SYNOPSIS – Expelled from Heaven, the Dragon intensified his “war” against the “woman” and “her seed” – Revelation 12:7-17.
With the exaltation of the “Son,” the “Dragon” was expelled from heaven, having lost the battle with Michael and “his angels.” Enraged, he intensified his “war” against the “woman clothed with the sun,” especially against the “rest of her seed.” With the victory of the “Son,” the “war” waged by the “Dragon” entered its final phase – the “short season” that remained.
(Revelation 12:7-12) – “And there came to be war in heaven: Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels; and he prevailed not, neither was place found for them any longer in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent, he that is called Adversary and the Satan, that deceives the whole habitable world, he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, Now, has come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; because the accuser of our brethren has been cast out, he who was accusing them before our God day and night; And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by their testimony, and they loved not their life unto death. For this cause, be joyful, O heavens, and you who are tabernacling in it. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the Adversary has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has but a little season.”
The battle between the “Dragon” and “Michael” employs language from the vision of Daniel when “Michael” stood to fight for the people of Yahweh:
(Daniel 12:1) – “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people; and there shall be a season of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that season your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Daniel’s vision predicted a coming “season,” a time when all those whose names were “written in the book” would undergo severe “tribulation.” The fact that the “Dragon” was expelled from heaven by “Michael and his angels” did not mean that troubles ceased for the followers of the “Lamb.”
The “Dragon” is identified as the “Ancient Serpent,” a reference to the “serpent” who “deceived” Eve in the Garden of Eden. The battle portrayed in chapter 12 is an ancient one. He was “deceiving the whole habitable earth,” another clause that echoes the story of Eve – “the serpent DECEIVED me, and I ate” – (Genesis 3:1-14).
The expulsion of Satan did not occur at some point in the remote past but as the result of the exaltation of Jesus to the Throne. Conceptually and verbally, his downfall parallels the “great mountain burning with fire that was cast into the sea” when the second trumpet sounded, the “casting down” of Babylon, and the “casting” of Satan into the “Abyss.” In each case, the Greek verb rendered “cast” is ballō”:
(Revelation 8:8) – “And the second angel sounded; and, as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea.”
(Revelation 18:21) – “And one mighty angel lifted a stone and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus, with main force shall be cast down Babylon the great city.”
(Revelation 20:3) – “And cast him into the abyss, and fastened and sealed [it] over him — that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years should be ended: after these, must he be loosed for a short time.”
With the victory of the “Son,” the role of Satan as the ‘accuser’ came to an end. However, he is not yet out of the fight. Following his expulsion, he assumed the role of the deceiver of the world – “He who is deceiving the whole habitable earth” (Job 1:9, 2:5, Zechariah 3:1-2, Luke 10:18).
“Woe to the earth and the sea, for the Devil has come down to you having great fury,” In view are the assaults of the “Dragon” against the saints. In Revelation, “wrath” is directed against the “inhabitants of the earth” at the instigation of God. In contrast, Satan’s attacks are against the followers of the “Lamb” – (Revelation 6:1-8, 8:5-9:21, 11:7, 13:7-10, 16:1-21).
“Woe to the earth and the sea.” The warning is not to the “inhabitants of the earth,” and certainly not to the literal earth or sea. It anticipates the rise of the “beast from the earth” and the “beast from the sea” in the next vision, the “seed of the Dragon” summoned by him to destroy the “saints.”
(Revelation 12:13-17) – “And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he pursued the woman who had brought forth the male child. And there were given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place where she is nourished from the face of the serpent for a season, seasons and half a season. And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman water as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was angered against the woman and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, with those who were keeping the commandments of God, and holding the witness of Jesus; and he stood upon the sand of the sea.”
The “Dragon” vents his rage by pursuing the “woman”; however, she is protected in the wilderness for a “time, times half a time” – Daniel’s period for the persecution of the saints by the “little horn.” The “nourishing” of her alludes to the story of Yahweh providing Israel with “manna” in the wilderness – (Exodus 16:15-35, Daniel 7:25, 12:7).
“Casting water out of his mouth like a river” does not refer to literal floodwaters. This is simile (“like a river”). Elsewhere, things that issue from a creature’s mouth are words, whether for good or evil. In view are the satanic attempts to overwhelm the “woman” by deception, false doctrines, and “slander” – (Revelation 1:16, 2:16, 9:19, 11:5, 13:5, 14:5, 19:15).
Several of the churches of Asia experienced such deceptive onslaughts. In each case, the attack was linked to Satan – the “synagogue of Satan,” the throne of Satan,” and the “deep things of Satan” – (Revelation 2:2-9, 2:13-14, 2:20-24, 3:9).
God intervened for the “woman” and thwarted this vicious attack. “Enraged,” the “serpent” set his fury against the “rest of the Woman’s seed, to make war with them who were keeping the commandments of God and holding the testimony of Jesus.”
“MAKE WAR WITH THEM” alludes to Daniel’s vision of the “fourth beast” with the “little horn” that “MADE WAR WITH the saints and prevailed over them,” a passage used in the vision of the “two witnesses” who were slain by the “beast from the Abyss.” The same clause occurs again when the “beast from the sea” ascends to wage “war against the saints” – (Revelation 11:7, 13:1-10).
The “seed” of the woman consists of men and women who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus,” a verbal link to the “fifth seal” when John saw the martyrs under the altar “who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had.” When they asked “how long” they must wait, they were told until the full number of their brethren “who were going to be slain as even they” was assembled. The war of the “Dragon” against the woman’s “seed” serves to fill up that number – (Revelation 6:9-11).
Having been expelled from heaven, Satan now begins to make war on the people of God on the earth by summoning his “seed” to execute his plan – The “beast from the sea” and the “beast from the earth.”