Exegetical look into Revelation 12:7-12

 

There was war in heaven. The ultimate spiritual warfare (John 1:5).

  • Michael. As the agent of Christ, he is depicted as God’s messenger and the Archangel, the advocate, and guardian angel of Israel. Here, he is the agent of Christ who vanquishes Satan. Many Jews at the time of Christ believed that Michael would save then from harm in the last days (Dan. 10:13-21; 12:1; Jude 9).
  • His angels. Those who are God’s messengers and agents, who are loyal, serve and worship Him.
  • Fought. The battle has been waged and has been won by our Lord. The language imagery is both an epic violent conflict and a judicial ruling. In Jewish thinking, all of humanity was divided up between those who follow the “Prince of Light” or those who follow the “Angel of Darkness.” The ultimate battle is portrayed that of classic good versus evil—God versus Satan. Although popular lore says these are equal powers, the Bible clearly shows us that only God is sovereign and Satan’s thinking he can take on God shows his depravity, stupidity, and desperateness.
  • Dragon. A representative of Satan or actually Satan. The context shows us it is Satan. This is a reference to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. It is also a description of Satan’s ways and strategies to lead the whole world astray, and a destructive beast who seeks the total devastation of God’s people (Gen. 3; Rev. 12:3; 20:2).
  • And his angels. Those who follow Satan and evil, demons, and other evil spiritual entities are in view here (Rom. 8:37-39).
  • Hurled down means exclusion or expulsion. This, in context, is referring to the battle to prevent the finished work of Christ; it does not necessarily refer to the original pre-human casting of Satan out of heaven (2 Cor. 11:3).
  • Ancient Serpent means sharpness of vision, cunning, and being malicious. It was also a Jewish term meaning hostility against God’s people. Satan’s fate was to be crushed by the woman’s seed, who is Christ. This term refers to his “crookedness”, “craftiness”, and “deceitfulness.” This name reveals the first reference to Satan in the Bible, as he stalked and deceived Eve. His intention is malice, fury, and cruelty, all directed toward God’s truth and God’s people (Gen. 3:1; Is. 27:1; Rev. 12:9; 20:2).  
  • Devil. This term occurs in the New Testament only; it is a name for Satan that comes from the Greek word “diabolos” meaning a “traducer” and “false accuser.” It is also used for a person who throws things at other people. It means to accuse, slander, and lead astray (Matt. 13:39; Luke 22:31; John 13:2; Eph. 6:11; Rev. 12:10). 
  • Satan means “the accuser” in contrast to Michael being “an advocate.” Satan is the accuser of those who are righteous. He acts like a prosecuting attorney before God’s court to those he knows are innocent. In contrast, Jesus is the Defense Attorney. This term means “adversary;” he is the Chief Adversary both to God and to humans (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:2f; Job 16; Zech. 3:1-2; Matt. 4:10). 
  • Leads the whole world astray. This is the character of Satan and evil; his chief goal is to seduce us away from God by any means, such as tricking or tempting us with what we want so he can distract us away from Christ. 
  • Salvation… authority of his Christ implies that the Work of Christ on the Cross is finished; He came to do the work He did, it is done and completed, and He is the victor. He is the One who delvers and rescues us, versus Satan who does the opposite (John 19:30; Rom. 8:33-34; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-15).
  • Accuser is Satan’s name in Hebrew. It is how he operates as our slanderer; he accuses and slanders those who are God’s children, and whose faith is in Him. Most likely, Satan no longer is able to go before God and accuse us because he has been thrown out of heaven. At any result or rule, he does not have sway over a person of faith (Job 1:9-11; Zech 3:1-5; John 16:11). 
  • They overcame. We have atonement by Christ’s blood for our sins, so Satan cannot use our sins against us although he still tries to by creating self-doubt and other tools of manipulation to deceive and seduce us. A wise Christian can stand against Satan’s accusations by faith and knowledge and by knowing and trusting in who and what Christ has done; Satan’s accusations have no power or merit and thus are no reason for us to be anxious about (Rom. 8:31-39).
  • Blood of the Lamb. This contains the essential, Christian salvation message. This is an image of how Israel was redeemed out of Egypt and led into the Promised Land. It was the blood of the Passover Lamb that protected them; now, Christ is the ultimate depiction and application of this¾Jesus Saves (Mark 10:45; 1 Cor. 6:20; Rev. 1:5; 5: 9; 7:14)!
  • Word of their testimony. This infers that we have a legal right, by what Christ has given, to be represented by Christ; His work covers and protects us from Satan’s accusations.
  • Did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. This was Jewish saying to mean “valor” and a willingness to be martyred and to profess faith and victory to overcome fear before going to war. This was recited before a battle to show allegiance and courage (Judges 5:18).
  • The devil has gone down to you. We have the opportunity and ability to either be influenced by Satan and evil or to turn our hearts to Christ alone. In Jewish lore, it was believed that Satan would be unleashed to fight against the people of faith during the End of Days.
  • He knows that his time is short. Satan’s authority and dominion are still under God’s sovereignty; he can do only what God allows for His purpose. Satan has lost and fights like a cornered animal as well as using all the weapons at his disposal to oppose God’s people and goodness. In the last days, he will become more intensely and hostile toward the people of God.
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