And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. 5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. Revelation 12:1-17
Notice the “over-specific” description (as one Bible scholar referred to this) that is given to Satan in verse 9,
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
The great dragon
That ancient serpent
The deceiver of the whole world
“The greatest under-cover agent of all time” (bible.ca)
In Revelation the dragon is the symbol of the real Satan, and in chapter 12 he first attempts to thwart God’s gift of His Son to the world. But Jesus does his work on earth and goes back to heaven. Satan is not finished trying, and so he goes into heaven and a war arose with the archangel Michael and his angels, and the devil is kicked out - back down to earth. Heaven is from where the victorious Saviour rules untouchable, and so we read:
“Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Jim McGuiggan devoted 5 pages of his commentary on Revelation to this one verse, 12:11!! I encourage you to devour those pages!
Satan has failed with Jesus in heaven, and with his accusations against Christians in heaven (compare Romans 8:31-39) and so he turns his fury against Christians on earth. He persecutes the Christians, but they are protected because of their faithfulness and by their Saviour, and so Satan goes off to find others to persecute – whom he thinks might be easier targets. Protected saints rejoice, but Satan won’t give up:
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
Who rejoices? “O heavens and you who dwell in them!” And who would they be? The same as those who rejoice over one sinner who repents in Luke 15:7,9-10,22-24,32. Jim McGuiggan rightly says the expression refers to “the home of those who are God’s” - here rejoicing over those protected from the devil.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you … James 4:7-8
While Revelation is speaking of Satan’s persecution of Saints, through the Roman Empire in the late first century, it is always true that Satan is active in every generation, “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. He persecutes, deceives, tempts, lies, rages and murders – all to bring a denial of Jesus and finally death. “Satan's greatest temptations are hurled against "good people" - not the drunkards, liars, thieves, adulteresses, and murderers.” (Interactive Bible, www.bible.ca/su-devil-control.htm)
But it is also true every time that if we submit to God and resist the devil, God will draw near to us. Both God and Satan are competing for the souls of men and women, and you’d have to be mad to let Satan get his clutches on you!! Trust Jesus. Follow Him always. See 2:10,11,13; 3:11-12; 12:11; 13:9-10; 14:9-13 and 17:14
Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life … The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’… I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 2:10,11,13
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 3:11-12
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not
their lives even unto death. 12:11
If anyone has an ear, let him hear:10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. 13:9-10
“If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image …” 12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them!” 14:9-13
They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and
those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” 17:14