We walk through Revelation chapters 11 and 12. In these chapters, the author provides an overview of Satan’s rebellion and the war in heaven. Satan is the great accuser and Jesus is the glorious advocate. Jesus stands for humanity, inviting us to be overcomers, while Satan attacks humanity. He is the great enemy. Jesus is the savior, protector, and redeemer.
So last time we went through Revelation chapter 11, and I want double back and overlap the very last part for a couple reasons: One is to give us a lead in to what we’re going to do today because we’re about to have one of those side streams that you see in books where the story’s going along, and it’s really fascinating, and then all of the sudden there’s this sideline.
One of my favorite books is Les Miserables. I think it’s just one of the best books ever written. It’s a phenomenal story. You get along, and all the sudden, he goes off on this tangent for a whole chapter, and you’re like, “Arghhh!” But the tangent’s so good, you can’t not read it!
This is sort of like that. The story’s going to stop, and he’s going to go back and give us a big overview.
The kingdom is proclaimed
So remember seven seals, seventh seal, seven trumpets, seventh trumpet is blown. There’s going to be seven bowls in this seventh trumpet but something more important happens in this seventh trumpet. The kingdom is proclaimed.
11:15. Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
This is kind of like David Ben-Gurion going on the radio and saying, “The nation of Israel now exists!” And the Arabs started a war the next day.
It’s a proclamation. The kingdoms have now happened.
Of course, we know that when Jesus left he told his disciples, “All authority is given unto me.” But Jesus told Pilate not that long before, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight for me.”
But now there’s a merger between the spiritual kingdom and the physical kingdom, and it is pronounced right now.
I forgot to mention, this is “The Hallelujah Chorus.” “King of kings, forever and ever. And Lord of Lords. Forever and ever. And he shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” That’s it. This is where this comes from.
I will be disappointed if we don’t hear this when we get to heaven. But maybe there’ll be something better. Who knows?
We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come—You’ve heard that before. That’s the outline of Revelation. We saw “what was” in the seven churches, “what was and is” at that point, at the time John’s writing. And “what is to come” is chapters 4 through the rest of the book. We know that God is the one who was, who is, and who is to come. He’s the unchanging aspect of the whole universe
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
Reigned, aorist tense
Last episode Brandon and I went back and forth, and he was giving us a little Greek lesson, and he sent me an e-mail about this term reigned. I’m going to read it to you. It’s kind of confusing because the kingdom is being pronounced and yet this is a past tense verb. And the reason it’s past tense is because this is a Greek aorist tense, and we do not have this tense in English, so it’s usually just rendered past tense.
Here’s what he says about the aorist tense:
“When an aorist verb is used in a verse, it does not have any built-in time element attached to the verb,” which is unusual. All of our verbs are past, present, or future. But not aorist. “The aorist tense simply borrows the time the verb’s action is supposed to occur from the surrounding context.”
So then, Brandon, upon reflection, came back and said, “This is really cool because the surrounding context is who was, who is, and who is to come.” Isn’t this neat?
Has God reigned in the past? Yes. On earth? Well, yes. Now? Yes and no. Because right now, who occupies the throne of earth today? Satan does. It’s his throne. God’s permission. He has been deposed, but the deposition has not fully taken place yet. It will be when the seventh trumpet blows. And this is now was, is, is to come. It’s happened. It’s pronounced.
Now even though it’s pronounced, the war still has to happen. Just like David Ben-Gurion said, “Israel is today,” they had to fight the Arab armies for that to become a reality. And that’s what’s going to happen.
Now chapter 12, we’re going to stop and kind of step back, and we’re going to take a little look at history. This is one of the more remarkable historical overviews you’ll ever see because chapter 12:1-6 is a historical overview.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her here one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
So here’s the overview. In eternity past at some point, Satan rebelled. He said, “I will be like the most high. I want your throne. I’m going to take it.”
God said, “You can’t have it.”
Satan fell. He took a third of the angels with him. That’s the dragon.
Satan tried to kill the child
And then, although Satan still has access to heaven, Satan continued to be the main actor on earth. Apparently that was his job all along. And the God-man came to earth and was born an Israelite, and Satan tried to kill him.
We know he tried to kill him as a child through his servant Herod. And then he did kill him on the cross. But that death turned into victory.
Satan tries to kill “the woman”
So eternity past, Jesus, and then the third part of human history is this woman—the nation of Israel—Satan wants to kill her again in the Great Tribulation. And God takes her to the wilderness and feeds her. Does that sound familiar? Can you think of any other group of Israelites that went to the wilderness and got fed? And how long? One thousand two hundred and sixty days, 42 months, three and a half years.
And again, I don’t know why he picks months sometimes and days sometimes and years sometimes. Perhaps he picks days because the manna came once a day. The provision came once a day. And that’s how we live our lives one day at a time. One thousand two hundred and sixty days.
We are not going to spend eternity in heaven
And then, verse 7. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon—Now just a little thing. We’re going to see very, very clearly as we get to chapters 19, 20, and 21, we are not going to spend eternity in heaven. Not. That is not what’s going to happen.
We go to heaven when we die because heaven is the place where God is. We know that from the Lord’s prayer, right? “On earth as it is in heaven.” Your will be done. Heaven’s just a place where God’s will is done. Wherever that is. And we go to God’s presence, and we go where his will is done when we die.
But the goal of the Bible is not to have an ethereal place where we go without bodies and float around and pluck on harps and all those things. That was the Greek idea. That’s not the biblical idea.
The biblical idea is heaven comes to earth. And that’s the culmination of human history, when heaven comes to earth.
War breaks out in heaven
We tend to think everything’s perfect in heaven. No! What’s happening in heaven right here? War! There’s war breaking out in heaven. And who’s fighting? Michael and his angels on one side; the dragon and his angels on the other side.
I don’t know if this will be visible. I don’t want to be there if stuff can spill over and hurt me, but I’d sure love to watch it. This is going to be epic.
Satan is thrown out of heaven
But they—Satan and his angels—did not prevail nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. You know Satan, we’re going to see in a second, spends most of his time in heaven, it appears.
He’s like a lot of people today who advocate policies for everybody else but not themselves. Like people who fly around in their jets trying to advocate that we end fossil-fuel use. You know? That’s pretty typical. Satan seems to be that kind of a guy.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
I didn’t say this when I said the dragon and his angels was where I got this from, but obviously in this context, it’s pretty clear what this is, this interpretation.
Then, verse 10, I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
Have you ever felt accused? Have you ever struggled with guilt? You know where that comes from? There’s two possible places. One is us because we deserve it. And the other is from Satan because he says Jesus’ death on the cross is not sufficient, and we have to do something on our own to overcome guilt. Good luck with that.
Yes, Satan is the accuser. In fact, this word Satan is a very interesting word. Satan is actually a transliteration of a Hebrew word Satan. The word Satan shows up in the Old Testament eight times before it’s translated Satan. And the eight times it shows up in the Old Testament before it’s translated Satan, it’s translated accuser. So-and-so accused somebody else of something. It’s just a verb. So it could, really, just be accuser all the way through. It’s a job title: prosecutor.
We know a prosecutor in here. His job is to accuse people. Accusations are not all bad. Well, that’s what Satan is. He’s an accuser.
What does the adversary do? Let’s look at 1 John 2:1-3, just real quick. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. So, can we sin as believers? Certainly. Are we still believers when we sin? Are we still God’s children when we sin? I hope so, because we all sin.
As a matter of fact, John makes a point in 1 John that most of our sin we don’t even know about. And if we’ll just confess what we do know about, God takes care and just wipes over all the stuff we don’t know about. Because we’re just sinful little creatures. Watch a child. They’re rotten little sinners, every one of them.
If anyone sins though—and that’s all of us—what happens? If anyone sins, what happens? We should doubt whether we’re really children? Is that what he’s going to say? If we sin, we should go and overcome the sin with some sort of penance. Is that what he’s going to say?
Look what he says: If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Why do we need that advocate? Because there’s a prosecutor up there accusing us. And every time the prosecutor accuses us, the defense attorney stands up and says, “That’s already taken care of.” You can’t convict somebody for something that the punishment’s already been paid for. That’s double jeopardy!
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. That’s some pretty good news.
But Revelation tells us the accusations are over now! Court’s dismissed! Isn’t that cool? The kingdom’s proclaimed, and now the war is happening to actually put it into practice. We probably would be better off, at this point, to be charismatic or something. We ought to be jumping up and down and waving our hands at this point.
Verse 11. And they overcame him—who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down. And they, the believers, the martyreos, the witnesses—overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony—
And what is the overall theme of Revelation? Why is it such a simple book? What does it want us to do? Be a great witness. And don’t fear death. That’s the whole point of Revelation. It’s really simple. Two points. Be a great witness; don’t fear death. When things look like they’re out of control, they’re not. God’s in control. That’s Revelation. Really simple. Complex events. We don’t need to know the complex events. We need to know really simple things.
When you see things seemingly in chaos, they’re not. Not from an eternal perspective. Everything that happens in here, every one of the seven seals, authorized. Every one of the seven trumpets, authorized. The bowl judgments, the plagues, pull it out. They’re initiated by the angel. God’s in control.
They did not love their lives
The way to overcome Satan and his accusations: be a faithful witness unto death. —and they did not love—which love do you think this is? Eros, agape, or phileo? Which would you guess?
Phileo? That’s what I would guess. Agape! We make a mistake with agape. We usually say agape is perfect love. That’s not the way the Bible uses agape. It is used that way often. But agape means choice-love. Agape is used of the Pharisees. They loved the seats of honor. They made a choice to say I’d rather have this than that.
1 John. Do not love the things of this world for the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life, etc.
Do not choose to chase the things of the world.
So, if we choose to save our life, our psyche—our life, our soul. Psyche is translated soul about half the time and life about half the time, depending on which way the translators are trying to push the theology. I wish they’d just say life every time. It would be a lot simpler. Usually you’ll see if the word salvation included, they’ll put soul in there. It’s just life.
So if you don’t try to save your life in this world, and instead put your testimony above it, then you’re an overcomer. And guess what this word is: And they overcame him. They defeated him. They prevailed over him. They conquered over him. What word? Nikao.
Every promise in the letters to the seven churches—what was and is—at the end, what did it say every time? To him who conquers, prevails, wins. How do you win? Don’t love your life more than your testimony.
Now is this just physical death? There are lots of different kinds of death, right? Rejection is probably the most common. The first death that Adam and Eve experienced was exile.
The world always threatens exile. And our response should be, “I’m already not part of your world.” You can’t kick me out of your country because I’m already not a citizen. I don’t care about your exile; I care about my testimony. My martyreo. That’s how we overcome: be a great witness, don’t fear death.
Satan is thrown out of heaven
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Now this is interesting. Rejoice O heavens. Now we tend to think that the heavens already rejoice, and everything’s all happy, right? Who’s living in heaven right now? Satan. Who else? His angels. Does that mean it’s a happy place? Remember Job? Hey, Satan, where’ve you been? Where are they? They’re in heaven when that’s happening.
So, rejoice O heaven. Finally these guys are cleared out! They’ve been evacuated. They’ve been evicted. Your nasty neighbor that is always having parties late at night and keeping you up has moved out. Therefore rejoice. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth—I feel sorry for whoever they’re moving in next door to now.
—and the sea! Now this one puzzles me. How many people do you know who live in the sea? I think what he’s talking about here is the sea we’re going to see the beast come out of. We’ll talk about that in a minute.
For the devil—the adversary, the accuser—has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Satan brings his war to earth
So the kingdom’s proclaimed. War breaks out in heaven. Satan loses that war. Now he’s going to bring his war to earth. First hand. He’s here himself.
Now when does this happen? I don’t know. But my guess is in the middle of the 70th week. And part of the reason why this last three and a half years, this last 42 months, this last 1260 days is so dire, is because Satan is actually on earth with his angels wreaking havoc.
If that’s not bad enough—we already saw this, but there’s going to be additional resources pulled out of the bottomless pit.
Satan persecutes Israel
Verse 13. Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. This is Israel. I would assume it would include those who had been grafted into Israel, which is every person who has believed in Jesus Christ.
And remember, we’re in the 70th week of Daniel, the 70th seven-year period. And the first 69 weeks culminated with Jesus being born and dying, being cut off, Messiah’s cut off. And then we have this whole period of the Gentiles that’s not even mentioned in this overview that we started with in chapter 12.
And when the antichrist makes a covenant with Israel, the 70th week starts, and now this clock begins again. This is said by Daniel to be 70 weeks that are proclaimed for Israel and her people. And then this list of things: That everlasting righteousness will be brought in. Transgressions will be taken care of. This is going to be the completion, the fulfillment of human history. And all the promises to David and Abraham are going to happen in this 70 weeks.
Sixty nine weeks, Messiah is cut off. Seventieth week, and in the middle of the seventieth week, you’re going to have the abomination of desolations. And remember, Jesus pointed back to that. You’ll know the sign of when I’m coming back when you see that abomination of desolation.
So my guess is that that’s when we’re talking about here.