"A War in Heaven”
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.” [Rev 12:7-8]
We usually think of heaven as a place of perfect peace and security. It is, in one sense. After all, it is the place where God dwells. But according to the Bible, heaven is also a place where Satan and his cohorts have access. Along with the book of Job, our passage this morning references this reality. Satan continues to go before God [in heaven] as the “accuser of our brethren” [Rev 12:10]. In the first chapter of Job we find Satan accusing Job before God. “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?” [Job 1:10]. “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” [Job 1:11]
This was, indeed, a serious test for Job. And while it highlights a philosophical question, “why does God allow good people to suffer?” underneath this is a fundamental truth that Satan has access to heaven. Contrary to the myth that Satan is in charge of hell, the reality is that he has yet to be there. The Bible records that Satan is the “prince of the power of the air” [Eph 2:2], as well as “the ruler of this world” [Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:1]. And so he goes to and fro about the earth looking for those that he can accuse before God in heaven with the hope of destroying them, just as he tried to destroy Job.
Satan’s sentence will be the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium (20:7-10). But when he enters hell, he will not be in charge; “he will be the lowest inmate there, the one undergoing the most horrible punishment ever inflicted on any created being.” [MacArthur]
There are stages in Satan’s demise that Scripture describes. It began when he was cast from the Mount of God because he desired “to be like the Most High” [ref. Isa 14:12-15; Eze 28:12-17]. His authority was dealt a severe blow at Jesus’ First Coming [ref. Luke 10:18-19]. In the latter half of the Tribulation he will be cast out of heaven and confined to the earth [described in our passage this morning]. During the Millennium he will be bound in the abyss [Rev 20:2]. And finally at the end of the Millennium just prior the Eternal State [Rev 21-22] he will be cast into [and confined to] hell forever.
This morning we will look at these stages of Satan’s demise with a focus on how Satan attacks us now as the “accuser of the brethren.” Next week we will finish Chapter 12 and see how one of Satan’s primary objectives when confined to this earth will be to annihilate Israel.