Summary: This sermon addresses the real and present danger of Satan and demons in our world - and what we puny humans have to fight such a wicked foe.
February 5, 2006 Revelation 12:7-12
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
Faith involves seeing things as God proclaims them to be, not as you think they will be or as they seem to be. If you think that this world is getting better, you are spiritually blind. If you even think that the unbelievers who surround you are really actually “pretty good” people - you aren’t looking through the eyes of faith. It is sheer delusion when eternal optimists and politicians attempt to make us think that this world is basically a good place that is going to get better. We know - through the eyes of faith, that this world is not “good.” God’s Word paints a much more sinister view on this world. Why? In Revelation 12, our text for today, God says, “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray . . . was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Notice how John says that Satan doesn’t just have control over the child molesters or the suicide bombers - he leads the whole world astray. This is no fluke passage or anomaly of the scriptures. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” John also wrote in 1 John 5:19 “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” Not only does John say Satan is in the world - but that he is able to control the whole world. Do you think it coincidence that Jesus included in the Lord’s Prayer to “deliver us from the evil one” in Matthew 6:13? He knew Satan was a very active and powerful force in this world.
If you don’t think about the devil, if you don’t pray for protection from him, I would have to ask you, “where is your faith?” Martin Luther included in his morning prayer, “that the wicked foe may have no power over me.” He was even convinced that his bowel problems were from Satan. Now, you may laugh at that and regard him as superstitious, but how do you know? Isn’t it better to overestimate an enemy than to underestimate him? You are not doing yourself any favors if you lessen him to a rather mischievous fellow with red tights on who simply likes to untie your shoelaces from time to time. This danger of the devil is all brought to light in our text from Revelation. He is real. He is our number one enemy. John tells us,
The Great Dragon is Down Here
I. He isn’t happy about being hurled down
The text begins by describing a great battle that took place in the heavens. There was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. There is some speculation as to whether this is talking about a battle that took place during Jesus’ time or somewhere between creation and the fall. There are also questions as to who Michael actually is? Is this another name for Jesus, since Michael means “who is like the Lord”, or is it referring to a separate archangel? Personally, I would tend to think this is talking about an earlier time, prior to Jesus - and that Michael is an archangel - not symbolic of Christ. This may make good conversation among the intellectuals, but it doesn’t really make too much difference in comparison to the main point in the text. The main point in the text keeps pointing to the fact that Satan has been hurled down to the earth. Again, your necks may want to try and peek into heaven to ask God why He didn’t just send Satan straight to hell, but you will choke on that apple. It is best just to deal with that which is revealed to us in the Scriptures.