And I heard a great voice in heaven saying, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, because the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, the one accusing them before our God day and night. And they have overcome him by the reason of the blood of the Lamb and by the reason of the word of their testimony, and they have not loved their lives unto death. Because of this, rejoice you heavens and those dwelling in them! Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you having great fury, knowing that he has a short time.”
As we’ve been going through Revelation 12, I’ve been saying that it revolves around the middle of the week unto the end of the week. This casting down of Satan causes the cry to go out: “Woe!” Back in Revelation 8:13, there was an “eagle” that cried out three woes, for the last three trumpets were woes. I do believe there to be some connection.
This loud voice in heaven that calls these things out goes back to 7:10 and 11:15 where the great multitude gives a similar praise. “Salvation belongs to our God… and to the Lamb.” “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” Here is the struggle: when seeing the progression of Revelation, we can understand that these praises are given at the return of Christ, but why do we have this praise given in chapter 12? If the sixth seal and the seventh trumpet are the return of Christ, then it makes sense that we would see such praises. However, here in chapter 12 we’re at the midway point of the Tribulation.
This “now”, therefore, cannot refer to the coming of Jesus, for there is still a period of 3 ½ years that Satan attacks the woman (verses 13-14). Most likely this now pertains closer to 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, or even more plausible Matthew 24:33 or Luke 21:28. Jesus is telling His disciples that when you see the abomination of desolation, which Daniel spoke of, and when you see these false Christs (which Revelation 13 gives us two ‘beasts’), you know that the time is near. Luke, of course, doesn’t express the abomination of desolation, but does mention the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies, which is also heavily present in the book of Revelation for the middle of the week.
What is this “now”, or as Jesus put it, “near”? There are a couple things to consider. First, the accuser has been cast down. Therefore, we no longer have that temptation of the devil, nor the voice in the back of our minds that would accuse or despise our brethren. What that might be experientially, we can only guess at currently. Without the accuser, and the demonic influence over mankind, tempting and taunting, this particular era will be unparalleled. Yet, we also see that this is the time when there are some who have overcome. This overcoming is something incredibly significant. As the author of Hebrews puts it, applying to Jesus, by death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – the devil – and free those who were held in slavery by their fear of death (Heb 2:14-15). What is this saying? They who “love not their lives unto death”, thus overcoming the fear of death, have overcome the devil and all temptation.
Peter also writes on this when he says that “he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1). He then goes on to explain that “judgment must begin with the household of God”. What is this judgment? Is it they who are wicked that are being judged? Nay, but the very righteous who don’t deserve the judgment. This begs the question already raised by Jeremiah (25:29): If God shall judge they who do not deserve it, then why would the heathen nations expect to not receive that judgment?
The “our brethren” of verse 10 cannot be the angels, though Rev 19:10 might appear to suggest it. It also cannot be the martyred, for they no longer face accusation. Rather, these are they who are still living, and the invisible cloud speaking. Somehow there are these people who are still upon the earth, yet have been “caught up” to heaven, much like Ephesians 2:6 already declares believers to be.
Notice that Zechariah 3:1 is being quoted in Rev 12:10. Just as in Zech 3 the context is that Joshua is given the priestly garments, and is exalted to higher place in God, the Body that overcomes shall also receive this honor.
In verse 11 we have the explanation of the man-child in verses 4-5. When these saints overcome, they come into such fullness to, with Michael, cast down the red dragon and be freed from accusation. This man-child is not Jesus directly, but indirectly. For, we are the “Body of Christ”. These men and women shall at this time relive the glorious display of Christ Jesus unto the world. What was known of Jesus in the Gospels, that this man seemed to be more than human and larger than life, shall be true of the overcomers.
Just as Jesus was able to claim victory over Satan and the world before His crucifixion (John 14:30, 16:33), so we see some saints overcoming before the Second Advent. We can also appeal to 1 John 5:4-5. What is it about the blood of the Lamb and their testimony, not loving their lives unto death, that has the victory? It is the reiteration of the cross (Col 2:15, Eph 3:10). Though they yet live, they endure the cross as reality in their lives. The tremendous thing is that this is not impossible for us currently. What makes this so different than current application is the casting down of Satan. While there can be victory, and therefore the casting down of strongholds and uprooting of principalities and powers over our cities, areas, and nations, Satan still presides “in the air” seeking whom he can devour.
Compare the last clause of Revelation 12:11 with John 12:25, Mark 8:35, Matthew 10:39, 16:25, and Luke 9:24, 17:33.
They who are in heaven are they who have overcome, along with the angelic hosts and the invisible cloud – they who have already passed unto glory. They rejoice because Satan has been overcome, and therefore cast down. See Isaiah 44:23, 49:13, Psalm 96:11.