An Inevitable Victory
Today we get a glimpse of the grand drama of heaven, a drama in which we have more than a bit part. There is a great conflict between God and our adversary, here personified in a dragon with seven heads and ten horns. How are we to understand this imagery? Are we to relate it to things on earth to try to connect the dots? Yes and no. We should understand and respond to the parts that are obvious revelations of God and His character, of the things that are and are to come, but not get caught up in trying to predict what is not yet revealed to us. Reading this, I sometimes feel like a child reading Shakespeare. As a child, there are reference and inferences I won't understand, but I can still understand the characters from their actions in the drama.
One truth that comes from this passage is our understanding of the rebellion of Satan/Lucifer and how he led other angels into that rebellion as " his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth." We understand this, plus the insight in verses 7-9, to be an occurrence before the creation of the world, a time when Christ was reigning with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but the earth was not even yet formed. Satan was in an honored and honorable place, but he rebelled, seeking his own glory, and lost the first war; more losses are in his future. There is a definite warning here about the outcome of a path of pride and self-will.
In addition, there is a connection between the 7 heads and 10 horns to political entities and their rulers. While many have speculated as to which countries and rulers this might refer to, this understanding may well become more apparent when the events actually occur. John is giving those who will be living in the end times (it might be us!) some insight into the drama, so that they (we?) know that, despite the high drama that will occur, the dragon does not prevail. Here the dragon lies in wait for the male child who will rule, an apparent reference to Christ. Despite the dragon's best plans and efforts, he cannot thwart the plans and intentions of God and both the child and His mother are not only spared, but cared for, in the presence of God and in a "place prepared by God." Despite his continued pursuit and persecution of the woman, there is comfort, protection, nourishment provided for her. Even so, in the midst of the problems, trials and opposition of this life, when we are in God's will, we have a God who prepares a place for us to rest in Him. He provides a place of nourishment here, access to His throne room in prayer and future entrance to that very place. These are all gifts inferred here, and promised elsewhere - so that we can endure. Galatians 6 reminds us, "So let us not lose heart in doing what is right, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not grow weary." I Corinthians 15:58, likewise, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." We have a God who not only arranges the characters, He writes the story and reveals its glorious outcome. In the process, He reveals His own character and commitment to us, His chosen ones.
We may often feel like our lives are not characterized by Victory. This chapter contains the definition of that Victory. John gives us a great vision for the meaning of victory for the child of God. Despite having an adversary who accuses us, we also have an Advocate who redeems and restores us (I John 2:1,2). Our Advocate defeats our accuser. The accuser likely brings up all the reasons why we don't deserve the grace of God, and he is likely accurate. I know that my life provides plenty of material for an adversary to make such a case. I've probably given enough fodder for the prosecution today already to make a case for a summary judgment and a sentence of death (Romans 6:23a). But the glorious truth is that God gives us redemption and He gives us a greater purpose. Not only does He restore and redeem, but He enlivens and He re-purposes. We're made for something more. Listen to these words from the throne of God that speak of a value and a significance far above what we dream and hope for, yet it is what is in His eyes when He looks at us. That is the miracle of salvation; that is the miracle of redemption. We can endure and, yes, even overcome wrath of our Adversary, knowing that our Advocate has already written the final verse, and revealed it in Revelation.
"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 brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 10 Then I heard a strong voice out of Heaven saying, Salvation and power are established! Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah! The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out, who accused them day and night before God.
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness. They weren't in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ.
"For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time."
TOM ALBERS | Elder Chairman
Tom committed his life to Christ as a junior in high school in 1975. After moving to Austin in 1995, Tom and Cindy attended Hill Country Bible Church in Cedar Park before becoming part of the HCBC Pflugerville and Hutto Bible church plants. Tom serves as a Small Group Leader and in Youth ministry and in other ministry oversight roles. Tom and Cindy were married in 1986 and are parents to Will, Emily, Clare, Hannah and Nathan and grandparents to Owen.