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Revelation 12:7-12 “Michael’s Defeat Of The Dragon”

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THE TEXT:

Rev 12:7-12 KJV

(7)  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
(8)  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
(9)  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
(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, which 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 the death.
(12)  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

THE INTRODUCTION:

Following the sounding of trumpet seven, in preparation for the completion of God’s wrath upon lost mankind and the kingdoms of the world, John’s attention is now turned to another amazing symbolic vision.

To help us better understand the contents of the seventh trumpet, the Lord gives to John a vision that will explain, in great detail, the history of the world’s kingdoms.  This will keep the wrath of trumpet seven in the context of world history and the great wrongs that have been committed by the world’s kingdoms, and the judgment that they face because of those wrongs.

A short outline of chapter 12 includes:

  1. The Woman and The Child (12:1-6)
  2. Michael’s Defeat Of The Dragon (12:7-12)
  3. The Persecution and Flight Of The Woman (12:13-17)

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Rev 12:7-12 KJV

(7)  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

John now sees a war that is taking place in the abode of God.  Please notice in this context “heaven” clearly is describing
God’s abode, it was from this “heaven” that Satan was cast out at his fall (vs 8-9).

This war consists of two warring parties, Michael and his angels versus the dragon and his angels.  As we saw previously in this vision, the “dragon” is symbolic of Satan with “his angels” referring to the fallen angels (demons) that were cast from heaven with him.

But who is Michael?  The archangel, Michael, is mentioned in the Bible several times…

  1. Daniel 10:13-21 – Michael revealed truth to Daniel
  2. Daniel 12:1 – Michael is said to send God’s wrath upon earth in latter days
  3. I Thess 4:16 – Christ’s second coming is accompanied by Michael’s voice
  4. Jude 9 – Many people believe that this is speaking of Michael opposing Satan concerning the disposal of Moses’ body (God buried Moses’ body which reflects the victory Michael had over Satan through intervention of God Deut 34:6) It appears that Satan wanted possession of Moses’ body (for an unknown reason) but Michael opposed him and won the victory. This is what allowed God then to bury Moses’ body.

However, it is important to remember that “Moses body” could be referring to Israel (the body of God’s people that were physically led by Moses).   Satan was constantly at work trying to overcome Jerusalem (the capital of Israel) with deceit and the powers of Gentile nations around them (Zech 3:1-2).  This was an effort to stop the first coming of Christ by destroying His ancestry prior to His birth.  I believe this is a better, more clear understanding of this verse.

Please note that Michael pictures the work of Christ and, perhaps, is actually Christ in each of these activities.  Michael reveals truth to man, he sends wrath upon sinful man, and his voice is heard at Christ’s second coming.  Christ is victorious over Satan by relying upon His Father and His Word.

All of this helps us to see that throughout the Bible Michael is a picture of Christ (or perhaps Christ Himself).  Keep in mind the name “Michael” means “who is like God” and the title “archangel” means “rule or rank above angels”.  Both of these can easily refer to Christ Himself.

If Michael is a picture of Christ, what then is this war that is taking place?

This war was Satan’s attempts to stop Christ before He could be crucified and complete His ministry…
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (Joh 12:31 KJV)

Why did He say this when Satan had been cast out of heaven prior to the fall on man 4000 years prior?   He said this in reference to His crucifixion which would be the basis of Satan’s defeat and His authority over Satan (Hebs 2:14-15, 1 Peter 3:18-22).     In that sense, the judgment of this world was accomplished and Satan was cast out of heaven at His crucifixion.

At His crucifixion, Christ (Michael in this vision) was victorious over Satan (this dragon).  He had overcome all of Satan’s attempts to stop Him and He had won the final victory over Satan and the powers of sin and death.  (Heb 2:9-18)

 

(8)  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  

Satan and the other fallen angels were unable to overcome Michael and his followers (Luke 19:38, Col 1:20).  This was the basis of Satan’s and the fallen angel’s banishment from heaven and the presence of God.  it is as if this is now a “flashback” to Satan’s fall showing John what had taken place because Christ had defeated Satan on the cross.

Note: In God’s mind, even before the world began, the crucifixion of Christ was as good as done.  Christ had been promised to come in the future and be the Defender and Savior of His People.  God cannot lie, He is faithful to His promises.  Although this took place prior to the coming of Christ… it was an absolute certainty…Christ would come and defend and deliver His people and defeat Satan, Death and Sin.  Because of this, Satan could be cast out based upon Christ’s death that had not yet taken place.   Likewise, the salvation of the OT saints was fully accomplished during the times of the Old Testament, even though Christ’s death had yet to have taken place.

(9)  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

At the casting out of Satan (following his sin, at the beginning of the world), he then is found upon earth with the other fallen angels (demons) (Isa 14:12, Ezek 28:17, John 8:44, 1 John 3:8) .  Satan and his demons, because of their sinful condition is now actively working on the earth, seeking to hinder the work of Christ by opposing the people of God (1 Peter 5:8-9, Job 1:8, 2:1).

Note the names of Satan in this passage:

  1. old serpent – sly, cunning, harmful – He uses deceit and cunning to lead us from God’s will.
  2. Devil – accuser, slanderer – He is an accuser of the brethren
  3. Satan – adversary – he opposes Christ and His people seeking to stop them from their appointed ministries
  4. great dragon – enthrall, captivate, mesmerize – A part of his deceitfulness is making sin look beautiful and desirous.

In general, we can say that deception is the prime weapon that Satan uses against us.  He is able to deceive the whole world (men of every race, nation, family, language, etc) (2 Copr 4:3-4).  However, through the gracious intervention of the Lord in our lives He can open the eyes of the blinded and deceived and show them the truths of His Word (Acts 26:18, Eph 1:18, 2 Cor 4:6).

(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, which accused them before our God day and night.

Now John hears the voice of God’s people which are in heaven.  Why just one “voice” instead of “voices”?  Perhaps this shows one purpose and motive behind this saying.  Those in heaven are perfectly united to honor and glorify Christ, their Savior.

They are praising the Lord for the victory He has gained over Satan as He was crucified and arose again, and its results.  One of which was clearly seen in the casting out of Satan.  Now they begin praising Him for other results as well…

  1. salvation – the deliverance of His people from sin, death, and Satan’s grasp
  2. strength – the strength given to His people enabling them to overcome Satan and the forces of darkness.
  3. kingdom of God – the rule of the Lord in the hearts of His people removing them from sin and Satan’s bondage.
  4. power of Christ – the authority Christ given to His people to be overcomers (victors) in the face of Satanic opposition.

Satan is described as “the accuser of the brethren” in this passage.  The key to understanding this title is found in Zech 3:1-2…

“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.  And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? “

Satan accuses the people of God if their faults, sins, and times of failure in their service to Christ.  Following their salvation, he is attempting to gain their rejection by the Lord for their sinful deeds.  In this case, he was trying to find fault with Jerusalem, for whom Joshua the priest was making intercession.  The Lord’s response, Jerusalem had been chosen by God, therefore there is nothing Satan could do to bring separation between the two.  Satan was to be rebuked for his deceitful criticisms of Jerusalem.

Rom 8:33-34 KJV –

“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.   Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

(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 the death.

Satan’s accusations of God’s people, were to no avail.  All of their sins had been paid for (past, present and future) by Christ on the cross, although they still committed sin all had been paid for by Christ, covered in His blood.  Believer’s sins were no longer an issue.  (Romans 8:33-39)

They had overcome all of Satan’s accusations by the blood of Christ (blood of the Lamb), their speech (word of their testimony) and their actions (loved not their lives unto death) which proved they were genuinely saved.

(12)  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Based upon Satan’s inability to separate God’s people from the Lord, all in heaven are to rejoice.  Those who have already died, at the time of Christ’s death, are with the Lord in heaven and have nothing about which to be concerned.

However, God’s people who are yet living on earth and in the sea, are facing tremendous harm at the hands of Satan.  They are to greatly beware of his workings in their lives.  He burns with anger at the people of God because he has been defeated by Christ at the cross and now he wants vengeance.  He knows his time is short and he must work quickly to hinder as many of God’s people as is possible.

CHRIST REVEALED:

IN this part of the vision Christ is seen as the One who is victorious over Satan and his spiritual kingdom.  It is through the victory that Christ has won on the cross that Satan was cast from heaven and eternally defeated and Christ’s people are safe in Him.   It was at the cross that Christ’s blood was shed gaining the ultimate victory over Satan, his demons and the worldly kingdoms that oppose the will of God.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

We can learn two different truths from our text.  First of all, we can learn that Christ has won the ultimate victory over Satan and his demons.  Because of this victory, in the midst of Satan’s many accusations concerning us, we need not fear that he can separate us from the Lord and the forgiveness that He has given to us…

 

Rom 8:33-39 KJV

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We should be honoring Christ every day for this great victory, and the accompanying eternal security we have been given.

However, we also need to realize that because Satan’s defeat included his ejection from heaven, we now face a very powerful foe here on earth.  Although he has been defeated, he still is very active and angrily seeking to hinder our every act of obedience to Christ.

Based upon this, we are to always be on guard against the workings of Satan realizing he in our midst seeking to frustrate our service to Christ.

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

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6 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    What an encouraging summary!!!

    I also appreciate your discussion of Michael as being symbolic of Christ.

    It’s something I’ve wondered about, yet is a line of thinking have been hesitant to pursue since I’ve heard that some have taken this concept to mean that Michael and Lucifer are “brothers”, thus implying that they are equal in some way, with one being good and one evil. I don’t remember where I came across that idea, but it’s rather disturbing.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi Heather,

      I agree with you. Just because Michael symbolizes Christ is no way implies that He and Satan are brothers. Christ was God Himself come in the flesh, while Satan is a literal angel who was a creation of God and fell into sin… two entirely different types of beings. It is a shame that people want to pervert truth to misled others, but that is the way Satan works. Lord bless you! Thanks for a great comment.

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for this

  3. Loren says:

    Reblogged this on Lori's World and commented:
    Interesting insight!

Comments are closed.

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