The Weekend Word
5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
- This is so cool – because of God’s providence, the baby boy that was born of the woman was delivered from harm and John witnessed him being “caught up” to God in heaven. John did, indeed, witness this ascension along with the other apostles as is recorded in Acts 1:9-11.
- This is again the climax of history (note the again and again). The climax of history, the last days begin when Jesus is born. This is the fulfillment of Gen 3:15.
- Note that “she gave birth” – Satan does not succeed, she gives birth. Paul speaks of this in Gal 4 – in the fullness of time. Note that it is not Satan’s time schedule, but God’s.
- When they come to worship this king, the Christ child in the manger, they are worshiping the one who rules, lives and reigns to all eternity… even now.
- We know that this is the ascension by the throne language. See how Paul addresses this in Eph 1:19-23
- Satan has failed! Much like Snidley Whiplash – “Curses! Foiled again.”
6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
- Satan is foiled against destroying the child so he turns his attention to the church. The child is safe, but what about the woman? Left here on earth she is also safe. A place prepared by God = the wilderness.
- Why the wilderness? The beast lives in the great city – so God takes the church out to the wilderness – just as he had taken Israel out of Egypt and out of Pharaoh’s control into the wilderness.
- The wilderness is where his people can gather around him (Exodus 5 ‘Let my people go’). God takes them out of Egypt, slavery / bondage to the refuge of the wilderness.
- The wilderness / desert language is how God cares for his people (as it was in the OT). Fed by God with manna – the desert after escaping the great red dragon, Egypt, is the place where Israel first loved God – Jeremiah 2:1-3,
- As the church, what is our weapon against the red dragon? The word of God, the sword of the spirit according to Paul in Eph 6. In addition, we have our Lord’s promise in Matt 16 – “the gates of hell…”
- 1,260 days = the church age – the entire time of the NT era – the last days.
Satan Thrown Down to Earth
What follows in verses 7-9 is a great spiritual battle revealed to us in which Satan and his demons are thrust from heaven and cast to the earth. This event was previously alluded to in Luke 10:17-18 – “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name! And he said to them, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,
- ‘Now’ transitions us to something new in the vision.
- When does / did this take place? When Jesus came – when Jesus answered for all sin with his death on the cross – when he reconciled sinners to the Father – when he won forgiveness for all sinners and exchanged sin for his righteousness. 2 Cor 5.
- John’s little Revelation twist is that he is in a vision and is seeing things in the heavenly existence – seeing things from God’s perspective – not man’s. John wants us to see the work of Jesus from the cosmic perspective.
- How did the death of Christ affect the claims of Satan to be the rightful ruler of all people? John’s answer is found here in verses 7-9.
- The prosecution is obviously led by the dragon. The Devil = slanderer. Satan = the accuser.
- The leader of the defense team is called Michael. Who is Michael? – The archangel? Jesus?
- There are 3 great angels – Gabriel; Michael and Lucifer. Something I think about that I am sure only a few if any think of – what is to keep Michael say in 1,000 yrs making the declaration “I want to be God!”?
- One answer seems to be that Rev 21describes a new order in heaven as being free of such conflict. But what made Lucifer rebel?
8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
- At one time there was a place in heaven for them – not now.
9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
- Here we find that Satan had, up to this point, deceived the whole world. It was the Jews only that held the knowledge of the one true God. We will discuss this later in depth when we get to chapter 20.
- Wouldn’t it have been easier on mankind if Satan and his angels had been cast down to Mars instead of Earth?
- In God’s wisdom, he cast them down to be with us – we are in many ways Satan’s co conspirators. Although Satan tempted Adam & Eve to fall and to disobey, he did not make them do so.
10 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 have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
- This is the crushing of the serpents head. Satan can no longer accuse you / us to the Father – but he still thinks he will have another day.
- Today he accuses you to you – and our response should be “take it up with Jesus.”
- This is what you should be hearing in the divine worship service each week – you should be seeing things for what they are – you should see facts.
- It is funny in an odd way, because the Christian ‘sees’ by hearing God’s word proclaimed. You see the truth, Jesus is the winner, he is the victor and we share in that victory as he covers us in his blood and righteousness through forgiveness of sins proclaimed in the preaching of the gospel.
- This scene of worship in this chapter provides a decisive interpretation of the war in heaven (v,7-9). As we hear the account of the attack on the church by the terrible trinity in chapters 12-14, we are to remember this here in v.10.
- It should be noted that as the accusations once were day and night, now in this verse we see that heavenly worship goes on day and night – see also 4:8 and 7:15.
11 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.
- Just as Michael and the angels were able to overcome Satan’s power, so all the saints can now overcome his power through the “blood of the Lamb.”