Read This Week: Revelation 12
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. – Revelation 12:7-9 NIV
Revelation 12 begins a narrative stretch of introducing three central figures in the tribulation – Satan (seen as the dragon), the one who is the false Christ, and the deceitful and false prophet. They will oppose the Lord and Christians in every way. They will try to destroy the people of God and the gospel and unleash havoc, chaos, and torment in a manner never seen on earth. They will confuse the people and even sow unimaginable discord among believers and those wanting to hear the message of salvation through Christ. They will attempt to overthrow the God of the universe once and for all. But they will not succeed.
The first part of the chapter reveals the nation of Israel giving birth to Jesus from the remarkable perspective of the heavens. It details how the enemy tried to prevent Christ from being born and mankind from having a savior and experiencing the love, grace, mercy, and hope of God. Verses 1-5 tell us of this amazing scene:
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. 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. And her child was snatched up to God and his throne.
John continues on by describing the great war in heaven between Michael, the archangel, and his band of angels against Satan and his followers. It was an intense, supernatural battle that ended with the Devil being thrown out of heaven and losing his place there. Verses 7-9 tell us that Satan and his army fought back furiously, but he was not strong enough. Consequently, he is cast out of his position and made to dwell in this sort of no man’s land, between heaven and earth, where he leads the world astray (v.9) and wages war against humanity, especially those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus (v.17). But he is ultimately not strong enough.
The enemy has power, no doubt, but he is not strong enough to overcome the supremacy, authority, and capacity of Almighty God. He was not strong enough to stop the birth of Jesus. He was not strong enough to kill the Messiah as a baby when his parents had to flee the country. He was not strong enough to stop Jesus’ ministry or tempt him in the wilderness or cause him to give up in the garden. Satan was not strong enough to put him to death permanently, keep him in the grave or stop him from overcoming death. He wasn’t strong enough to keep the church from forming and advancing the gospel through the ages.
As the biblical commentator Warren Wiersbe said, “Satan even has access to heaven, where he accuses God’s people, but he cannot dethrone the exalted Savior.” Even in the moments when it looks like Satan is winning, victory is out of reach. Even when he tries to make life unbearable for followers of Jesus, he can’t win. He can’t supersede or overcome the eternal and conquering power of God. He was and is not strong enough.