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War In The Heavens!

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An Untold Christmas Story:  War In The Heavens!

War In The Heavens!

Revelation 12:7-12

       I have on my Army fatigues today to dramatically illustrate the fact that we are in a war, and this war comes to a head every year during the Christmas season.

The Christmas story is not just the story of the Christ-Child, Mary, Joseph, barnyard animals, and heavenly portents; it is also the story of angels doing something in a parallel world.  It is a story of war in the heavens!  A war that was being fought right above the manger in Bethlehem.

Two weeks ago, we began a short four-message series entitled:  “An Untold Story:  War In The Heavens!”  In these messages, we are wrestling with the parallel spiritual universe and the warfare that was going on in the untold Christmas story.

In the first message of this series, we identified the first major character in this story:  the pregnant woman who is in labor.  Although there are various views of who this woman might represent, we chose to see her as the Virgin Mary.

In the second message, we identified the great red dragon and its stance.  It represents the devil and his stance to destroy the seed of every wife of God, whether she is His corporate, individual, national, or prophetic wife—but particularly the seed of the Virgin Mary.

In the last message in this series, we saw this woman give birth to a male child, who would rule the world.  This child was caught up the throne and to God.  This Child was Jesus Christ!

Then the woman fled into the wilderness, to a place prepared for her by God, where she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

(Today, we come to the final scene of this untold story of Christmas.  Would you turn with me to the book of The Revelation, chapter 12, verses 1-12?  Let me read these verses aloud for us, as you follow along silently.)

       Finally, the theme of this series is plainly stated in verse seven:  “And there was war in heaven!”  This is very much like the Matrix.  While we are looking at the manger, there is war right over that manger that we can’t see!!!


(But here, in the book of The Revelation, the Matrix is pulled back and we can see reality!)

       With the curtain of the Matrix pulled back, we can see Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon and the dragon and his angels waging war with Michael and his angels.  Michael is the champion of the Judaic people and is called the archangel in Jude the 9th verse.

       The dragon, Satan, Lucifer, the evil one, the prince and power of the air and his fallen angels wage war against the angels of God and the Kingdom of God.  Can you see the expanse of the cosmic battlefield spread out before us?  It is reminiscent of the intense  battle scenes in “The Lord of The Ring” Series.

·        Just as there was war in the heavens over the Garden of Eden;

·        Just as there was war in the heavens when the Children of Israel were down in Egypt;

·        Just as there was war in the heavens over the virgin Mary, over Bethelehem and the surrounding vincinty, and over the very manger where Jesus was to be laid;

There is war in the heavens right now!!!

·        Can’t you sense the war?

·        Don’t you feel the downward pull of the hellish, holiday blues?

·        Can’t you see the strategy and tools of the devil that he is employing against the seed of Christmas that you have birthed?

(Now, the writer seems to be receiving a revelation that is both historic and prophetic.)

       The dragon and his angels were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  Consequently, the great dragon was thrown down, or cast down, or cast out of heaven.  And now the cover is pulled completely off of the great red dragon.  He is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world.  He was thrown down to earth, and His angels were thrown down with him.  Somebody praise God!!!

       This seems to be a reference to the historic explusion of Satan and his imps from the third heaven, where God and His throne are stationed.  Satan and a host of the angels of heaven were thrown down to the earth!!!


       On the other hand, perhaps this is a picture of the future.  The Word Biblical Commentary says, “this appears to be an event that occurs in heaven and thus corresponds to the eschatological events narrated in Rev 12:7–9”.[1]  This vanquishing is a picture and prophecy of the final defeat that will come in the not too distant future.  Scholars debate, because of the grammar, whether each time that the term “dragon” comes up in the book of The Revelation, it is the same dragon.  We see the final defeat of the dragon, who is the devil, in

Revelation 20:10 (NASB-U), “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (emphasis mine).

(Now, what we are about to see trumpets the victory of God and His people that is on the horizon.)

       All of a sudden, John hears a voice in heaven that he does not identify, but the voice begins to herald the future victory over the evil one as if it was happening in the present.  The voice says, “Now the salvation, i.e. the victory, and the power, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ has come!”  Somebody praise God, because the future victory is already ours, i.e. in the economy of Jehovah God!!!

Now, how do we know that the victory, the power, the Kingdom of God, and the authority of His Christ has come?  “Because the accuser of the brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night!”

       Now, even though Satan was cast out of heaven in the past, in Job 1:6-7, we see that he still has access to heaven and comes back and forth from earth to heaven, before his final defeat.

       So, the scene seems shift back forth between heaven and earth, the future and the past!  The battle is fierce and it is vast, and the devil wants to devour anything that has to do with Christmas!!!

(Now we get a glimpse of the soldiers and heroes that are on the earth.)

Again, I have on my army fatigues to remind us that we are soldiers in a warfare!!!  And here we get a glimpse of some of our fellow soldiers.  These soldiers are heroes that are evidently on the earth during this battle with Satan, and they are evidently martyrs.  They appear to be martyrs because of the last clause in this verse, “and they did not love their lives even when they were faced with death.”

“The verb, ‘to conquer, be victorious,’ occurs seventeen times in Revelation; when Christ is the subject of this verb (5:5), it means that He conquered through death, and it means precisely the same thing when it is used eleven times of Christians, explicitly in 12:11 and implicitly in the other references (cf. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21[2x]; see A. T. Hanson, The Wrath of the Lamb [London: SPCK, 1957] 165)”.[2]

       “They lived in the Calvary spirit, their lives surrendered to do the will of God, even unto death.”[3]  They understood and lived out what Paul understood and spoke about in

Romans 8:35-39 (NASB-U), “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [36] Just as it is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  [37] But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. [38] For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Likewise, we must be willing to die to give birth to the life of Christmas which God has deposited in our wombs or spirits!  Indeed, although we many not physically die, we will be accused, attacked, and our influence murdered through the tongues of those who care nothing about Christ, Christmas, or the seed of Christmas that we are expecting!!!

Nevertheless, we see that warfare of these fellow soldiers is victorious, because they overcame him (i.e. our accuser).  The word “overcame” is nikao in the Greek, which means to conquer or prevail.  You should know that word, because it is the root of the name of the Sport’s Giant:  Nike!

Somebody praise God, because we see the defeat of and casting down of the accuser of the brethren!

(Now, not only do we see the victory of the brothers and sisters, but we see the means of their victory.)

       They overcame their accuser through the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.

(Let’s deal first with:)

1.     The blood of the Lamb.

The blood of the Lamb includes all the finished work of Calvary.  The blood of Jesus is the ground of victory over Satan, because of its cleansing from every confessed sin, and because at Calvary Satan was conquered (Rev. 12:11)…”[4]  Jesus was born to destroy the works of the devil, and this purpose pointed forward to the blood He would shed at Calvary.  So, whether we understand it or not, Satan is a defeated foe, because of the blood!

       We need to realize that if we depend upon the blood there is no way that we can lose.  Tell somebody, “No matter what the devil tells you, you can’t lose!!!”  This is why the great red dragon wanted to devour the Child, i.e. to prevent Him from growing up, fulfilling His mission, and becoming the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!

(These future, heroic soldiers will also overcome the accuser of the brothers and sisters in Christ through:)

2.     The word of their testimony.

These endtime, heroic soldiers rely upon the word of their testimony of the blood of the Lamb and all that they had in Jesus Christ.  “This phrase has several parallels in Revelation:

(1)            1:9, ‘because of the word of God and my witness to Jesus’;

(2)             6:9, ‘because of the word of God and because of the witness which they bore’;

(3)             12:17, ‘who … maintained their witness to Jesus”;

(4)             19:10, “who maintain the testimony concerning Jesus’; and

(5)    20:4, “because of their witness to Jesus and because of the word of God’’.[5]


Jack Hayford said that this “word of their testimony” refers to our aggressive declaration of the provision of the blood.  Both, the blood of the Lamb and the aggressive declaration of that provision are essential to effectively resisting the devil.  When Satan seems to be winning, the body and our spirits seem to be shut up, i.e. we have resisted Satan inaudibly but we seem to have no audible voice with which to refuse his onslaughts, the believer must now insist on expressing himself/herself in voice, until the spirit breaks through into liberty.

This battle over Christmas can only be won as we invoke the power that is resident in the blood of the seed of the Woman, who was born not only to take away the sin of the world, but also to defeat the devil!!!  Common let’s take up a word of testimony right now!  Repeat after me, “Through the power of the shed blood, we proclaim that we will continue to have a joyous Christmas this year!!!”  Can you see satan retreating right now?

       But, keep in mind, that certain conditions must be met to claim this power.  We can claim the power of the blood of the Lamb against Satan, when we walk in the light and confess our sins, according to the writer John, in 1 John 1:7 and 9. (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 4:7¾antihistimi, “to stand against.”)

Also remember that “…we do not read that any can be put ‘under the blood’ apart from their own volition and individual condition before God; e.g., if the ‘shelter of the blood’ is claimed over an assembly of people, and one present is giving ground for Satan, the ‘claiming of the blood’ does not avail to prevent Satan working on the ground which he has a right to in that person.”[6]

(Finally, we come to the exhortation and the lamentation.)

       We see here an exhortation to the heavens and those who dwell in them to rejoice.  They were to rejoice for this reason, which points back to verse 10.  They were to rejoice, because the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come.  The exhortation to rejoice is because Satan’s home is no longer in the heavens!!!  So, we have a double reason for rejoicing:  1) because God will preserve and protect both our offspring and us; and 2) our adversary and enemy, the devil, will be cast down!!!


(Now we come to the end of this message and this short series of messages.)

Following the exhortation, we have a lamentation or expression of woe, grief, or sorrow.  This paragraph ends with a lamentation to those of us who are on the earth:  “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.”  There is an increase of satanic activity, because:

·        The devil has come down.

·        The devil has come down, having great wrath.

·        The devil has come down, having great wrath, knowing that he only has a short time.

“The anger and hostility of Satan toward the people of God are here said to be based on his awareness of the temporal limitations God has placed on his activities”.[7]

       Right now you are probably lost!  You may be asking, “And what does this have to do with Christmas!”  It’s right in front of us, but it is hidden in a spiritual world that we seldom consider.  The devil has come down, having great wrath, knowing that he only has a short time, and the major battlefield has always been—and continues to be—Christmas and all that it embodies!!!

But, the devil is an evil, malignant spirit.  So, as long as we are on this earth and Christmas is celebrated, there will be war in the heavens.  Consequently, remember:

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT), “A final word:  Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. [11] Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. [12] For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”

This is “The Untold Story Of Christmas:  War In The Heavens!”  But do not fear, for satan has been defeated in the past and we shall defeat and overcome him, in the future, with the blood of the Lamb and the Word of the our testimony.  And one day, we shall celebrate Christmas forever!!!


(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


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[1]Aune, D. E. 2002. Vol. 52B: Word Biblical Commentary : Revelation 6-16. Word Biblical Commentary . Word, Incorporated: Dallas

SPCK Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge

[2]Aune, D. E. 2002. Vol. 52B: Word Biblical Commentary : Revelation 6-16. Word Biblical Commentary . Word, Incorporated: Dallas

[3]Jessie Penn-Lewis, War On The Saints, The Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1977, p. 135.

[4]Jessie Penn-Lewis, War On The Saints, The Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1977, p. 45.

[5]Aune, D. E. 2002. Vol. 52B: Word Biblical Commentary : Revelation 6-16. Word Biblical Commentary . Word, Incorporated: Dallas

[6]Jessie Penn-Lewis, War On The Saints, The Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1977, p. 45.

[7]Aune, D. E. 2002. Vol. 52B: Word Biblical Commentary : Revelation 6-16. Word Biblical Commentary . Word, Incorporated: Dallas

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