“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. 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. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 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. 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 12:13-17 ESV)
How Do We Overcome Satan’s Fury?
Trust in the ultimate protection of God (Revelation 12:6, 14, 16)
Satan tries to devour us and drown us. God gives wings and God opens the earth. These symbols show God’s protection of us from evil. Thinking that an enemy like Satan might keep us locked in our houses for fear is exactly the opposite of what John wants. No matter what Satan throws at us, God is there to protect us. Sometimes wings get us out of danger and we flee temptation. Sometimes God’s providences keep us from being overwhelmed. Sometimes it is the truth of God’s Word counteracting Satan’s lies. Most often it is God’s love and grace that allow us to endure suffering that evil brings to us.
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
As powerful as Satan is, he is not God. This isn’t some kind of dualism between a powerful good and a powerful evil and both struggle for supremacy. We don’t tap into a force that is all around us (ala Star Wars). God is personal and all-powerful. He is sovereign over Satan as well. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
Live in the already victory of Jesus (Revelation 12:10)
“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. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 12:10-11)
I’m sure you’ve seen video near the end of some game where the camera pans the benches of both teams. You could have it muted and not know the score and still tell which team is about to win. The losing team has towels over the head. They are moping around. There’s no energy or excitement. They simply want it all to be over. But the winning team is all smiles. Teammates are hugging. The coaches are beaming. If it’s a big game, before it’s even over, they douse the head coach with the Gatorade bath. There is lots of enthusiasm even before the game is over. Wait, the game isn’t over yet. There’s still 30 seconds. Yeah, but the one team is far ahead and the victory is certain. That certain victory energizes them even though the game isn’t over yet.
Isn’t that what we see here? “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come.” (Revelation 12:10, emphasis added) Not someday. Now! They have conquered by the blood of the Lamb. It’s a past tense victory, yet we are only in chapter 12 of Revelation. The game isn’t over. The beast and false prophet of Revelation are about to rise out of the Sea in chapter 13. There are terrible things yet to come. There are seven chapters yet till Jesus returns. How can we be excited while living in chapter 12?
When Christ died in our place, there were no more accusations that Satan could make against us. Why? Christ took all that guilt that Satan rightly pointed out, and died for it. Now there is no more sin Satan can accuse us of. Jesus shut him up and we conquered him by the blood of the Lamb. The victory is already won.
In terms of teams, we are on the sideline of the winners, yet it seems to me that too often Christians and churches act like we are losing. It’s like we don’t realize the score. If we did, shouldn’t we have a greater sense of joy? Smiles? High fives? Hear God’s announcement: you are on the winning team!
How? Fearless confidence toward the future (Revelation 12:11)
“…and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
See the repetition? How do we overcome? By the blood of the lamb (the actual victory) and by the word of their testimony (the lived-out victory). We haven’t won; we live a victory won by someone else. In this way, we are more like the fans in the stands cheering and enjoying the victory. Ask a fan of the winning teams what happened in the game. They will say, “We won! We won!” Actually, they didn’t do anything at all. But the fan identifies with the victor and lives out the victory by another as if it is his own.
Christianity is living out the victory won by another as if it is our own. By faith, it is our victory, which should give us incredible optimism about the future, even when we are about to die. Here’s the NLT translation of verse 11, “And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” (Revelation 12:11 NLT)
How do you know if you really get that Christ has already won the victory? When you hear the words, “You have cancer” and it doesn’t change your confidence at all. When you watch your dear Christian loved one’s life ebb away—not with ultimate despair—but rather in faith that this is not the end for them. When our confidence in ultimate victory keeps us resolute and rejoicing even in the face of death, we overcome the dragon at the manger.
This brings us back to this male child who was born. Was his birth the victory? No. The cross was the victory. But his arrival signaled the beginning of the end for Satan’s dominion on earth. We call that Christmas.
The nativity of our hearts rightly includes shepherds, animals, and Joseph. But also, a woman, a dragon, and a deliverer, who is Christ the Lord.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Additional quotations taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
© 2017 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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