10 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. 11 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.
Here is a hint of when this is taking place as Satan is finally cast down to earth and has no place to speak accusingly of the believer, of God’s people, before Him. Satan accused the brethren night and day before God, so, as in Job, he still had access to God’s throne even after he lost his place of authority as the anointed cherub that covereth.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
And this was not just a one-time thing.
Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
An important point here is that Christ’s people overcome not by war with guns and bullets but by Christ’s blood, their witness, and by being willing to die for Christ. One example of the great conflict between worldly Christianity and the faith of the Bible is the fictional work from the 1800’s entitled Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In it the main character dies rather than violate his submission to Christ in hurting others as it is demanded that he become a wicked overseer, prompting the salvation of at least one of his own murderers at his death. The world vilifies Tom and calling someone an, “Uncle Tom,” is an insult in the black community as cooperating with whites in their presumed oppression. However, Tom is the most Christ-like character in fiction. Conservative Christians will glorify a man who goes to war and kills many people before they will glorify someone willing to die for Christ so, white or black, the worldly Christian would not be able to face being killed for Christ as many martyrs have done and are doing now in other parts of the world.
So, when someone says that they would never take the mark of the beast it is almost laughable. A willingness to die for Christ is not a character trait of most modern day Christians. Calling in the marines, maybe, but not dying for Christ in a triumphant entry into eternity.
12 ¶ Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
At this time, it is better to be in heaven, the abode of God and the blessed dead, than to live on the earth. This passage seems to make it clear that Satan’s final casting down will be to earth during this Great Tribulation.
The woman, in my estimation a reference to Israel, is given supernatural power to escape as God did for the Hebrews in the Exodus.
Exodus 19:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
For three and a half years, a time, times, and half a time, the remnant of Israel is protected from the wrath of Satan while the two witnesses torment Satan’s people, some of whom, as we saw, wind up giving glory to God.
Satan uses water as a flood to try to destroy Israel. This disaster is prevented by the earth absorbing the water. Is this figurative language representing something other than that which is literally stated? It doesn’t appear so considering the literal natural disasters that are listed in Revelation. But, note this use of the word flood in Daniel.
Daniel 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Daniel 11:22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
Notice also how a flood is used as a word symbol for a great river in Joshua, chapter 24.
An angry and perhaps frustrated Satan leaves the Jews in the wilderness to return to make war on the remnant. They follow the commandments of God and trust in Christ. Keeping in the context of John’s writing and understanding let us look at other remarks he made under the inspiration of God.
1John 3:20 ¶ For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 ¶ And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Remember how John defined overcoming mentioned in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 and also in chapter 21:7 to come? The key is in his first letter as I pointed out previously.
1John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Beware of preachers trying to put the Christian back under the Law given to Moses, the civil and religious law of the Hebrews, which in no way justifies us today.
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
It is important to note that later the testimony of Christ is said to be the spirit of prophecy.
Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
See this prophecy of the last two thousand years of history and this Great Tribulation focusing on the Jewish experience fully explained in Matthew 24.
The Jews flee to the wilderness. Satan again tries to destroy them just like so many times in history but realizing he cannot destroy the Jews returns in verse 17 to his war on the saints revealed in the next chapter. Again in the next chapter we see the 3 ½ years from a different perspective, a different angle of the word-picture presented by Christ to John.