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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE VISION OF THE CHURCH, PART 2

Rev 12:7-11 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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. 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. 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.

We must continue to understand, as we rehearse and study these scriptures, that much symbolism is used in this visual, heavenly revelation that divinely appeared to the apostle John during his imprisoned exile. Because it was written in symbolic prose, it is impossible to gain any degree of understanding of the book of Revelation if it is literally interpreted. Here we must remember that the woman, the man child, the dragon and his angels, Michael and his angels, the war in heaven, and the casting out of that old serpent, are all symbols having a much greater spiritual meaning. Previous verses tell us symbolically that, due to civil and religious persecution, the woman and her child, who represents the church of Christ, fled to a secluded refuge seeking God's protection. While there, a war raged in heaven between the forces of good and evil - between the gospel light of Christ Jesus and the spiritual darkness inspired by Satan. Led by Michael and his angels, Satan and his followers were defeated. Because there was no room in heaven for the incompatibility of good and evil, the devil or Satan, here identified as the great dragon or that old serpent, was cast out of heaven down to earth. There, he, and his followers resumed, and continued, their battle against Christ and His church with devious attempts to beguile and mislead the whole world, and cause them to rebelliously sin against the will of God.

As this apostle of Christ witnessed the battle being won by the spiritual forces of God over Satan, John 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. Because of this victory over the powers of Satan, all the hosts of heaven were celebrating, as if they were singing a song of rejoicing triumph over the anti-Christian evils of the world. The vision of John gave assurance that the church of Christ would be, at this predicted time in history, delivered from the power of Satan - the great enemy that had restricted access to the Holy Bible, and limited knowledge of the true, unadulterated gospel of Christ, would be defeated. The remainder of this verse continues by saying: the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Here, "the accuser" certainly refers to Satan and his influence over, what seemed to be religious people, causing them to negate the will of God by altering and compromising His scriptural wisdom with human wisdom of worldliness. Surely it was Christians that were being persecuted, as the words "our brethren" is commonly translated.

Notice how this war between good and evil was won by Christians over the apostate followers of Satan. 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. There are many scriptures that tell of the triumph of Christ Jesus over Satan, during His life on earth, as well as His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back into His home in heaven (See Matt. 25:41; Mark 3:27; John 12:31, 16:11; Rom. 16:20; Col. 2:15, etc.). However, in this instance, the war over Satan was not accomplished directly by Jesus, but indirectly by His followers. Faithful Christians adamantly demonstrated holiness in the lives they lived; they refused to compromise the truths found in the inspired New Testament gospel of salvation through Christ Jesus; they patiently endured tremendous persecution and suffering to the extent that they were willing to sacrifice their own lives, rather than renounce the reason for the sacrifice of their Savior on the cross of Calvary, referred to here as the sacrificial blood of the Lamb. As it was then, so it is today. Faithful obedience to the gospel of Christ, and unconditional reliance on His atoning blood, will always assure victory over all the evil powers of Satan.