On January 8, 1815, General Andrew Jackson commanded an American force that defeated an attacking British regiment in the Battle of New Orleans. Over 2,000 men were killed. But the battle was unnecessary. The War of 1812 had already ended. The peace treaty had been signed in Ghent, Belgium two weeks earlier. But the news had not yet reached Louisiana. Although the war was over, this tragic event still claimed many lives.
Our war with Satan is similarly tragic. Although his defeat is certain, the battle continues. Carefully read Revelation chapter 12. Here’s are some of the key players:
- “the woman clothed with the sun” (verse 1) represents God’s people; the faithful remnant of Israel
- “the enormous red dragon” (verse 3) is Satan
- “the male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (verse 5) is the Messiah; Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:9)
- “the rest of her offspring” (verse 17) is the church
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
7 Then war broke out 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. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
(New International Version)
What an awesome picture of victory! Jesus was born to destroy Satan’s stronghold on earth. While Satan attempted to destroy Christ by having Him killed, that sacrifice only sealed his defeat. But the devil is a poor, sore and vindictive loser. We see and experience the havoc he stirs up constantly (crime, terrorism, substance abuse, jealousy, lies, worry, any good deed left undone, etc.).
And he still attacks the church with persecution and accusations. But Jesus protects us during times of temptation and weakness. Our Lord provides us with the power of His teaching in Scripture and the strength of the Holy Spirit.
We have been redeemed but the Accuser, the Liar, the Destroyer wants to remind us of our guilt and unworthiness. While he will continue to create havoc when he can, we must not be discouraged. We must keep our minds on the victory of which we have been assured. We must persevere and remain faithful (Revelation 2:3, 10).
Although he may appear to be winning, Satan has already lost! He is defeated. His power is limited. But our Lord is victorious! And all Christians can share in His glorious victory.