Know Your Enemy (Rev 12)
WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – You and I have an enemy. His mission is to destroy us; and if he can’t do that, to make us miserable; and if he can’t do that, to render us useless. He’s most pleased when he can do all three.
Today’s chapter depicts him as “a great fiery red dragon” and records the moment he became our enemy:
“Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was thrown out – the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him … the devil has come down to you with great fury, because he knows his time is short” (Rev 12:7-9, 12).
The honor of being one of God’s most glorious angels was not enough for Satan, so he rebelled and lost all honor and glory forever. He was created for the splendor of heaven but was cast down to the drudgery of earth. Even now, he knows his time in this world is short and that his next destination is unspeakably worse. He’s literally “as mad as hell” and is intent on taking out his fury on you and me.
Here are some of the things God wants us to know from chapter 12 about this one who would destroy us:
- He’s the enemy of Christ – He did everything he could to kill Jesus in His infancy (v. 4,5). He continued that quest until he foolishly thought he had succeeded on the cross – only to find that he’d been totally duped.
- He’s the enemy of the angels – His war against them started in heaven (v. 7) and has never ended. God sends his angels to help us as “ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14). Satan and his demons oppose them at every step.
- He’s the enemy of humanity – Starting in the Garden, “the ancient serpent” deceived the first man and woman, and now he “deceives the whole world” (v. 9-10). Today, “the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Cor 4:4).
- He’s especially the enemy of all who submit to God – “So the dragon was furious with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring – those who keep the commands of God and hold firmly to the testimony about Jesus” (v. 17).
No wonder his name, Satan, means simply “adversary.” He is the enemy of God and of everything and every being God created – ironically, including even the angels he convinced to join his rebellion, demoting them to demons and securing their eternal doom.
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – No matter how attractive Satan makes himself, we must remember that he is never our friend and is always working against us. His main title, the devil, means “slanderer.” He’s constantly slandering God to us, as he did to Adam and Eve. He’s also constantly slandering us to God – he’s “the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night” (v. 10).
A formidable opponent? Yes. Formidable but not invincible. “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; for they did not love their lives to the point of death” (v. 11). An utter trust in Christ, a bold witness for Christ, an unreserved commitment to Christ – these are effective weapons against the enemy of our souls.