“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11)
Advent appears against a dark backdrop. Jesus came into the world after an extended period of silence from God. And then, as if from nowhere, John the Baptist began announcing the coming of the Messiah and the need for people everywhere to repent of their sin. The first advent of Jesus was a simultaneous call to turn away from sin and escape the judgment to come. Today we hear much about the war over Christmas. What is typically meant are the rather silly efforts to keep sales clerks from wishing customers a Merry Christmas or prevent a city all from featuring a nativity scene. But the real war over Christmas is one which has been going on ever since God announced that the seed of the woman would crush the ancient serpent (Genesis 3:15).
Revelation chapter 12 depicts a great battle in the spiritual realm which has also unfolded within the unfolding of redemptive history. That is, what John describes is a great battle waged by Satan against God and his people. As is the case throughout the Book of Revelation, John employs various cryptic references and metaphorical language in describing this great battle.
The focus of Satan’s rage has been and remains God and his beloved people. The advent of Jesus was disastrous to the enemy’s plans. His efforts to stamp out the life Jesus were entirely frustrated by God Almighty. In his incarnation, death and resurrection Jesus dealt a death blow to the kingdom of Satan from which it will never finally recover. But the fighting persists until the Lord’s second advent and the final judgment. And the focus of Satan’s attack is the church of Jesus Christ. Satan has been and remains the accuser of the people of God and he fights with all the fury of a cornered predator. As Leon Morris writes: “Not much time remains suitable for the activities of the evil one. The troubles of the persecuted righteous arise not because Satan is too strong, but because he is beaten. He is doing all the harm he can while he can. But he will not be able to do this for much longer.”
“Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Revelation 12:12).