Tuesday, 2 March 2021
but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. Revelation 12:8
This continues the thought of the previous verse. It is a look back on the reason why the devil and his angels have so relentlessly pursued God’s people over the ages –
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.” Revelation 12:7, 8
In an attempt to rule God’s creation, a heavenly war broke out. Little is actually stated about this event, but it can be inferred that it is a spiritual battle for control over humanity. Satan (the serpent of Genesis 3) entered the picture and deceived man. At that time, the man was cursed. Hints of these things are scattered throughout the Bible, but not enough to form more than a cursory picture of what is being referred to now by John.
However, this has not stopped sensationalists from publishing innumerable volumes of books claiming insights into these things. They sell well simply because they are sensational, but they do not add anything of value to Scripture. What we do know is what John next says, “but they did not prevail.”
The dragon and his angels were defeated by Michael and his angels. In what way they are defeated is not stated. As they are spirit beings, we can only form assumptions as to what actually occurred. However, this battle, and the ongoing results from it, might be what Jesus was referring to in Luke 10 –
“Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’
18 And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.’” Luke 10:17-20
It appears this battle may be what Jesus refers to because John next says, “nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.” Satan and his angels were cast out of the place, and the consequences of that are permanent. Of this, Charles Ellicott says, “The whole power of the evil hosts failed them. There is an inherent weakness in evil: a spot which may be touched whereupon all its vaunted strength withers.”
Life application: Too often in our society, and going back for eons as well, men have credited the devil with far more power than he actually possesses. It is true that he has great power, and it is surely magnified when combined with those who rebelled with him. But the fact of the matter is that, despite his capabilities, it is far less than that of the heavenly host.
This verse shows that the devil and his angels could not prevail over the good angels, and they lost the heavenly realm that they once had access to. In an unfortunate turn of events for the world though, this means that their dominion is now where man treads upon the earth.
And yes, it is true that the devil causes havoc here. But the devil is finite while God is infinite. Therefore, whatever power the devil has is infinitely less than God’s. Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we have access to the very throne of God. And through acceptance of His work, we become sons of God through adoption. Because of this, we have the strength of the Almighty to protect us. When things are tough, let us remember this –
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
There is a throne where God rules and He graciously allows us to enter His presence through the Mediator. When the devil is about and causing us grief, we need to remember this and use this heavenly gift to seek out comfort from our loving and all-powerful Creator. Because He has appointed a Mediator, let us be sure to go through Him, our Lord JESUS!
What great love You have poured out on us, O God! You sent Jesus to lead us back to You and to give us power over the devil. When we are afflicted, you offer comfort. When we are tried, you lead us to the still waters. When we are overwhelmed, you offer us a seat at Your table. Thank You, Lord. Please help us to remember this heavenly access when it is needed. Amen.