V77And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,. Now we will get the explanation of why the woman has to flee to the wilderness. That’s because satan is thrown out of heaven to the earth, which is the result of a war that ignites in heaven. It could be the case that satan thinks that he has a chance to seize power in heaven, now that the beast and the antichrist have full control on earth. It may also possibly be a last act of despair to stop the coming definite judgments.
In the outbreak of the war two superpowers stand against each other, two leaders and each of them has an army that is led by them. The one party is Michael with his angels, which are the elected angels. The other party is the dragon, which is satan with his angels, which are the fallen angels. With heaven, the territory where the war is going on, is meant here the firmament of the heavenly places. It is not the place where God dwells and to which satan has access. There he is unable to develop his power in opposition, but is totally subjected to God.
V88and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.. In this war the dragon and his angels have to face Michael and his angels. The fight is fierce, but satan has to suffer the defeat. He and his angels are removed from heaven, where they up to that moment have had access. It is actually important to see that it is not a war between the Lord Jesus and satan. That wouldn’t be a war between two more or less equivalent superpowers, for the Lord Jesus is God the Almighty and satan is His creature.
V99And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.. It is comprehensively made clear here that the great dragon is satan. The great dragon is “that serpent of old” from Genesis 3 (Gen 3:11Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”). The name ‘serpent of old’ is a reminder of his great power that lies in his deception. The name “devil” is derived from the Greek diabolos and it means ‘accuser’ or ‘slanderer’. His work consists of speaking evil and accusing, whereby he distorts the truth. The name “Satan” means ‘adversary’. He is the archenemy of God and His Christ. He is the liar and murderer of men from the beginning (Jn 8:4444You are of [your] father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature], for he is a liar and the father of lies.). He is relentlessly and unchangeably active in deceiving the whole world, all men and in particular to take God’s children away or to drag them away from God and Christ.
After his humiliation because of his resistance against God Who removed him from the holy mountain of God (Eze 28:14-1614“You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you [there].
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
15“You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
16“By the abundance of your trade
You were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.
; Isa 14:12-1512“How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13“But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15“Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit.
), he still had access to God. You see that in Job 1:66Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.; 2:11Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.. But it is over now. He is thrown on the earth in order to be even more humiliated. That will happen when he will be locked up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. After he will be released from there for a short period of time, he will get his deepest and definite humiliation when he will be thrown into hell (Rev 20:3,103and he threw him into the abyss, and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.10And 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.). The Lord Jesus has seen and foretold his fall (Lk 10:1818And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.).
V1010Then 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 brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.. The great dragon and his angels are removed from heaven and thrown out on the earth. After satan is thrown out from heaven a voice in heaven speaks about “the salvation” that has come. That refers to the millennial kingdom of peace. It is the salvation of the whole creation from the power of satan and the coming of the wonderful time of peace and righteousness over the whole earth. Then the kingdom has come with power.
The voice in heaven that John hears, speaks about “the kingdom of our God”. It is the great victory of the God with Whom they have come into relation by putting their trust in Him in the sacrifice that He has given in His Son for them and their sins. That Son is His Christ to Whose authority they have submitted themselves and Who now will exercise that power over the whole creation. They know that they are related to others, “our brethren”, who have also by faith entrusted themselves to God and the power of His Christ.
Their brethren who at that moment are on earth have nothing to fear anymore of a satan in heaven who accuses them before God (Zec 3:11Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.). Satan, “the accuser … has been thrown down”, who relentlessly “accuses” the believers “before our God day and night”. The time of accusing is over. The beginning of the fall of satan is the harbinger of the ultimate victory.
V1111And 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.. The fall of satan will have devastating consequences on the earth. But for those who believe the victory will be certain by the blood of the Lamb. Their testimony which they gave by their word is also a triumph over satan. They have not bowed their knees to him, but they have defeated him by their testimony, even though it has cost them their lives. At the same time they had the assurance that they could not ever lose life because they believed in the power of the blood of the Lamb. The body can be killed, but not the soul. It seems that these are the martyrs of chapter 6. “They did not love their lives” (Rev 6:99When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;), but they gave their lives unto death by their persistent testimony of the Lamb.
V1212For 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.”. Now the accuser has been removed from heaven there is room for joy. But for “the earth and the sea”, whereon the devil was been thrown down, the consequences are terrible, even though these consequences will not last long. With ‘the earth’ Israel is meant in particular, while you should consider ‘the sea’ as the restored Roman empire.
When satan is thrown down on the sea the great tribulation will begin, which will last for three and a half years. His anger has no limits, but fortunately his time does (Mt 24:22,2422Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.24For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.). The devil, “knowing that he has [only] a short time”, will make every effort to cause a persecution that is unprecedented in history.
V1313And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male [child].. You have read in verse 66Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. about the runaway of the woman. In the verses 7-127And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,8and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.9And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.10Then 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 brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.11And 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.12For 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.” you saw why that was necessary: it has to do with the throwing out of satan on the earth. Now your attention is drawn again to the runaway of the woman and you get further particulars regarding her runaway. The anger of satan is now especially focused on the believing remnant of Israel, that is represented by “the woman who gave birth to the male Child”. Out of this nation Christ was born Who will fulfill God’s plans with His people and the world.
Satan is called “the dragon”, because he seeks to devour cruelly and without any compassion. Here satan takes off his mask. First he showed a friendly face in the monstrous covenant that he caused to be made between the Roman empire and the apostate Israel (Dan 9:2727And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations [will come] one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”). That is in the period of the first part of the last week – a period of seven years – Daniel writes about. The temple service for instance was still allowed to take place. But that changes when satan will be thrown down on the earth. Then he will do everything possible and will use all the means he has at his disposal to eradicate everything that has to do with God.
V1414But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.. God gives the woman “two wings of the great eagle” at her disposal. The wings enable her to escape from the anger of the dragon (cf. Exo 19:44‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.; Deu 32:1111“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
That hovers over its young,
He spread His wings and caught them,
He carried them on His pinions.
; Isa 40:3131Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up [with] wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.). Those wings also enable her to fly “to her place”. God has a place for her where she will be kept safe from the dragon and where He will take care of her during the time that the dragon is allowed to do his atrocities on earth (Mt 24:15-1615“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),16then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.).
With “a time and times and half a time” again the three and a half year of the great tribulation is meant. ‘A time’ indicates a year, ‘times’ indicates two years and ‘half a time’ indicates one half year. In her hiding place “the serpent” with his deceptions has no access to her.
V1515And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.. When you consider the serpent as the deceiver, you may consider the water that comes out of his mouth like a flood as an enormous flood of deceptions. The purpose of all kinds of deceiving miracles and signs is also to get hold of the elected ones. The deception will be phenomenal and will be a part of the great tribulation. When there is an enormous threat, there is a great risk to give in to all kinds of miracles and signs that come out of the mouth of the deceiver (2Thes 2:9-109[that is], the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.). If those days were not shortened, then even the elected would fall prey to it. But they will be shortened precisely for their sake (Mt 24:2222Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.).
V1616But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.. God will supernaturally intervene, in order to make the attempts of the serpent (here again called dragon) fail. He has His instruments on earth that will help His people in that time of the greatest need. These are probably people who stand up for the persecuted ones and take care of them. God makes sure that His people will not die. He makes a hedge around them (cf. Job 1:1010Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.). He does not yet act openly in the favor of His people, but He protects them in a hidden way against total destruction.
V1717So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.. When the dragon sees that his attempts to eliminate the remnant as a whole have failed, he looks for other victims to express his anger against them. There is still “a rest of her children”. It seems that these are the believers who stayed behind in Jerusalem (Zep 3:1212“But I will leave among you
A humble and lowly people,
And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.
). Because the dragon was focused on the majority, he did not pay attention to the few believers in Jerusalem. God knows those as the ones who keep His commandments. They are focused on Him. That makes them have “the testimony of Jesus”. They are associated with Him.
Now read Revelation 12:7-18 again.
Reflection: What are the consequences when satan is thrown out to the earth?