WAR IN HEAVEN

Scripture Reading: Revelation 12:7-17

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” (Revelation 12:7,8)

We are now given a retake of the first part of the vision. This time we see it from the perspective of heaven. This is not to be viewed chronologically, but from another angle.

There was war in heaven. The battle ends with the defeat of the dragon and his army who are thrown out of heaven. Because of this defeat, the salvation wrought by God in Christ becomes manifest — “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 has 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'” (vs. 10,11). God’s power is vindicated and His rule in the hearts of His people is established. Jesus said to His disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).

Because of this defeat, Satan is filled with wrath — “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” (v. 12b).

Satan failed in his attempt to devour the child (v. 5), so now his attention is drawn to the woman who gave birth to the male child (v. 13). He now goes after those who belong to Christ. The woman is a symbol of the church. However, God provides protection — “But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time” (v. 14). Satan continues his attack upon the woman and her offspring — “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (v. 17). Hopefully you realize that this is referring to us, God’s children.

From this passage we learn these essentials truths. First, Satan is actively hostile to the purposes of God and to the people of God. He is armed with many devices and we must be prepared to resist his attacks. Second, God provides us with the armor we need to withstand Satan’s attack. Paul describes the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-13. Third, Satan is a defeated foe whose doom is sure, which explains why he is so angry. His time is short! The words of Martin Luther’s hymn, A Mighty Fortress, reminds us of Satan’s doom:

And tho this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us. We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure. For lo, his doom is sure: one little word shall fell him.

Lord Jesus, thank You for providing me with the armor I need to withstand the attacks of the evil one. Enable me to be on constant guard for the many schemes Satan uses against me. You are my King and I know that You will defend and protect me.

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