Heaven! What a strange place for war!  Was this first episode – the battle for the throne – a physical battle or simply a mental war game?  It was both.  Notice that every angel in heaven had to make a choice.  There was no neutrality – no middle ground.  Not one angel could say, “I do not want to participate.  I think I will just be a bystander.”  Every angel had to make the all-important choice regarding whose side they would be on.

In Earth’s final conflict, there is no neutrality.  The messages from God’s throne room, especially Revelation 14, are God’s final messages to humanity.  These messages lead us to choices that will decides our eternal destiny. 

While there is no neutrality in Earth’s final war, there is good news.  Revelation 12 describes Jesus’ triumph in the galactic battle – the great controversy, which is the Star Wars-like conflict that began in heaven so long ago.  In that battle, Jesus defeated Satan.  Satan was cast out of heaven, and as Revelation 12:8 describes, the devil and his evil angels “did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.”  In that battle for control of the universe, Jesus and His angels won, and the devil was defeated.  Jesus has never lost a battle with Satan.  In fact, His most significant victory occurred here on Earth, on a Friday, at a place called Calvary.  That was when and where the war was won!  In describing this cosmic war, Revelation 12:8 declares, “But they did not prevail.”  Notice this divine “but.”  There was war in heaven, but Satan and his angels did not prevail.  In this first episode, Jesus, the Mighty Warrior, wins – and Satan loses.  And His victory is ours.

EXPLORE   Episode 2: Satan Attacks Jesus – Read Revelation 12:4-5.  In the second episode of this cosmic drama, centuries pass, and Satan focuses his attention on destroying Jesus: “And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.  She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.”

In the Bible, a rod is a symbol of dominion or rulership.  A rod of iron is a symbol of an unbreakable, all-powerful, and invincible rulership.  Jesus faced every temptation that we experience and came through as Conqueror.  Satan failed to destroy Him as a child, failed to defeat Him in His life, and failed to demolish Him in His death.  The all-powerful risen Christ has defeated Satan.

As the apostle Paul puts it in Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it [the cross].”  The devil is a defeated foe.  Christ has triumphed over him in His life, death, and resurrection.  Since Jesus has already defeated the devil on Calvary’s cross, we can be victorious too.  How?  By faith in what Christ has already done.

Revelation 12:10. What has come?  Salvation in Christ.  Have you received it by faith?  What has come?  The strength and the power of His Christ.  Have you received them by faith?

When we accept the righteousness of Christ as our righteousness, and we are declared righteous through His death, the dying Christ declares us righteous through His blood.  The living Christ makes us righteous through His intercession.

The devil suffered a deadly blow by Christ’s death on the cross.  Commenting on this victory, the apostle Paul declares, (2 Corinthians 5:21). On the cross, Jesus bore the guilt, shame, and condemnation of our sins, taking away Satan’s argument against us.

Accepting Jesus’ Victory – As depicted in the Bible, Jesus never lost a battle with Satan.  He is the mighty Conqueror.  He is the Victor over the powers of evil.  It is one thing to believe that Jesus was victorious over the temptations of Satan, it is quite another thing to believe that Christ’s victory is our victory, as well.

Read Revelation 12:10 again.  What encouragement should we get from the fact that our accuser “has been thrown down?”

Although the battle still rages on earth, Satan has lost.  Period.  This is true not only of Christ’s ultimate victory at the climax of human history, but it is also true in our battle over the principalities and powers of evil in our personal lives.  Some Christians live in frustrated defeat.  They are hoping for victory over their attitude or habit but never grasp the reality of Christ’s victory for them in their personal lives.

What assurance of victory does Christ give us in this passage? 

When we accept by faith what Christ has done for us, our debt is canceled, and we stand perfect in the sight of God.  Our sins are forgiven, and the “accuser of our brethren … has been cast down” (Revelation 12:10).  We are redeemed, victorious, and saved, not because of our own meris but because of Christ’s victories in our behalf.

The Woman in the Wilderness – Read Revelation 12:6, and compare it to Revelation 12:14-16.  Notice carefully the time period, Satan’s attack on the “woman” (God’s church), and God’s provisions for His people.  What are these verses talking about?

The 1,260 days in Revelation are parallel to the time, times, and half a time in Revelation 12:14.  This same prophecy describing the same time period is found in Daniel 7:25, Revelation 11:2-3, and Revelation 13:5.  Because these are prophetic symbols (a literal woman with wings did not go into the wilderness), we apply prophetic time, the day-year principle to these prophecies. 

If you’re not sure where this day-year principle comes from, let’s look at Numbers 14:34.  How many days?  How many years did the Israelites roam the desert?

Commenting on this same prophetic period of time in Revelation 11:2, the Andrews Study Bible states, “Historicist interpreters, therefore have generally understood the period of 1,260 prophetic days to mean 1<260 literal years running from AD 538 to 1798” (p1673 comments on Revelation 11:2).  A corrupt church – together with a corrupt state – oppressed, persecuted, and at times slaughtered God’s faithful people.

This fierce, satanic persecution of Bible-believing Christians was an extension of the great controversy between good and evil.  Coming out of the darkness of the Middle Ages, at the time of the Reformation, men and women were faced with a choice.  Would they be faithful to the Word of God, or would they accept the teachings of priests and prelates?  Once again Truth triumphed, and God had a people who were faithful to Him in the face of mighty opposition.

There are some fascinating and extremely encouraging expressions of God’s care in these verses.  Revelation 12:6 uses the expression, “a place prepared by God.” Revelation 12:14 declares that the woman was “nourished” in the wilderness, and Revelation 12:16 declares, “The earth helped the woman.”  In times of severe persecution, God provided for His church.  As He did then, He will do the same for His end-time remnant.

God’s End-time Remnant – The devil has been at war with Christ since his rebellion in heaven.  Satan’s purpose then and his purpose now is to seize control of the universe.  The focus of his attention in the las days of earth’s history is upon God’s people.  Revelation 12:17 emphatically declares that the dragon (Satan) was wroth (angry) with the woman (the church) and went to make war with the rest of her offspring.  This expression, the rest of her offspring, is also translated “the remnant” in the King James Version.  God’s remnant remains loyal to Christ, obedient to His truth, and faithful to His mission.

Read Revelation 12:17.  What characteristics of God’s remnant, His last-day church, are found in this verse?

In Revelation 12:17, Satan (the dragon) is angry with the woman, God’s church.  The devil is furious with a people who keep the commandments of God, and he will do everything he can to destroy them.

Eventually, he instigates a decree so that they cannot buy or sell and will be imprisoned and face death.  If Satan cannot destroy Christ, he will attempt to destroy the object of Christ’s deepest affection – His church.  Earth’s last war is not centered in the Middle East and the various conflicts there; it is centered in the minds of God’s people, scattered all over the world.  It is a battle between two opposing forces, Christ and Satan.  Again, no one is neutral.

The central question in this final war is, “Who has our loyalty?  Where is our allegiance?”  Heaven calls for believers who are so charmed by Christ’s love, redeemed by His grace, committed to His purposes, empowered by His Spirit, and so obedient to His commands that they are willing to face death itself for His cause.

Our world is headed for a major crisis.  But in Jesus, by Jesus, through Jesus, and because of Jesus, our victory is assured – just as long as we stay connected to Him, which we do by faith, a faith that leads to obedience.  It all comes down to our own choice.

Summary – In a sense, we could argue that God had no choice: if He wanted beings who could love Him and love others, He had to create them free.  If they were not free they could not love, and what would our universe be without love?  It would be what some people have claimed: nothing but a mindless machine that works according to strict laws of cause and effect and in which we have no free will, no free choice, and are nothing but flesh-and-blood packets of subatomic particles that follow only the laws of physics.  Not exactly a pretty picture, nor does it represent what we know, in and of ourselves, to be true.  Who among us thinks, for instance, tht our love for our parents, our children our spouses is nothing but an arrangement of atoms?

“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with the great principles of righteousness.  God desires from all His creatures the service of love – service that springs from an appreciation of His character.  He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience, and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.

“So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God.  It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator.  They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise  And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish.  There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies.” – Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 34-35.


Think how sacred free will and free choice must be to Jesus, who, though knowing that it would lead to Him to the cross, gave us free will anyway.  What should this tell us about how carefully we should use this sacred, but costly, gift?

Why is the assurance of salvation, because of Christ’s victory over Satan, so crucial to us?

How is Revelation 12 reassuring to you personally in the temptations and trials you face daily?

There are some who believe that our actions are largely determined by our heredity and environment.  Do you agree or disagree?  What role does our choice have in determining our behavior?  What is the relationship between our choice and God’s power operating in our lives?