What are they celebrating? ***: The heavenly beings are celebrating redemption brought to humanity, Christ’s supreme power, God’s rulership, and the removal of the “accuser of our brethren” from the heavenly courts (Revelation 12:10). From the expression “day and night” we can understand that Satan used to present to God a flood of accusations against humans. This puts in perspective the attitude of the angels surrounding the throne of God, who would praise God and serve Him constantly day and night (Revelation 4:8; Revelation 7:15). In that sense, the way to defend ourselves against his attack is to worship God continuously. Talking about the armor Christians should wear during this spiritual battle we are on, Paul said: “Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thus with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:16-18). “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

*** How could humans overcome enemy attacks from the dragon? ***: At the cross, Jesus provided a way for people not to have to suffer eternal death. Jesus suffered that death in our place. Once we believe in Him, and accept His payment, our record will be wiped clean, and there will be nothing there that can be used against us. Any accusation will be completely false. Revelation 12:11 mentions 3 things that allow humans to overcome the dragon:

- The blood of the Lamb: Jesus is the “Lamb who was slain” for our transgressions (Revelation 5:6-9). His blood can clean our guilty record. But we must not confuse this blessing with a license to sin. Christ’s death was never meant to take away our free will. We are free to accept or reject Him at any point during the time He allowed to us. As long as we continue to accept the sacrifice He made as He served the sentence in our place, by confessing our sins, believing in Him, and accepting the transformation He wants to impart on us, our records will be Jesus’ own spotless record. Note that salvation is not due to anything that we do. Christ is the one who did everything and who continues to do things for us. He is the one who died in our place. Through His blood, our sins are forgiven. He is the one who can actually change our lives and turn us into a new creature. Our part is to accept. Our job is to choose and believe in Him (John 6:28, 29).

- The word of their testimony: Once we believe in Jesus’ sacrifice, we become His witnesses. When we accept His transforming powers and allow Him to change who we were into who He wants us to become, we start to show the world how powerful the God we serve is. We become living examples of that power and of God’s Truth. Just like the angels around the throne, who praise Him day and night, we must have God at the center of our worship and devotion.

- Love for God that goes beyond our love for our temporary life on Earth: The ones who are able to overcome the enemy are those who do not put themselves above anything else. Their love for God and trust in His message is the fuel that keeps them going even when their survival is in danger. This reminds us of the letter to Smyrna, where Christ’s message read: “be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). The life that we should really be concerned with is our eternal life. Whether we live on or die before Jesus’ Second Coming has absolutely no influence on whether or not we will be going to Heaven when Jesus returns. However, who we choose to serve while we are still alive on this planet can determine if we will be among the saved. This third item is perhaps the most difficult to understand. If we take it too literally, we may begin to think that we shouldn’t care about our well-being. Therefore, let’s not forget that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and that is why we need to take care of our physical and mental health. It is through our minds that we are able to connect to God. The importance of this third overcoming tool is to describe the overcomer as the person who has given themselves completely to the Lord.

*** Rejoice versus woe; inhabitants of Heaven versus inhabitants of the earth and sea ***: Revelation 12:12 clearly separates people into two groups: the inhabitants of Heaven and the inhabitants of the earth and sea. The first group is invited to celebrate, while the second group receives a warning. Once again, we see that there are only two sides in this cosmic spiritual war: God’s side and the enemy’s side. We’ve seen in our Revelation study that the faithful followers of God are considered heavenly citizens. Once they accept Jesus as their savior, they become children of God, kings, and priests (see study #5). On the other hand, those rejecting Heavenly citizenship remain as inhabitants of the earth and sea. The totality of the planet here is represented by "earth and sea”. Those are the people who do not wish to recognize Christ as the new ruler of the Earth. They are still following the former ruler, Satan. While God’s faithful people are freed from sin, those who refuse to believe in the Truth are still slaves. Instead of rejoicing in the victory Christ has allowed is followers to experience, the inhabitants of the planet are warned: “for the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath”. Satan is concentrating his attacks on people. He will try to keep as many people as possible from accepting God’s Truth and from giving themselves completely to the Lord. It is no coincidence that his agents on this planet are represented by a beast that comes from the sea and one that comes from the earth (Revelation 13:1-4, 11-16). Satan is very unhappy with his defeat and casting out of Heaven. He can no longer attack Christ directly, so his plan is to attack the object of Christ’s love: the people whom Jesus died for. It is a way for Satan to try and make Jesus’ death meaningless. That is his form of attack.

*** Satan’s time is short, and he knows it ***: Try, for a moment, to imagine how it must feel to be living forever. Think of the angels in Heaven, who have lived for thousands and thousands of our Earth years in the presence of God. When you are used to the concept of living forever, time is not an issue. A few hundred years seem like the blink of an eye. Lucifer, before he sinned, was used to this expectation - living forever. After the fall, he established his domain on Earth and had plans to ascended to the throne of God (Isaiah 14:13-14). After Jesus died and ascended to Heaven, to take His place at the throne of God, Satan lost any chance he thought he had to accomplish his goals. The dragon knew at that point that his demise was inevitable. Jesus will return, and Satan and his agents will be placed in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). When he lost that battle in Heaven, at Christ’s assertion to the throne, Satan knew his days were numbered. This made him turn his attention to the people. He decided to intensify his attacks and direct his wrath at them because he is on the losing side. The Bible talks about God’s wrath as the carrying out of His sentence on Earth after having gathered all those who belong to Him (Romans 9:22-29). But unlike God’s wrath, Satan’s wrath is not the source of justice. Satan is not seeking redemption of the faithful. He is seeking revenge. His quest is fueled by selfish reasons only. Satan doesn’t care about anybody else except himself. With the clock ticking rapidly until the day of his physical defeat, he will seek to deceive as many people as he can.

*** Overview ***: When Christ returned victorious to Heaven and sat down on the throne, next to the Father, Satan became furious. His evil character had been revealed to the Universe. Christ provided a way to save humanity and take rulership over the planet Earth back to Himself. The enemy was not strong enough to change what Jesus had accomplished. Satan and his angels were defeated and sent away. The scene of war quickly turned into the perfect picture of celebration. There was a party in Heaven. They were rejoicing in Christ’s victory. The heavenly beings don’t worship quietly. When they praise, they always do it with all their soul. With His death, Jesus broke the bonds that prevent people from becoming permanent citizens of Heaven. The way to overcome sin is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, to allow our lives to be a testimony of God’s love, and to trust and love God above all else. This is how we should be rejoicing every day. The party in Heaven must become the party in our hearts. We must celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin. Compared to eternity, the time we have to decide to live a life dedicated to Christ is short. The time to make our decision to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior is now. Say yes to Jesus daily, and you will overcome, just as He did (Revelation 3:21).

   
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