Satan's Warfare Unveiled—His Power and His Defeats (Revelation Sermon 21 of 49)
October 01, 2017 | Andrew Davis
Angels, Satan, Heaven
All my life I have been fascinated by wind. When I was a child, my dad took me hiking in one of the mountains in New Hampshire. We went up on a fire observation tower in the middle of the night and stood on the platform. The wind blowing through the ravine near us made a sound unlike any I had ever heard before. It was a deep, rich, full-throated, three-dimensional sound. I was captivated by it.
Recently, we have seen the incredible destructive power of wind with the hurricanes Harvey and Irma that have ripped through Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean Islands. We see the devastation from the power of invisible air molecules that are massed and moving in one direction. A fully mature hurricane is the most powerful event on earth — nothing else comes close — with possibly millions of cubic miles of air moving in one direction at up to 150 miles an hour. I saw photos in 1992 of Hurricane Andrew picking up a school bus and turning it upside down, dropping it on top of a two-story building.
I’ve been reading about Orville and Wilbur Wright. They put together an airplane, which they launched their heavier-than-air (900 pound) craft at Kitty Hawk, making history. Now a fully loaded 747, weighing 900,000 pounds — a thousand times heavier — lifts off with no trouble, supported in part by air.
Every moment of our lives we are surrounded by air molecules that are pressing on our skin at 14.7 pounds per square inch. This is the almost the cumulative force of the weight of a small car pressing on us at every moment. We do not notice it, can barely feel it until we fly on an airplane or ride in a fast elevator in a tall building and our ears pop with the shifting air pressure. Some of you may be sensitive enough to notice subtle changes in air pressure, but most of us are not.
The movement and action of invisible air molecules and air pressure is like the power of Satan and demons in the world, invisible powers of evil in the heavenly realms and the continual effect of Satan and his demons on us at every moment in our toilsome lives here on earth. Satan is called in Ephesians 2:2 “the prince of the power of the air.” It is an interesting expression.
Angels in other places are likened to winds. Hebrews 1:7 says, “He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.” We are so used to demons and their continual afflictions that we do not feel the effects they have on our physical health, minds, spirits, and morale. One day completely free from demonic effects and influence would be the greatest day of our lives. We would have abundant energy and be euphorically happy. Our obedience would be immediately easier in every respect. Someday we will have nothing but days like that. When the devil and his angels are cast into the lake of fire, we will be free forever. But we are not free yet. We need to be mindful of the power of Satan and his demons and the influence they have on our lives.
In 1986, Christian novelist, Frank Peretti published a novel called This Present Darkness, in which he elucidated through fiction a continual warfare between demons and angels on planet earth that is hidden from our eyes but has a continual impact on current events and on how we live. Admittedly, Peretti’s theology is somewhat shaky at points, and his imagination runs wild at other points, especially when he starts describing what the demons and angels look like and aspects of their battle, their warfare, that, putting it gently, go beyond Scripture.
Given society’s normal outlook of materialism, the idea that atoms and physical energy is all there is in the universe, we are swimming in that secular sea all the time. We are rarely mindful of the devil and demons. We need a vast correction, perhaps not so far as Peretti goes, but based in Scripture. Revelation 12 gives us this apocalupsis, an unveiling of future events that we would not know any other way.
Here we see Satan, this red dragon, unveiled before our eyes spiritually, and with him, his angels, or demons. Scripture wants us to be aware of the existence and power of the devil and his demons and their schemes. Ephesians 6:11-13 says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Last week in Revelation 12, we looked back to Satan’s evil actions at the time of the birth of Christ when he acted to move King Herod to slaughter all the baby boys in Bethlehem. Today, we will look back to Satan’s original fall from heaven. We will also look ahead to a future and final battle in the heavenly realms, Satan’s fall from the heavenly realms to earth right before the end of the world, and his vicious, relentless attacks on the people of God on earth. We will peer behind the veil that separates the physical realm from the spiritual. By faith we will see the true power, the malevolent, intelligent, powerful enemy, behind the events that come against the people of God on earth.
Powerful but Defeated Foe
Satan, the “Dragon”
Satan is a powerful but defeated foe. One point of this chapter and the point of everything in redemptive history is to show the greatness of God, of Christ. How great is our Savior to be able to defeat such a powerful foe? We end up worshiping Christ and hiding behind him as He does battle for us, because we could never face such a foe alone. We are not alone. Jesus is infinitely more powerful than Satan.
A Massive Drama with Key Figures
This massive drama unfolds with key figures. The great dramatic presentations in human literary, cinematic and stage endeavors — none of which comes close to the drama of this chapter in Revelation — such as Shakespeare’s tragedies like Hamlet, Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, and MGM’s 1959 movie Ben Hur with Charlton Heston (my all-time favorite movie, which boasted the most expensive studio set at the time — $15 million — before the advent of computer graphics made it easier), spend time on detailed character development to fit with the spectacular sets, incredible music, and epic action.
Satan, the red dragon, is the central focus. Revelation 12:3 says, “Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.” Verse 9 clearly identifies him: “The great dragon was hurled down-- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” We are not left wondering about the mystery of the dragon’s identity.
We meet the woman in verses 1-2, “A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” This is the nation of Israel exalted and perfected, the heavenly Zion. She gives birth to Jesus and then to children who obey God and follow Jesus. It specifically zeros in on Israel, because there is a future in redemptive history for the physical descendants of Abraham called the Jews. Jesus admonished, in Matthew 24, for the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea to run for their lives when they see the abomination of desolation in the temple and to pray that their flight will not take place on the Sabbath. Those aspects depict a Jewish setting, so it is reasonable to see this woman from whom Jesus came as Israel, but exalted in the heavens with glory.
The fact that she has other children refers to the woman, the heavenly Zion, that we saw in Isaiah many times. Isaiah 66:8, for example, says, “Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” Zion’s many children in Revelation 12 are believers in Christ, both Jew and Gentile, adding to the image of the perfected Zion.
The male child, in Verse 5, who will rule the whole world with an iron scepter, based on Psalm 2, is definitely Jesus, Son of David, Messiah, King of the World. In Revelation 19, he has that iron scepter with which to strike down the nations.
Satan’s Failed Attack on the Male Child
The storyline follows Satan’s vicious, malicious attacks against Christ and His people and his desire to take over Heaven and earth, to rule the universe through his wickedness. He attacks Christ and God’s people, but he fails at everything he sets out to do, five times in this chapter. He is powerful but ultimately a failure. Last week we saw his failed attack on the male child. He stands in front of the pregnant woman to devour her child as soon as he is born, but the child is snatched up to God and to His throne. This represents the physical attack on baby Jesus when he was born, which resulted in the slaughter of all the baby boys in Bethlehem. In addition to the human side of that, we should also see the demonic devilish aspect of it — Satan was trying to kill Jesus before his time.
War in Heaven
War in Heaven Described
Verses 7-12 focus on the war in Heaven and Satan cast down. verse 7 asserts simply, “And there was war in heaven…” The combatants are also identified in verse 7: “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.” The angels in Heaven are divided, righteous angels versus wicked angels. They fight in the heavenly realms, led by the dragon — Satan — on one side and Michael on the other.
In Jude 9, Michael, one of only two named angels in the Bible (the other being Gabriel) is called an Archangel. The word “arch” in the Greek means ruler. He is an authoritative angel in charge of other angels, fighting against Satan. He is revealed in Daniel 10 and 12 as a special protector of Israel.
What is the nature of angelic warfare? Speculating biblically, trying to stay close to the text, I reject the idea of angel hospitals or wounded on either side. They cannot die, and they each know that the other cannot die. It seems, then, that both angels and demons intend to act toward people. They move out with a purpose and their opposites try to stop or thwart that purpose. That is the nature of the warfare.
The devil and his angels have evil intentions toward human beings but find themselves blocked by good angels. Conversely, the good angels intend to obey God’s commands on humans’ behalf but find themselves blocked by demons. They are unable, for a time, to get through to do what they intend. For example, an angel was dispatched to Daniel to bring him a message, an answer to prayer. However, he is delayed for twenty-one days because the prince of Persia, a demon more powerful than him, thwarts him until Michael comes to block the prince of Persia, like a block in football. The angel is then able to finish his mission to Daniel.
There are no angelic feathers fluttering to the ground or limbs hacked off — that is outside of Scripture. The angel and demon forces act for good or evil both offensively and defensively — wicked intentions blocked by good angels, good intentions blocked by wicked angels. The omnipotent God of the universe seems to stay back and let them battle it out on roughly equal terms, but then He moves forward as only He can to influence the outcome of this battle to achieve His purposes in redemptive history. Everything is right on schedule.
The key detail of this battle is that Satan is not strong enough. Michael is stronger. Perhaps not one-on-one, it could be that Satan is God’s most powerful individual creation — but cumulatively, the devil and his one-third of the angels are not strong enough to defeat Michael and his two-thirds of the angels. Satan is not strong enough so he loses his place in heaven. His punishment is strongly emphasized by repetition: They lose their place in heaven, the great dragon is hurled down to earth with all his angels.
In this text, Satan is called “the great dragon,” a picture of “primeval power of chaos,” as one commentator put it — a massive force for chaos and wickedness. He is the ultimate mastermind behind every non-Christian mental scheme, religion or philosophy that has ever allured people away from Christ. That is the nature of his thoughts — wicked but brilliant, far beyond our intellect and power.
He is also called “that ancient serpent,” clear evidence that the serpent in the garden was the devil talking through that snake. “Ancient” refers back to the beginning of history; he is also called “ancient” because he has affected every single era of redemptive history in which brothers and sisters saved by the blood of Christ have had to fight the devil and his angels through persecution. The term “serpent” takes us to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve fell into sin through the serpent’s enticement. He is a puppet master behind creative beings, causing them do evil while he stays hidden.
He is called the devil, “diabolos”, which means deceiver. The word “Satan” in Hebrew means accuser or adversary, specifically in a legal sense as in a court trial. He is the accuser, the prosecuting attorney. He leads the whole world astray. When he tempted Jesus on that mountain in Luke 4, he said, “The whole world has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.”
1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” He rules the world in the sense of the wickedness that is done on earth. He leads the entire world into sin by temptation and then accuses sinners before the throne of God. Specifically, he leads the world astray from devotion to Christ. His top priority is to deceive the world about Jesus or away from Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” His focus is to blind people to prevent them from seeing how glorious Jesus is, how good, how beautiful, what a powerful Savior. This is the one whom Michael and his angels defeated and threw down to the earth.
Celebration of the Victory
Verses 10-12 celebrate the victory, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
There is great joy in Heaven as Michael wins the battle and the devil is thrown down. The heavens shout in praise and worship with a single loud voice — maybe Michael or a worship angel. The voice celebrates the coming of the salvation, power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ. The angel’s words show the greatness of what we will experience some day, the kingdom of God in Christ on earth forever. We look forward to that.
The celebration specifically rejoices that Satan, the accuser of the brothers — Christian men and women around the world — is cast down. Satan is particularly wicked and hypocritical in that he orchestrates every temptation and allurement that lures people into sin, and then once we actually commit sins, violate God's law and the conscience He has put in us, Satan turns and becomes righteous, quoting the law and accusing us before God. In a sense he is correct — we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He knows every careless word we have spoken. He can guess at the intentions of our heart, as he does with Job. He accuses us day and night before the throne of God.
These Christians overcame Satan, praise God. By their faith in Christ, they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their witnessing, their testimony. Jesus conquered Satan and the world for us. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He is our conquering king. He destroyed him who held the power of death, the devil, by his death and resurrection. But he speaks to us, His followers, challenging us to overcome. He commands each of us, brothers and sisters in Christ, to be warriors, to overcome the devil.
At the end of each of the letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3, he promises, “To the one who overcomes, I will give treasures and rewards.” We are called on to overcome Satan. The greatest way you can defeat the devil is come to Christ, to believe in Jesus. Believe that He is God, that he died on the cross for your sins, that you are a sinner saved by grace through faith in Christ. If you come to that place in your life, you have overcome the world. You are a conquering victor. 1 John 5:4-5 says, “…everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” You get the gold medal, the victor’s crown, at the end of this marathon race, just by believing in Jesus. Just by coming to faith in Christ and having your sins forgiven by the blood of the Lamb, you have overcome Satan.
Paul said in Romans 8:35-37, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We overcome by the blood of the Lamb for ourselves. Our sins have been taken off of us and transferred spiritually onto a substitute, Jesus. He died a bloody death that we deserved, under the wrath of God’s law, and his righteousness transferred to us. We stand pure and holy in Christ. That is how we conquer the devil.
But beyond that, we conquer by preaching the gospel, by the word of our testimony. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes onto you and you'll be my witnesses.” We destroy Satan by preaching the Gospel. You can move the kingdom of darkness back a little by sharing the Gospel with a non-Christian. If they hear and believe, the kingdom of Heaven has advanced just a little bit more. You overcame, and you conquered the devil by the word of your testimony.
Revelation 12:11 says of that second aspect of the ministry, “…they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Oh, how glorious is the history of the church, of brothers and sisters in Christ of whom this can be said! Perpetua, a Roman high-born lady who came to faith in Christ, was arrested and sentenced to death. She said to the procurator, “While I live, I shall defeat you and if you kill me, I shall defeat you even more.” I cannot wait to meet that lady. Polycarp was threatened with being burned at the stake. It would be a horror to die that way, but he was unafraid. “For 86 years I have served Him and He has never done me wrong. How could I betray my King who loved me?” Jan Hus, in the 15th century, about to be burned at the stake, said, “What I preach with my lips, I now see with my life.” These martyrs did not write their famous last words in advance. The Holy Spirit gave them the words to say.
They said courageous things then died gloriously, with welcomes into heaven with victors’ crowns. The Gospel is advanced by the seed of martyrs who shed their blood so others can come to faith. They did not keep their faith in Jesus secret; they did not love their lives too much in this world. The Apostle Paul, knew in Acts 20 that he would be arrested and beaten in Jerusalem and then probably killed. However, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” [Acts 20:24] At the end of time, in the final three and a half years of human history, the number of martyrs, the amount of believers’ blood shed violently, will increase exponentially. The level of courage it will take to stand in the face of Satan and the Antichrist and his henchmen, to be a Christian in those days, will be indescribable.
But the Lord will be up to it; he will bolster his people through the Holy Spirit, strengthening their courage and commitment to Christ. The church will go out gloriously, but it will be a bloody time. Jesus said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” [Matthew 10:37-38]
What about you and me? This is very convicting: “They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” How much do we shrink back from suffering, whether in the internal journey of holiness or the external journey of gospel advance? We come to a difficult moment and we shrink back and sin, and do not say anything about Jesus. We should all be convicted and take our guilty souls to God and say, “Oh God I am so weak. I am not like these courageous brothers and sisters. Make me courageous. Make me strong in the moment of temptation to be holy for you. Make me strong in the moment of witnessing to be courageous and bold for you.”
Verse 12 proclaims joy in Heaven and woe to the earth. “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” It is one of the few scriptural statements about the inner workings of the mind of the devil. We are told that he is angry because he knows his time is short. Woe to the earth and the sea because of the rage of the devil.
Past or future battle?
When did this battle happen, or when will it happen? It is possible that it goes back to the beginning of time, before Adam and Eve were in the Garden. There are indications of this in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. God created Satan as a beautiful cherub. He put him in the Garden where he became impressed with his own beauty, wisdom and power. Isaiah 14 describes how he decided to try to take over Heaven. He said, “I will ascend and make myself like the most high.” Both passages depict him as being cast down. Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven.” Satan was cast down to the earth a long time ago.
However, it is possible that it refers to a yet future battle in heaven. This future event will cut off the devil’s access to God’s throne to accuse us. In Job 1, Satan appears before the throne and reports to God that he has been roaming the earth. We also see in Job 2 that he has access to the throne to make accusations. He accuses Job not of sin but of his true motive for being such a righteous God-follower.
Zechariah 3:1-5 also depicts Satan’s access to the throne: “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’ Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.’ [Then Zachariah, like most of the prophets, cannot keep from involving himself.] Then I said, ‘Put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.” What a picture of our salvation, of Satan being totally discredited and cast down as he tries to accuse one of the Lord’s elect, one of His followers. But for now, he has that access, so he is before the throne day and night, accusing our brothers and sisters around the world.
Revelation 12 may refer to a future final battle in the heavenly realms between the Archangel Michael and Satan, when he is thrown down right before the end. That brings us to that three and a half years, 1260 days, when he chases the woman. Eschatology is complex, but the 1260 days — also called a time, times and half a time, or 70 weeks in the book of Daniel — is code for the final phase of human history.
War on Earth
The Final Phase of the Dragon’s Warfare
But woe to the earth when the devil is thrown down. It will be the worst time in history. The devil is filled with rage. He has known all along that his time was short, meaning not eternal, and that the lake of fire was meant for him and his angels. That will be preceded by the final phase of this chapter, woe on earth as Satan pursues the woman, and her children. It begins in verse 6: “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”
After the woman, Zion, gives birth to the male child, Christ, he is snatched up to heaven where the devil cannot reach him. The devil, not able to reach Christ, focuses his rage on Christ’s followers, just as Paul persecuted the church but was actually persecuting Christ — “‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’… ‘Who are you Lord?’ …’I am Jesus the one you are persecuting.’” Satan cannot harm the head, Jesus, who is in Heaven, so he attacks the body, namely the woman who gave birth to the male child. She flees into the desert for 1260 days.
The Devil Focuses on the Woman
The devil focuses on the woman, who is still on earth. Verse 13 says, “When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.” Verse 6 shows from the woman’s perspective her protection in the desert, and verse 13 shows the other half of the equation. The devil chases her, so she flees to a protected place. The desert represents a place of refuge or protection. Elijah ran from wicked king Ahab and Jezebel into the desert, where he is fed by ravens by a brook. Later he flees again and is given supernatural food and protection in the desert. It is a place of protection where the devil through the wicked ruler cannot get to him.
In verse 14, the story develops with more detail: “The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.” This seems to be a metaphor for speed and protection. With wings of an eagle she keeps ahead of her pursuers; speed matters. Jesus says, “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter…” [Mark 13:14-18] It is a terrible time of fleeing; there is no time to get any possessions.
Israel is immediately disillusioned, realizing that Judaic animal sacrifice will not be re-established. The Antichrist has taken over the temple and begins to persecute these monotheists, followers of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so they run. At that point, witnesses are able to share Christ or they somehow realize Jesus is their Savior. They become Christian Jews and now Jesus will protect them.
The image of the eagle evokes hovering and wings of protection. There are many psalms about how God covers us with his wings or his feathers, like a mother eagle lifting up her young from the surface of the earth to carry them out of danger. They will have three and a half years of protection.
A River Spewed from Satan’s Mouth
The devil spews a river in verse 15: “Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.” We usually think of dragons as fire-breathing but this is a river-spewing dragon. Water flows from his mouth like a river to sweep the woman away. The best way to interpret this is an army of Antichrist’s forces, a long army that goes on for miles and looks like a long river or a serpent, marching out to chase after her in the desert.
This image is the very one given to us in Jeremiah 1, speaking about the Babylonian invasion from the north. Jeremiah saw a pot, boiling with water, tipping over. The hot liquid poured out and became a clear metaphor for the Babylonian troops spilling down from the north destroying Jerusalem. Here, we have the same thing, a river flowing. They are literal soldiers, sent out by the Antichrist to follow the fleeing Jews and slaughter them.
But God controls Heaven and earth. Verse 16 says, “But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.” This reminds me of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram who rebelled against Moses in the days of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt. Moses said to the people, “If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.” [Numbers 16:30] That is exactly what happened to those rebels and it seems like that is what happens here. The ground opens up and swallows the river that flows from the mouth of Satan. Thus, he is once again thwarted.
The Final Phase
That brings us to verse 17, the final phase. This flight into the desert upon seeing the abomination of desolation is centered on Jerusalem and Judea. However, the woman’s children are not limited to Jewish believers living in Israel. “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring-- those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” The rest of the woman’s children include believers in Christ all over the world during the time of the Antichrist who will be the focus of Satan’s vicious attacks. Many of them will die martyrs’ deaths.
It will be so bad that it will precipitate the Second Coming of Christ from Heaven to rescue his bride. He said, “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.” [Mark 13:20] Jesus will return to rescue his bride and establish His eternal kingdom.
The end Revelation 12 focuses on Satan standing by the sea shore to call up the Beast from the Sea, otherwise known as the Antichrist.
Come to Christ!
Let us apply these truths to our own lives. First and foremost, flee to Christ now. The devil is active, skillful, and powerful, and he is deluding people who do not trust in Christ yet, blinding their eyes against Jesus. Maybe God brought you here today to open your eyes and to see the glories of God and Christ, to see how beautiful, how powerful and majestic He is.
God sent His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus, born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life and performed signs and wonders. He healed a man born blind, fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish, walked on water, spoke to the winds and the waves and they obeyed Him; he raised his friend Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. All of these signs and wonders show His compassion, but they also show his power, his identity. He is God in the flesh, and he came to save sinners like you and me.
I urge you, while there is time, to shake off the chains of deception that are around your soul. Come to Christ and find forgiveness in him. You can overcome the attacks of the devil by the blood of the Lamb, by believing in Jesus.
Put On Spiritual Armor, Fight, and Stand Firm!
Christians, you have already fled to Christ, but the devil still accuses you day and night. Do you ever feel his accusations mingled with guilt over sin? The devil means you harm; the Holy Spirit means to heal you. You must discern between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the accusations of the devil. They are talking about the same things, the violation of your conscience through your sin. You do not deny it; you know you have said and done some things that you should not have, or you have been spiritually lazy, leaving something undone that you ought to have done.
Maybe it has to do with your quiet time or with witnessing. Perhaps there are things in your marriage or what you do on the Internet in secret. Maybe it has to do with how you spend your money, or even how you are not spending it. You know you have sinned, you have violated your conscience and the law of God — the devil is right about that. But he is wrong about you. God will vindicate you one day against this devious accuser by casting him down into the lake of fire.
The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, means to heal you. He presses your conscience, shows you the Word of God, and brings you again to Jesus, to the atoning work of Christ and to the confession of sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9] Overcome the devil’s accusations by the blood of the Lamb and by the power of the Holy Spirit working in you to live a holy life. If you do not want to confess something later this week, then do not do it. Be holy, put sin to death by the power of the Spirit, and put on your spiritual armor. But the devil is smart. We are not unaware of the his schemes, but so many of us live as though we are. Be aware of what he is trying to do in your life — in your marriage, your work life, your thought life.
Do Not Love Your Life
Do not love your lives in this world too much. I fear this is our biggest sin we struggle in the affluent, comfortable West.“They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Do you love your life in this world too much? Start, as Jesus said, “hating your life” in this world a little more each day. Do not look for easy comfortable times in this world; be willing to become unpopular at work if that is what it takes. There are ways to share Christ that are more or less disarming, but are we not called upon to become unpopular is that is what it takes? We should be “shrewd as a serpent” but willing to be humbled in the process. Talk about Christ. Do not love your life so much in this world that you shrink back from serving Christ fully.
Father, thank you for the things we have learned today about the activities of the dragon, the devil, and his angels, the demons. We are assaulted every moment by we chains we cannot see; we feel the pull of magnetic attractions that we cannot see, temptations to sin. Oh, God, help us to stand firm and give us courage. Help us to think like New Testament people, to think like future inhabitants of the new Heaven and the new earth. Help us to be bold and courageous warriors for you. Thank you that you have defeated the devil on our behalf. Help us to live like conquering kings and queens. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.