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Satan's Global Conflict - Revelation 12:7-17

Taught on | Topic: Satan | Keywords: Devil, Satan, torment, hell, tribulation, heaven, earth, war, spiritual warfare, chaos, temptation, attack, battle, angels, archangel, demons, Israel, evil, rapture, dragon, serpent, enemy, tyrant, cunning, adversary, deceive, pastor, shepherd, accusation, salvation, tribulation, wrath, judgment, banishment, Antichrist, anti-Semitism, eagle, earthquake, flood, blood of the Lamb, Advocate, sins, testimony

"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.

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3/13/2016
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Satan's Global Conflict
Revelation 12:7-17
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
"War in Heaven Brings Wrath on Earth!" That could be the headline of Revelation 12. The ongoing battle of the ages that began in heaven and has played out on earth will reach fever pitch in the coming years. If you're asking What's Next?, the answer in part lies here. The cosmic battle becomes a global battle that will be filled with both woe and worship, both fury and freedom. Let's get more insight into the motivations and actions of the archenemy of God's people.
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What's Next?

What's Next?

We live in a culture that is constantly asking, "What's next?" We want to know the latest fashions, trends, stocks, and gadgets. In a world that's always looking for the next big thing, we can sometimes forget the most important thing. As Christians, we are called to wait with anticipation for the return of Christ. In this series through the book of Revelation, we look forward and ask ourselves, "What's next?"

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Outline

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  1. Satan Is Persistent (vv. 7-12)

  2. Satan Is Perverse (vv. 9-10)

  3. Satan Is Pernicious (vv. 12-17)

  4. Satan Is Preventable (v. 11)

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: March 13, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Satan's Global Conflict"
Text: Revelation 12:7-17

Path

So many jokes, movies, and books illustrate misconceptions about the Devil—but the Bible reveals the startling truth about Satan: he is real, he has access to heaven, and he is not in charge of hell, nor will he ever be. Pastor Skip unpacked two major themes in Revelation 12: war in heaven and wrath on earth. In considering them, we learn a few character traits about the Devil:
    1. Satan Is Persistent (vv. 7-12)
    2. Satan Is Perverse (vv. 9-10)
    3. Satan Is Pernicious (vv. 12-17)
    4. Satan Is Preventable (v. 11)
Points

Satan Is Persistent (vv. 7-12)
  • We picture heaven as a place of worship, but in the future, it will be a war zone. Satan fell from heaven and failed to destroy God's Messiah (see Revelation 12:4), but he will try once again during the tribulation to conquer heaven and thwart God's plans.
  • Satan doesn't give up easily, despite his past failures. He knows he's going down, but he wants to create as much chaos and destroy as many lives as he can—like a "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
  • When God said, "Have you considered My servant Job?" (Job 1:8), He acknowledged that Satan had been watching Job, looking for weaknesses—an unnerving thought. Satan studies us and fashions his attacks around our character and weaknesses.
  • One of the biggest lies that Satan tries to spread is that he is the evil opposite of righteous God. God does not fight battles; He wins them. Satan will fight a losing battle against God's angels—particularly Michael, an archangel associated with Israel's protection (see v. 7).
Satan Is Perverse (vv. 9-10)
  • These verses contain six names describing Satan's wicked nature:
  • Dragon (only seen in Revelation—an indicator of his true character as a fierce tyrant)
  • Serpent of old (his subtle treachery, going back to Eden)
  • Devil (slanderer, gossip)
  • Satan (adversary, enemy)
  • Deceiver (he is the world's pastor, promoting false religion, security, and hope)
  • Accuser (spews accusations against us in heaven)
Satan Is Pernicious (vv. 12-17)
  • Heaven will rejoice at Satan's banishment from heaven, but the earth will recoil: "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea" (v. 12).
  • The tribulation will be a double-whammy: it will be God's judgment against the earth, but it will also be Satan's great wrath as he and his minions are confined to earth for three and a half years.
  • Satan will vent all his violent outrage on the earth, specifically against Israel. Through his servant, the Antichrist, two-thirds of all the Jews will be killed (see Zechariah 13:8), and the abomination of desolation will occur (see Matthew 24).
  • Though the details are unknown, God will protect His people from the flood of Satan's wrath; Israel's darkest hour will lead to its brightest dawn.
Satan Is Preventable (v. 11)
  • Believers in the tribulation "overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb" (v. 11). Satan has built a case against us, but our defense attorney, Jesus, makes a stronger case by His blood (see 1 John 2:1).
  • Like the martyrs, we overcome Satan by the word of our testimony (see v. 11)—our personal statement of faith that tells others who God is and what He has done for us.
  • "They did not love their lives to the death" (v. 11). Our spiritual loyalty is more important than our physical life. Satan can't touch—in any way that counts in eternity—the person who puts Jesus first and everything else last.
  • Once we know how to die, we know how to live (see John 12:25). When we are pressed to choose either the Lord or our own life, we can take missionary James Calvert's stance when he was discouraged from following the Lord: "We died before we came here."
Practice

Connect Up: Satan studies how to harm us, but he operates within strict parameters—by God's permission and for God's purposes. God keeps His eye on His children and His finger on the thermostat. What battles in your life do you need to give over to God, trusting that His ultimate victory is sure?

Connect In: The solidarity of Christian brothers and sisters is so important in resisting Satan's influence. What are some ways that you can support each other in the challenges you face?

Connect Out: What is your testimony? Prepare a brief account of what God has done for you and how He has changed your life. Practice it and have it ready at all times. Ask God to provide you with a chance to share it this week.

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. People have many misconceptions about the Devil:
      1. He is not real at all
      2. He is waiting in hell to torment people who go there
    2. Satan has never been to hell and will not go there until after the tribulation
      1. Satan is not in charge of hell—God is
      2. When Satan finally goes there, he won't be the chief tormentor—he will be the chief target (see Revelation 20:10)
    3. He currently has a certain amount of access to heaven as well as earth (see Job 1:6-7)
    4. This passage focuses on two themes
      1. War in heaven
      2. Wrath on earth
    5. We must learn about Satan so we can add to our knowledge about him (see 2 Corinthians 2:11)
  2. Satan Is Persistent (vv. 7-12)
    1. War in heaven
      1. We usually think of heaven as a worship zone, not a war zone
      2. This passage refers to a future war
    2. Satan finds it hard to give up, though he is fighting a losing battle
      1. He wants to create as much chaos as possible
      2. He wants to bring as many people down with him as possible
    3. Satan personally came to Jesus to tempt Him (see Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)
      1. Satan did not leave Him alone
      2. He departed until an opportune time (see Luke 4:13)
      3. He is constantly looking for ways to lead us astray (see 1 Peter 5:8)
    4. Satan constantly studies us
      1. He studied Job (see Job 1:8)
      2. Jesus told Peter that Satan had been asking for him (see Luke 22:31)
      3. He fashions his attacks based on information he knows about us
    5. Satan's final attempt to take over heaven
      1. This is not a battle between God and Satan
        1. One of Satan's greatest lies is that he is the evil opposite of righteous God
        2. God does not fight battles—He wins them
      2. This will be a battle between Michael and his angels and Satan and his demons
        1. They have fought in times past (see Jude 1:9)
        2. Michael is the great defender of Israel (see Daniel 12:1)
      3. This war could be triggered by the rapture of the church
        1. People who will be raptured will pass through the air (the demons' realm)
        2. The demons may try to hinder their passage
      4. Michael is an archangel (see Jude 1:9)
        1. There is only one other reference to an archangel in the Bible
        2. 1 Thessalonians 4:16: the shout mentioned here could be from Michael as this battle takes place
  3. Satan Is Perverse (vv. 9-10)
    1. Names of the Devil
      1. The Dragon
        1. Revelation is the only book that refers to Satan as a dragon
        2. Mentioned thirteen times
        3. A picture of his character as revealed in the end times
        4. A fierce tyrant
      2. Serpent of old
        1. Genesis 3
        2. Cunning
      3. The Devil
        1. Slanderer, gossiper, one who defames another
        2. Diabolos = slanderous, accusing falsely
      4. Satan
        1. Enemy
        2. Adversary
    2. If you have any relationship with the Devil, make sure he is your enemy and not your friend
      1. He is a fierce tyrant who is very subtle and crafty, who slanders and defames us and is our enemy
      2. "There is something...very comforting in the thought that [the Devil] is an adversary—I would sooner have him for an adversary than for a friend!" —Charles Haddon Spurgeon
    3. He deceives the whole world
      1. He is the world's pastor
      2. He shepherds the flock and uses any type of deception he can to get people to not think about spiritual things
    4. Accuser of the brethren
      1. He has access to both heaven and earth
      2. He accuses us before the throne of God (see Zechariah 3:1)
      3. Some of that spills over into our thought lives
        1. We have feelings of inadequacy
        2. We doubt our salvation
        3. We think there is no way God could want us
  4. Satan Is Pernicious (vv. 12-17)
    1. There will come a time when Satan will no longer have access to heaven
    2. There will be a great tribulation for two reasons:
      1. God's wrath
        1. Wrath of the Lamb
        2. God's judgments on the earth
      2. Satan's wrath
        1. Reaction to banishment from heaven
        2. Satan and his minions will enter earth en masse
    3. Second half of the tribulation = the great tribulation
      1. Three and a half years
        1. 1,260 days (see Revelation 12:6)
        2. Forty-two months (see Revelation 13:5)
      2. During this time, Satan will be filled with wrath
        1. He will have no more access to heaven or the air
        2. "Satan is now like a caged lion, enraged beyond words by the limitations now placed upon his freedom. He picks himself up from the dust of the earth, shakes his fist at the sky, and glares around, choking with fury for ways to vent his hatred and his spite upon humankind" —John Phillips
        3. He will use the Antichrist, who will have made a seven-year peace pact with Israel (see Daniel 9:27)
          1. Will be broken at the three and a half year mark
          2. Abomination of desolation (see Daniel 12:11)
          3. Israel will flee to the wilderness (see Matthew 24:15-25)
        4. There will be a wave of anti-Semitism like the world has never seen
          1. Two-thirds of the Jews will be slain (see Zechariah 13:8)
          2. One-third will be saved (see Romans 11:26)
    4. Revelation is a book of symbols that speaks about a reality that will happen in the future
      1. Eagles' wings (see Exodus 19:4)
        1. God provided protection
        2. He will protect Israel again
      2. Flood
        1. Possibly speaking about a flood of attackers sent to destroy the remaining remnant of Jewish people
        2. The earth will help them
        3. Possibly an earthquake
          1. Five specific earthquakes are mentioned in Revelation (see 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18)
          2. Jesus predicted earthquakes in different places (see Matthew 24:7)
    5. Israel's darkest hour will be followed by Israel's brightest dawn
  5. Satan Is Preventable (vv. 11)
    1. He can be overcome by the blood of the Lamb
      1. In the Old Testament, God told the Israelites to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts as judgment passed over them (see Exodus 12:21-23)
      2. Apply the blood of Christ to your life when Satan hurls accusations at you and tries to get you to doubt
      3. God will bless you by your understanding that you are unworthy
      4. Because of the work of His Son on your behalf, you are forgiven
    2. Satan is the prosecuting attorney who accuses us before God
      1. Jesus us our Advocate, our defense attorney (see 1 John 2:2)
      2. God is the judge
      3. All of Satan's accusations are accurate
      4. But Jesus shed His blood to cover our sins so we can overcome all of the accusations
    3. Your testimony is your statement of faith
      1. Confidence
      2. Witness
    4. Spiritual loyalty is greater than physical death
  6. Closing
    1. Satan hates you and has a miserable plan for your life
      1. As Satan studies us, he plans attacks
      2. He operates within strict parameters
      3. Satan will be sent to hell
    2. God loves you and has an amazing plan for your life
      1. He allows Satan to attack you to strengthen you
      2. He anticipated everything Satan has done and will ever do
      3. He always keeps His eye on His children and His hand on the thermostat
      4. He created heaven for people

Figures referenced: John Phillips, Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Greek words: diabolos

Cross references: Genesis 3; Exodus 12:21-23; 19:4; Job 1:6-8; Daniel 9:27; 12:1, 11; Zechariah 3:1; 13:8; Matthew 4:1-11; 24:7, 15-25; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13; 22:31; Romans 11:26; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 2:2; Jude 1:9; Revelation 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 12:6; 13:5; 16:18; 20:10


Topic: Satan

Keywords: Devil, Satan, torment, hell, tribulation, heaven, earth, war, spiritual warfare, chaos, temptation, attack, battle, angels, archangel, demons, Israel, evil, rapture, dragon, serpent, enemy, tyrant, cunning, adversary, deceive, pastor, shepherd, accusation, salvation, tribulation, wrath, judgment, banishment, Antichrist, anti-Semitism, eagle, earthquake, flood, blood of the Lamb, Advocate, sins, testimony

Transcript

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Hello and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. We pray God uses these messages to reach people around the world. And we're thankful to hear stories of lives being changed by his love. If this message impacts you, we'd like to know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at CalvaryABQ.org/giving.

In our series, "What's Next," we explore the Book of Revelation to see what the future holds. As we approach the second coming of Jesus, Satan continues to war against Christ's church. In the message, "Satan's Global Conflict," we get more insight into the motivations and actions of the arch enemy of God's people. Now we invite you to mark your bibles in Revelation chapter 12 as Skip begins.

Revelation chapter 12-- we've been doing a series in the Book of Revelation. And we're calling it, "What's Next." And we're looking at what's ahead. And honestly, to be quite frank, it's shocking as we discover what is actually written there as to what is next. So you're going to need to get your minds in the game now and your hearts in the game as we look at Revelation 12, this week beginning with verse seven.

Before we even read or consider anything, let's pray. Father, we now want to give you our attention. That's not easy to do in an age where attention spans have been cut short by so many options that we have-- instantaneous gratification by little screens that we project in front of us and any number of things.

We just pray that you will give us ears to hear, and hearts to rejoice that ultimately you are in charge, even with the horrendous things that we read about are coming to this earth. Give us grace, give us patience. Strengthen our walks as we live to serve you. We ask in Jesus' name. Amen.

So this crusty old guy from Massachusetts dies. And he doesn't go to heaven. He goes to the other place. And there in hell, the devil wants to make things really miserable for him, so he gives them a horrible job of breaking rocks with a sledgehammer. And he turns the heat up and the humidity, and checks on him a couple weeks later just to see if the punishment is adequate enough. And he goes and he finds this man from Massachusetts singing, seems happy with a smile on his face.

And the devil goes, "hey, I've given you the worst possible job in the worst possible place. How can you be so happy?"

And he says, "well actually, this hot, humid weather reminds me of being home in Massachusetts. It's like an August day back in Massachusetts. So I sort of feel like I'm back home."

So the devil didn't like that and he decided to change his course of action, and he brought rain and wind to that hellish place, and checked up on this man a couple of weeks later, slogging his way through the mud with the rocks wheel barrel. And yet the man is happy, smiling, singing.

The devil goes, "how on earth can you be so happy?" And the man said, "well, actually this is very much like an April day in Massachusetts. This is like the spring time out on the farm, and it just is so reminiscent of me being back home."

So the devil goes away, decides one last ditch effort to make this man miserable. And he brings the temperatures so low, subzero. He goes back to check on this man. This time he's not only singing, he's dancing, he's swinging the sledgehammer around. He's just happier than ever before.

The devil says, "now wait a minute. It's 40 degrees below zero. There's snow and ice everywhere in hell. How can you be so happy?"

And the man said with a big smile-- the man from Massachusetts, "hell has frozen over." That can only mean one thing. The Patriots have won the Super Bowl.

[LAUGHTER]

Now I share that crazy little story to make an illustration. People have many misconceptions when it comes to the devil. Number one, that he is not real at all. He is not a being at all. He is a fictional character to be used in silly little stories and jokes like the one I just mentioned. Or he is a symbol of evil. When we deal with those shadier parts of our character, we sometimes say, I am battling with my demons. That's all the devil really is. He's not a real entity. That's misconception number one.

Misconception number two is that if the devil is real, he's hanging out in hell waiting to torment people who go there. Nothing could be further from the truth. Would it shock you to know that Satan is not in hell?

Would it further shock you to know that Satan has never been to hell? And that he won't go to hell until the end of the tribulation period. And when he gets there, and he will get there, he will not be the chief tormentor, he'll be the chief target. He'll be the one who's the greatest victim.

In Revelation 20 verse 10, we read, "the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."

When I was growing up I didn't give the devil much thought. I believed I guess, that he existed, but I didn't really think of the devil or demons. I mean, I had parents to contend with. I had teachers to contend with. At that age, that was bad enough for me. It wasn't easy for me. But as I grew older and I got into high school-- some of you know my testimony. I got involved with some very dark practices and it was though I met the devil face to face.

And as Bible-believing Christians, we come to understand by reading our bibles that this devil has a certain amount of freedom and access, not only to the earth but to heaven itself. For when we read the Book of Job, and it says, "one day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan was with them. And the Lord said to Satan, 'where have you come from?' And Satan said, 'from going to and fro on the earth and walking back and forth on it."

So Satan has been on earth but now he is standing before God in heaven to give some kind of an account for his actions. So he has enjoyed some kind of access, not only to earth but to heaven. With that in mind, we're going to jump into Revelation 12, beginning in verse seven, where there are two major themes that confront us in this paragraph.

The themes are war in heaven, wrath on earth-- war in heaven, wrath on earth. And one is the consequence of the other. Because there is war in heaven, something happens that causes there to be wrath on earth. It's sort of like when you were in school and you learned Newton's third law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It's sort of like that here.

Now as we go through our text today, in chapter 12 of Revelation, we're going to learn some character traits about the devil, Satan, our arch enemy. And believe me, this is my least favorite subject to talk about. And yet the Bible says we are not ignorant of his devices. So I want to add to your knowledge so that you are not ignorant of his devices.

And here's the first notable character trait about Satan. Satan is persistent. Watch this, verse seven. It says, "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.

So the great dragon was cast out-- that serpent of old called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world. He was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ have come for the accuser of our brethren who accused them before God day and night has been cast down.

And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice oh heavens. And you who dwell in them, woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea for the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."

Verse seven is a shocker. War in heaven? Now when you think of heaven, do you think of heaven being a war zone? Nobody does. You think of heaven as a worship zone. You have angels and music and joy and glory. But John, in symbolic form looking at what's next in the future, sees war in heaven. Something else that's a shocker-- this is not referring to a past war. This is referring to a future war in heaven.

You see, the past war in heaven has already been discussed back in verse four. We saw that last week. Back in verse four, Satan has already fallen from heaven. He's already tried to eliminate the male child which is Christ. That's verse four. He failed to do so. Jesus grew up, died, resurrected, ascended into heaven. That's verse five. And now we're well into the great tribulation beginning in verse six. So the future war in heaven is what John sees, sometime during the Great Tribulation period.

Which leads me to make an obvious point-- Satan finds it really hard to give up. I mean he's lost the battle in the past, why on earth would he think that he would stage another coup in the future? What brings this on? And before we get to that, just dwell on that thought. Satan is persistent. He finds it really hard to give up. He knows he's going down. He's fighting a losing battle. He knows that, but he wants to create as much chaos and bring as many people down with him as he can.

It's sort of like-- picture a summer day. And I'm standing by the swimming pool, not that I have one. But let's say I'm at your house, standing by your swimming pool. And I have a burger in my hand and I'm right on the edge of the pool. It's just like, I'm not going to go in but it's just there.

And then I turn around and I notice a group of guys with that look in their face coming at me. I know what's in their minds. They want to throw me into the pool. I know I can't escape it. They're too close. They're closing in. So you know what I'm going to do? If I'm going down, I'm going to drag as many of them with me into the pool as I can. You say, you would do that? So would you.

Satan finds it really hard to give up. He is persistent. There was a woman who was having a conversation with a friend, and this gal always paid people compliments. She never said a bad word about anybody-- almost to a fault. And her friend said, "you know, I'm convinced. If the devil were here you'd pay him a compliment." And she smiled and said, "well, you gotta admit he is persistent."

And we all know, that don't we? Know he's persistent. Jesus knew he was persistent. We read in the New Testament that Satan came personally to Jesus to tempt him in the wilderness. But then he left him. And let me ask you this, when Satan left him, did Satan give up? Was that the end of it? It's not the end of it.

Luke chapter four, verse 13. "Now when the devil had ended every temptation he departed from him until an opportune time." Did you get that? He's looking for an opportune time to strike. Peter said, Satan is like a roaring lion roaming around seeking whom he may devour. What kind of a picture is that? Like a lion stocking its prey and studying it, trying to find the right time to attack. So he is persistent.

I think back to that passage in Job. I just mentioned it. When the devil appears before God to give an account, God says to Satan, "have you considered my servant Job who is upright? There is none like him in all the earth." And actually in Hebrew it's more of a rhetorical question. It's, you have been considering or studying my servant Job, haven't you? You've been keeping an eye on him. You've been looking at him carefully, haven't you?

Or how about the time when Jesus told Peter, "Peter, Satan has been asking for you. He wants to sift you like wheat."

Boy, that would be unnerving, would it not to hear that? You know, I don't know if you've ever had the experience of being in a public place only to discover that that person across the room has been staring at you for several minutes now. When you find that out, it's spooky. It's like, I'm getting out of here.

Satan is persistent and he studies our character and fashions his attacks based upon the information that he knows about each of us. So here is John. He sees war in heaven. It's yet future, it's not referring to the one past. At some point in the future then, Satan is going to attempt one final takeover of heaven.

And I want you to notice this battle in specific. It's against Michael and his angels. Do you read that? Michael and his angels against the dragon and his angels. I hope you take a little bit of comfort in the fact that the battle is between angels. It's not God and the devil.

One of the biggest lies Satan tries to perpetrate is that he, the devil, is the opposite of God. He is the evil opposite of righteous God. And so we have this concept floating in our heads that there is this cosmic battle of the universe going on. And in this quarter, ladies and gentlemen, is God. And in this corner is the devil. And they're at it. And who's going to win this round? No.

First of all, God doesn't fight. He just wins. There's really no battle. I mean that-- it's as ludicrous as putting Justin Bieber up against the Rock. I think you know who's going to win the battle-- not really a contest here.

So this is a battle against Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels. By the way, it's not the first time they have squared off. They have fought in times past. If you know your Bible, in Jude, verse 9 we are told, "Michael the Archangel contended with the devil over the body of Moses."

Question-- why Michael? Who is Michael? Well he's called an archangel. And whenever Michael appears in the scriptures-- interesting, we see him as a protector or the defender of the nation of Israel. In Daniel chapter 12, we are told, "at that time Michael shall stand up. That great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people, the Jewish people, the nation of Israel."

Now here's the key question, or least one of them-- what's this war all about? This future battle, what's going to happen? What causes the war? Well I'm not certain but here's a possibility, it could be triggered by the rapture of the church, something we've already talked about. It could be that rapture believers, as they pass through these demons realm, the air, that these demons try to hinder their passage. Remember, Satan is called the prince of the power of the air. That rapture could trigger this war that involves Satan and his angels and Michael and his angels.

Let me throw something else in there. In Jude verse 9, which I just read, Michael is called an archangel. There's only one other reference in all of the scripture to an archangel and that's in the rapture passage-- First Thessalonians chapter four. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with a trumpet of God. The dead in Christ shall rise first then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air."

It could be that this shout is the archangel Michael, and the shout is the confrontation that takes place with Satan and his angels. I'm not certain, just piecing the things together. That's a possibility-- war in heaven. Satan is persistent.

Now let's look further. Look at verse 9 and 10. We discover something else about Satan-- he is perverse. So the great dragon, he's described as, was cast out. "That serpent of old called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world. He was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with them. And then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now salvation, strength, and the kingdom of our God and power of his Christ have come for the accuser of our brethren and who accused them before our God day and night has been cast down."

Now there are several names and descriptions given to the devil in these two verses that are sort of stacked up. Notice them-- he's called a dragon. Do you know that the Book of Revelation is the only book that calls Satan a dragon? He's called a number of other things. But 13 times in the Book of Revelation he's referred to as a dragon.

Why? Because that will be his character revealed in the end times. A fierce tyrant-- a dragon. He's also referred to here as the serpent of old, now reaching back to Genesis three speaking of how cunning he was and crafty and subtle and treacherous. He's also given the most common name we know him by, the devil. The devil is a word that means slanderer. You might say gossiper, one who defames another, Diabolus is the word. He is also called in this passage, Satan, which means enemy or adversary.

So just put those names together and here's what you have, the composite description of the devil. He's a fierce tyrant who is very subtle, very crafty, who slanders and defames you and is your enemy. That should make you happy. And I'm serious about that. That should make you happy. Because if you want any kind of relationship at all with the devil, you want to make sure he's your enemy not your friend-- your enemy.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, "there is something very comforting in the thought that the devil is an adversary. I would sooner have him for an adversary than for a friend."

Notice also in that little passage that we just read, that he deceives the whole world. Now just let that sink in. Satan is the world's pastor. He shepherds the flock of the world and he sends them any possible type of deception it takes just to get people not to think about spiritual things, not to think about salvation or Christ-- any distraction or deception possible. He deceives the world.

Then finally in verse 10 he is called the accuser of our brethren. Interesting. Satan, who has access both to earth and to heaven to appear before God, can accuse people before the throne of God. And it says, he does so day and night. He spews out his accusations.

Just so you have another reference text, Zechariah chapter three-- you know that book in the Bible in the Old Testament where he sees all those visions? Well he sees one vision of Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan standing on his right side to accuse him. He's the accuser.

And I bet-- I just bet that you have even heard the spillover of some of those accusations in your own mind. Thoughts have come to you in your own mind, in your own spirit-- thoughts like, who do you think you are? You're not a child of God. How can you say you're a Christian? You don't belong here. How can you pray to God? You think he's going to answer you? You've heard all of those accusations.

You know, Satan really is a creep. I mean, think about it. He tempts us and before we sin, he just tempts us to do it and says, go ahead, you can get away with it. And then as soon as we do that, and we seize and we sin, then Satan comes on and goes, you'll never get away with that. You creep. You horrible person. That's what he's a master of, the accuser of the brethren. He is persistent and he is perverse.

As we keep on reading, and we will, find out something else about Satan. He is pernicious. Look what he does, verse 12. "Therefore rejoice, oh heavens, and you who dwell in them." Why? Because Satan is being cast out. There's going to come a time where he has no more access to the heavenly realms like he has had and still enjoys to this present day.

"Rejoice, oh heavens, and you who dwell in them." But notice this, "woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you, having great wrath because he knows that he has a short time. And when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth he persecuted the woman." Remember the woman from last week? Who is that? Israel-- the nation of Israel, who gave birth to the male child. We discover that is Christ.

"But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness to her place where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

But the earth helped the woman and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ."

Verse 12 is a powerful woe given to the inhabitants of the earth. Rejoice heaven, woe earth. Singing in heaven, shuttering on earth. Rejoicing in heaven, recoiling on earth. Because now this being, this malevolent being who has had access, even to the heavens itself, is cast down.

Now I believe this is something you really have to understand. If you want to know why the Great Tribulation is such a great tribulation, here's why. There's two reasons. It's a double whammy-- God's wrath and Satan's wrath. God will pour out his judgments upon the earth in an unprecedented manner. It is called Chapter four, the wrath of the lamb, mentioned twice in the Book of Revelation-- the wrath of the lamb.

But I mention there's the double whammy. Here we see the arrival of Satan and his minions on earth en masse. And we are told here that the devil is having great wrath. So it's double wrath. So the battle in heaven becomes the battle on earth. And we're now dealing with the second half of that seven year tribulation known as the Great Tribulation, the last three and 1/2 years, called here a short time. Three and 1/2 years is not a long time. It's a short time. But notice something. Look back in verse six so you get the time frame.

"The woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God that they should feed her there 1,260 days." That's three and 1/2 years in a day time frame.

Then verse 14, "time and times in a half a time." That's Daniel the prophet's way of saying three and 1/2 years. And then just so you make no mistake about it, go down to chapter 13, look at verse five, speaking about the future ruler, the anti-Christ.

"He was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. And he was given authority to continue for 42 months." All of those are the same exact time frame, whether you want to say days or months or time and times and half a time. It's three and 1/2 years.

"During that time, Satan will be filled with wrath." Notice the word wrath. It means a violent outburst of rage. What makes him so wrathful? He just got expelled from heaven. Now there is no more access to heaven and to the air. It's just confined to the earth.

One scholar, John Phillips, in his commentary writes, "Satan is now like a caged lion, enraged beyond words by the limitations now placed upon his freedom. He picks himself up from the dust of the earth, shakes his fist at the sky and glares around, choking with fury for ways to vent his hatred and spite upon humankind."

Do you see this? Having no more access to heaven, he now vents all of his anger on the people of this earth. And he's going to use a ruler to do it, an anti-Christ, a leader who will have made a pact, a protection pact with the Jews for seven years, according to Daniel chapter nine. He will break that pact in the middle of it, at the three and 1/2 year mark. Daniel called it the abomination of desolation. And that's when Israel is to flee into the wilderness where she will be protected by God, according to what we just read.

Now listen to the words of Jesus. They'll suddenly make sense. In Matthew 24, Jesus said, "and when you see the abomination of desolation as spoken of by the prophet Daniel, you who are in Judea flee to the mountains and pray that your flight be not on the Sabbath day." Because in Jerusalem the transportation is shut down on the Sabbath. It makes it very difficult to get around.

So now it all starts to come together as we see. The dragon, Satan, confined to the earth will pour out his fury on the earth, but especially targeting the woman, Israel. There will be a wave of anti-semitism like the world has never seen. According to Zechariah chapter 13, 2/3 of the Jews alive will be slaughtered and only 1/3 will escape. And those are the ones we're talking about.

And Paul said in Romans 9, and all Israel will be saved. They will be protected during this time. Now where they flee to is uncertain. Some people like to get very specific and say it's going to happen in a place called Petra. There is an old Nabatian capital southeast of the Dead Sea known as Petra. It was easily defensible in ancient times. It has a very narrow opening to get into it. It widens out. It can take a large population and some people think that they will be brought to this place of Petra. We're not exactly told.

Some even get so specific-- notice when it says here, "wings of an eagle." They say, well maybe that's our air force protecting them. It could even be the sixth fleet in the Mediterranean Sea coming to their rescue. Maybe. But you know, I don't like to get that specific. This is a book of symbols, speaking about a reality that will happen but in symbolic language.

So in the Old Testament, in symbolic language, listen to what God said to his people, the Jews. Remember how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you to myself. That's just a beautiful, poetic way of saying, I, God himself have protected you. God will protect them. He'll protect them during this time. It says also here, that the earth helped the woman. It opened up and it swallowed up this great flood. That could be simply speaking of the flood of attackers sent from the anti-Christ to destroy the remaining remnant of the Jewish people.

And the earth will help them. How? Well, possibly by an earthquake. Can't be certain. But five times in the Book of Revelation on five different occasions is the mention of specific earthquakes that happen, some greater than others. Jesus even said in the period called the tribulation that there will be earthquakes in different places. So it could be that the earth opens up and swallows the attackers. Don't know exactly, but we do know that Israel's darkest hour will be followed by Israel's brightest dawn. She will be protected by God.

Now look at verse 11. Let's close on this note. It's the best note to close on. Because though he is persistent and perverse and pernicious, Satan is conquerable. He is preventable. Look at verse 11. "They overcame him." They, believers in the tribulation period, overcame him, him being Satan, by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives. Now I know this is referring to tribulation believers, but don't you think we could apply this to our own experiences now?

What do you do when you're tempted? What do you do when you're tempted? What do you do when you're accused and hassled and harangued and depressed, and you feel the pressure of satanic force on you? What do you do? I just get in a fetal position and give up. No. You can overcome him. How? Well notice what it says, "by the blood of the lamb."

You remember back in the Old Testament? The children of Israel put the blood of a lamb on the lintels and the door post of their homes in Egypt and judgment passed over them-- lentils and doorpost in the shape and the sign of a cross. Blood of the lamb was applied and death passed over them.

Apply the blood of Jesus Christ to your life, to all of those accusations that come from Satan. You're not worthy. You're not good enough. You're this, you're that. Apply the blood of the lamb. God will bless you, not on your ability to be perfect or devoted or read your Bible 24 hours a day, but he will bless you by your understanding that you are unworthy but he blesses you and loves you because of the finished work of his son for you, on your behalf. That's the blood of the lamb. That's the blood of the lamb.

You have a prosecuting attorney. That's Satan. He accuses you before God. But you also have a defense attorney, an advocate. First John chapter two verse two, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous. So the prosecuting attorney can come into the courtroom and walk up to the bar judgment of God, at the judgment bar and say, God, Skip is a creep. He doesn't deserve your favor, your blessing. He's done this. He's thought that. He has said this and that.

The fact is he's right. He's right. I have no defense. He's accurate. Everything he said was accurate. But I have an advocate. I have a defense attorney who can walk right up to the judgment bar, lean in and say, hey, dad, do you remember the time I shed my blood for that creep, which makes him your child? So it is my blood that covers his blunders. And he can overcome all of those accusations.

Spurgeon was right. He said, "nothing provokes the devil like the cross." So you remind him of the cross. Second, the word of their testimony-- the word of their testimony. You have a testimony. You have a story, how you came to Christ. What God has done in your life, how he has changed your life.

I suggest that you prepare a two, three, four, five minute version of what God has done in your life, your testimony, how you came to Christ, how you are saved, and have that ready to remind yourself and to tell others of. So that when you hear all of that spillover of these accusations, you say, you know what though, God has been a work in my life. I have a testimony. And it might lead others to Christ as well.

And finally, "they did not love their lives to the death." They did not love their lives to the death. The blood of the lamb, word of the testimony, and spiritual loyalty was more important than physical life itself.

Years ago, a missionary named James Calvert went to the Fiji Islands, then a very hostile region. The captain of the ship taking these missionaries toward the Fiji Islands tried to stop Calvert, and said to him, "don't go to those islands. They will kill you. You will be dead if you go." James Calvert turned to the captain and said, "we died before we came."

I suggest to you, people who live that way are unstoppable people. Nothing can threaten them. They love their lives, or they love not their lives unto death. Jesus said, "whoever loves his life, will lose it. Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it."

Once you know how to die, you know how to live. We died before we came. That was our resolve. So as we close, remember these two things. Satan hates you and has a miserable plan for your life. But God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Satan studies you and will craft attacks in temptations based upon your flaws and your character, your nature.

But God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life and Satan must operate under divine parameters by permission-- by divine permission. Satan was not allowed to attack Job unless he got permission from God-- if you remember the story, Job chapter one and chapter two. And God allowed him to attack under certain strict parameters. Well, why would God allow Satan to attack me at all? To strengthen you. To make you better-- turn up the heat a little bit, to make you tempered. That's why.

So think about it. Everything Satan will ever do is anticipated by God and predicted in scripture. So he operates under very strict divine parameters, which means when you're going through the trial, the temptation, the accusation, the desperation, remember this, God will always keep his eye on his children and his hand on the thermostat. He knows what you're going through. He hasn't lost track of you, and he won't let you become a crispy critter.

So I don't know, Patriots winning the Super Bowl or not, who cares. The ultimate truth is one day Satan will be drop-kicked into hell and incarcerated there forever and ever. That's the end of the story.

[APPLAUSE]

Let that put a smile on your face. Father, thank you that you have given us insight for those who care to read and to apply. These things become all important as we get a little bit of further insight into the character of the one who hates us so, and wants to make our walk depleted and wants to make us discouraged because he is so persistent and perverse and pernicious.

But Lord, I pray that we would overcome, like these future tribulation saints will, by the blood of the lamb, by the word of our testimony. And rather than focusing on our lives, our life would be hidden with Christ in God. We would seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Loving you even more than life itself, in Jesus' name we pray, amen.

As believers, we do not have to fear Satan because we know the story ends with defeat. Does this encourage you to share about your salvation with others? Let us know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at CalvaryABQ.org/giving.

Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
1/10/2016
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What's Next?
Revelation 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
People have always been fascinated with the future and what's next. As we study prophecy, we can't help but wonder if current events play into an end-time scenario. The book of Revelation is John's written account of the spiritual revelation he received from God about the future return and reign of Christ. As Skip begins in Revelation 1, he encourages us to look at the future with faith and hope.
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1/17/2016
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Come Up Here
Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11
Skip Heitzig
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As believers, we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed hope of eternity with Him. Unfortunately, some are put off by the idea of the rapture, because the date has been incorrectly predicted for so many years. In this message, we get a glimpse into the throne room of heaven as we anticipate the joy we'll have at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
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1/24/2016
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What Is Heaven Like?
Revelation 5:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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There are many preconceived ideas about what heaven is like: we might picture ourselves sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a harp, or we see ourselves sitting on a porch or playing a round of golf. Some even think heaven sounds boring. In this message, we examine what heaven will really look like for believers and what we can expect when we get there.
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2/7/2016
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Stampede
Revelation 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The tribulation period will be a time of deception, war, famine, and death for the occupants of the world. The Antichrist will rise to power and masquerade as the Messiah, pretending to bring peace, but instead bringing war. In this message, we learn what will unfold when the first four seals are opened and their terrors are unleashed on the earth.
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2/14/2016
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The World's Greatest Revival
Revelation 7
Skip Heitzig
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During the earth’s greatest trial and tribulation will also come its greatest opportunity for salvation. Even after the church is raptured off the earth and ensconced in heaven, there will be gospel preaching during this time of global pain. This is the flicker of hope that will be offered to the world while God pours out His wrath on it. There are three unexpected discoveries we make about the upcoming tribulation period.
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2/28/2016
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What's Next? from Jerusalem
Matthew 24:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
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3/6/2016
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Cosmic Conflict
Revelation 12:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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There has been an invisible war between satanic forces and God’s purpose and people since time began. To fail to understand this conflict is to fail to understand both history and prophecy. Without the lens provided by Revelation 12, our vision of everything is obscured. We will never fully grasp the plan of God through the ages, the cross of Christ, the tribulation, and the future reign of Christ unless we can comprehend the cosmic conflict that is displayed in this chapter.
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4/3/2016
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The Most Interesting Man in the World
Revelation 13:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world is coming. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare. Since the number six is often the designated number of man in Scripture, let’s examine six characteristics of this most interesting coming ruler.
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4/10/2016
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The Coming Deception
Revelation 13:11-18
Skip Heitzig
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We know for sure that a ruler who will have international authority is coming to the earth. We also know that he will not be alone. There will come a religious deceiver who will aid and abet this global leader. Today, we consider the end-time teaching of the world’s fastest-growing religion to see if there is an interface with the Bible’s predictions about what’s next.
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4/17/2016
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The Return
Revelation 19:11-21
Skip Heitzig
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We now come to the culmination of all redemptive history—the second coming of Jesus Christ. After history runs its sinister course, after the final period of man’s rebellion, Satan’s retaliation, and God’s judgment, the end of the world will come. But the end of this world will actually be the beginning of a new one. The event that hinges these together is the future coming of Christ to the earth. Let’s consider five aspects of His return, spoken of here and throughout Scripture.
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4/24/2016
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Heaven on Earth
Revelation 20:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Mankind long ago gave up on the idea of a future utopia. The thought of perpetual peace and undisturbed harmony became the stuff of fairy tales. But that is precisely what God promised He will bring to this earth one day. Though Satan has exercised a temporary authority over God’s creation for several millennia, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus will return to rule for a thousand years. And it won’t just be a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His followers. This will be a literal dominion over a renewed earth. Let’s explore this thousand-year phase of your eternal future.
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5/22/2016
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What's Next...for Everyone!
Revelation 20:4-7; Revelation 20:11-15
Skip Heitzig
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and shine!" It took a few times, but I eventually got up out of bed. Jesus too will call everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let's consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all live, we will all die, and we will all rise again to live forever.... But where and how?
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6/5/2016
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Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home
Revelation 21-22
Skip Heitzig
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Through the years, I have observed that most people (even Christians) have ideas about what heaven will be like that are vastly different from how Scripture describes heaven. In this series, we have followed the chronological flow of the book of Revelation from the rapture through the tribulation, from the second coming to the millennial kingdom. We turn now to what the Bible describes as the final phase of heaven—the eternal state. Here are a few things that might further surprise you about your future home:
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.