Bible Study Series: Revealing Jesus in Revelation
Revelation Chapter 12:7-17 War in Heaven & the coming Holocaust
by I Gordon
- How this ancient conflict moves to Heaven - who fights this battle and when is it?
- The outcome of this war - why is it rejoicing for heaven but woe for the earth?
- The persecution of the woman - why does this wrathful dragon try to destroy the woman, Israel, once again : (
- And along the way we'll draw some applications for our own lives today
The tumultuous events on earth during the Tribulation find their counterpart in heaven. A state of war has existed since the fall of Satan (cf. Rev_12:4; cf. Dan_10:13; Jud_1:9). Something will intensify that warfare—possibly the raptured saints passing through the realm of the prince of the power of the air (cf. Eph_2:2).
When our Lord Jesus Christ returns for His church, we are told that the voice of the archangel will be heard from Heaven, together with the shout of the Lord and the trump of God... Their (believers) passage through the air and enthronement in glory would seem to be the signal for the driving out of Satan and his hosts from the upper air, where they have been permitted to maintain their hold during the past five thousand years. Satan is called the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). Believers are told that their conflict is with wicked spirits in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). These evil hosts are continually endeavoring, by deception, to keep Christians from enjoying their present portion in Christ, but when the church is caught up, the evil forces will be ignominiously driven from what we might call the “outer court of Heaven” and cast down on the earth.
|What we learn about Satan|
Called the Dragon
The imagery of a dragon speaks of a fierce and powerful being, known for its ability to attack, harm and destroy. This represents the form of physical attack Satan can use. We see an example of this in the book of Job in the many ways that he was assaulted. And obviously we see that again here in Revelation 12, this ancient conflict that we talked about last time, between the dragon, the woman and her child.
Called the ancient Serpent
This links the dragon of Revelation with the serpent all the way back in the garden of Eden where Satan came in the form of a serpent. The serpent was sly, cunning, and deceptive. The serpent put deceptive questions into the minds of Adam and Eve saying 'Did God really say...' Satan, in the form of the serpent, loves to mix truth and error in a poisonous cocktail. The last days before the return of Jesus Christ will see Satan's attack in both the form of the dragon and the serpent. But it predominantly starts with the serpent. It starts with deception. And then comes the full on attacks of the dragon.
Called the Devil
The word devil means 'accuser'. Noted Bible teacher John Walvoord writes: "The title 'Devil' is from the Greek diabolos, from the verb diaballo, which has the meaning of 'defaming' or 'slandering.' He is the master accuser of the brethren."
The word Satan means 'adversary' and reminds us that whatever form Satan takes, whether it is as a dragon or an angel of light, he is still and will always be, the adversary. He has different tactics and forms but his goal remains the same.
|What we learn about Michael|
|On the opposite, and good side, we have the angel Michael who is mentioned in 5 different verses in the Bible. Let's examine each verse.
1. Michael is 'one' of the chief princes in the angelic realmDan 10:13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.
The first mention of Michael is to do with warfare. And what we will find is that every mention of Michael in the Bible is in relation to conflict and warfare! Quite possibly he is looking forward to Satan being eventually locked up as well! In a fascinating passage, Michael was required to come to help the angel Gabriel bring his message to Daniel because Gabriel had been opposed by other powerful fallen angels. Michael is said to be 'one of the chief princes' in the angelic realm. This shows that there are other chief angelic princes but they are not named in the Bible.
2. Michael is specifically Israel's protectorDan 10:21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.)
Speaking to the Jewish prophet Daniel, Michael is called 'your prince'. From this we learn that he is specifically the prince over the nation of Israel. Just as there are fallen angelic beings over regions such as the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece (Dan 10:20) so Michael is the angelic 'prince of Israel'.
3. Michael will take his stand against the enemy in the tribulation periodDan 12:1 At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered.
Michael is here said to be the protector of Israel. And a time of great distress in the tribulation will make Michael 'stand' - that is he will rise up and take his stand against the enemy in protection of Israel.
4. Michael is an archangel and has disputed with Satan before!Jud 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
Here we see Michael is an archangel. This means that he is the 'chief, highest leader of the angels'. He is the only angel with this title in scripture. We also see that Michael and the Devil have history! It goes back a long long time and they are not friends! While Michael won't overstep his bounds and responsibility according to God's command, you can imagine that he is waiting for the time when God gives him permission to deal with Satan!
5. Michael will get his fight with Satan at the right timeRev 12:7-8 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
And here Michael gets his opportunity! With God's permission and timing, he is allowed to fight Satan and drive him, and his minions, out of heaven once and for all. And Michael doesn't disappoint! : )
In this amazing scene, the sons of God, angelic beings, present themselves before God to give an account of their activity.2 Making it spicier still, among the seemingly unfallen angels, is one called Satan! He has been watching one on earth called Job and when God raises the integrity of Job, His servant, Satan is quick to accuse him and pronounce that he is only faithful to God because of God's blessing and protection. And so God allows Satan to test Job, but with clear boundaries on what Satan can and cannot do. It is a truly remarkable scene! Now Revelation 12:10, as we shall see, takes it up a notch revealing that Satan accuses the brethren before God day and night! We need to acknowledge that we see and understand these things dimly! But what is clear is that with this coming war, this all changes! Never again will Satan have access to the heavenly courts of God's presence. And never again will he be able to accuse one of God's children before the Lord.
- Heaven speaks of salvation - For believers will have been brought safely into their heavenly home! And no one will be saying 'Well look at me, I am the very most Reverend of wherever...' No, we will all be saying 'Praise you God. Thank you Lord! Thank you for your incredible grace and faithfulness! He who began the good work in me has carried it on to the day of salvation!'
- Heaven speaks of power - For the power of the Father and the Son will be seen with not one born again believer being lost! All will be kept and brought safely into their heavenly home. And the Lord's power is also seen in casting Satan out and hurling him to the earth.
- Heaven speaks of the kingdom and authority of Christ - For the Kingdom of heaven is once again at hand and nothing will stop it from coming to this earth! Jesus, the current King in exile, will take up His position of supreme authority of all the kingdoms of earth!
- Heaven speak of the blood of the lamb - Heaven tells us that believers have overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and their confession and testimony of Christ. It is all about Jesus and nothing is more important to a true believer than Jesus! His victory is our victory and if you are coming under the condemnation and accusations of the enemy, remember and acknowledge the blood of the Lamb that was poured out for you to give you a perfect standing before the Father. Let me give you an example of this as an application.
At last a revelation came to Mum. She saw what the source of these accusations was. Or more accurately 'who' the source of these accusations was. She saw that it was not coming from God but from the enemy and upon seeing that she said five words that stopped the accusations immediately - She simply said 'Oh go tell my Father!' And that was it. The accusations were gone. We need to learn that we are in a battle and we need to see that part of the enemy's arsenal comes through guilt, fear, accusations and condemnation. But as we stand in the finished work of Christ, knowing that the blood of Christ has removed our sin, we can take our stand in the sure position that He has given us. We can resist the enemy, even as my Mum did in this example, knowing that Satan has no grounds of accusation against those that God has declared not guilty and righteous in His sight! Truly we overcome by the blood of the Lamb!
Now, as believers, we will rejoice greatly on that day when we are home! As I mentioned earlier we will be free from the accusations and influence of the enemy forever! But the scripture also says 'but woe to the earth'. If you think it is bad now you haven't seen anything yet. A churchless earth will leave a vacuum that evil will fill. And having been cast out of heaven, Satan will know that his time is very short and will ramp up his activity. Now we can already see him doing that in our day can we not? I believe he knows that there is already very little time left. But Satan, and the changes on this planet, will go into overdrive when he is finally and forever kicked out of heaven. So what will happen then?
- Edom is specifically said to be a place that will be kept from the hand of the Antichrist - Dan 11:41 'He (the Antichrist) will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.'
- Micah 2:12 tells us that God will assemble the remnant of Israel to Bozrah: 'I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.' (KJV)
- The judgement upon the nations specifically speaks of vengeance in Edom, in Bozrah: Isa 34:6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, It is sated with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah And a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
- When Jesus returns He will come and fight the armies that are intent on destroying the nation of Israel. And where does He go? That's right - Bozrah! It seems that He begins in Bozrah and from there moves back to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Isa 63:1-3 Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save." (2) Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? (3) "I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment.
There, Israel is protected for a time, times and half a time. That is, the 3 1/2 years in the 2nd half of the tribulation. Revelation 12:6 says that the woman will be 'nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.' This explains why Jesus said that the Jews are not to even stop and get anything from their homes when they have to flee. God will provide and 'nourish' them. It is possible that they will once again be fed manna from heaven. But however God feeds them, they simply have to obey and go to the place He has provided for them!
This is an important scripture to remember for our day as well. If we spend all our time looking at what is happening to the world it is easy to focus too much on what the enemy is doing and forget what God is doing! Remember that God always uses difficult times for His good. Believer, if the land in which you live, or your own personal life, suffers greater difficulty in the coming days, realize that God allows such things to fulfill His purposes. When the enemy comes on strong, the Lord comes on stronger. And He will use the coming difficult times to draw more people into His Kingdom in the limited time that remains before His judgement falls.
- This explains the centuries of hardship they endured during their dispersion into all the nations of the world.
- This explains the satanic hatred Hitler had for the Jews in his genocidal attempt at 'the final solution'.
- This explains the United Nations preoccupation with condemning and passing resolutions against Israel today.
- This explains the coming terrible 'day of Jacob's trouble' which shall see 2/3 of the Jews killed (Zech 13:8-9)
It is all the final attempt of a crazed and defeated dragon at wiping out the woman to prevent her from bringing forth her child once again, Jesus, at the second coming.
William Newell speaks of four different judgements upon Satan:
"It will be well to remember the successive steps in Satan’s judgment:
1. He is cast, as the “covering-cherub” as “profane” from the midst of “the stones of fire,” that is, from his first place as leader, evidently, of the worship of God in heaven (Eze_28:14-16). This, I have always felt, is what our Lord meant in Luk_10:1-42, “I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven.” The brightness of this being would make his fall as “lightning.” Also, the distance from his former glories, even to that “place in heaven” he now holds as the accuser, would be great and absolute.
2. He is cast down, here in Rev_12:1-17, from whatever position he is allowed at present (as in Job_1:12; 1Ki_22:21; Zec_3:1), to the earth.
3. He is cast into the abyss, in the center of the earth, at Christ’s coming, and there spends 1,000 years (Rev_20:1-3).
4. Upon being released at the Millennium’s end “for a little season,” and leading men again in desperate rebellion against God and His people, he is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone forever (Rev_20:10)."
Another mind boggling insight into what takes place in heaven is given in 1Ki 22:19-22 - "Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. (20) And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?' "One suggested this, and another that. (21) Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' (22) 'By what means?' the LORD asked. 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. " 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.' "
“The ancient city of Bozrah was located in the region of Mount Seir. Mount Seir is a very rocky range of mountains, and its name means the ‘hairy mountains.’ This fulfills the 6 requirements of the Matthew passage. It is located in the wilderness section of ancient Edom and so fulfills the requirement of the Revelation passage. The very nature of the chain of mountains of Mount Seir makes it quite defensible, fulfilling the requirements of the Isaiah passage.… Today the area is in southern Jordan.”
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah