2nd Wednesday of Advent
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, dear friends in Christ, things aren’t always what they seem to be, are they? What we see with our eyes is not the full reality, is it? What we are able to see with our eyes is only a small section of what really exists. For example, we can’t see radio waves around us, but they are there. We can’t see air or wind, but we know it’s there. We can’t see atomic particles, but we know they are all around us. We can’t see gravity, we can’t see oxygen, but we know we need it in order to live. There’s a reality beyond that which our eyes are able to detect. That’s also true about something else that is going on around us that we can’t see with our eyes, but God can and has told us about in the Bible. God tells us that there was a war and there continues to be a war in the spiritual realm around us that our eyes do not have the ability to see.
Last week we looked at the first 6 verses of Revelation 12 and were told about this great dragon which represented Satan, a woman which represented the church- all believers, and this child who would rule with an iron scepter- the child represented Christ. The dragon wanted to devour the child, but the child was taken up to heaven out of the dragon’s grasp. The woman, the church, fled into the wilderness to be taken care of by God for the rest of the NT era, until Jesus returns. Now we’re told about a war that took place. And the translation that is used says that it took place “in heaven.” But in the Greek the word for “heaven” and the word for “sky” are the same word. Some commentators immediately assume that this war that took place between the good angels and the dragon and his angels was what took place shortly after creation when Satan rebelled against God. That’s possible, but there seems to be a better explanation of this. The defeat of this dragon we’re told later on was that he was no longer able to accuse God’s people. That seems to imply that for a time he could, but not any more. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb. When did that happen? That happened on Calvary. The defeat of the devil happened with the death of Christ. In John 12 just before Jesus’ death on the cross, Jesus said, “Now the prince of this world will be driven out.” When Jesus died on the cross, the prince of the world, Satan, the dragon, was cast down. This fight seems to be one that took place when Jesus died on the cross.
Michael is called in the Bible an archangel and the name means “Who is like God?” Michael and the good angels fought against Satan and his evil angels. And the battle is over the souls of people. The devil was cast down, hurled down, defeated and he was hurled to the earth. He lost the battle, lost the war, but he’s still fighting, he’s still trying to take as many with him as he can. And how does he do that? We’re told here that his name is the “devil” and “Satan.” Those names are very instructive on the devil’s tactics. The devil’s number one goal is to lead you and me away from God. His number one goal is to try to get as many people to suffer misery in hell with him. He wants to lead people into unbelief. So what does he do? He hates the fact that you are here tonight to worship God and hear his Word. He hates it when you open up your Bible at home. He hates it when you pray to God. He hates it when you reject temptation and don’t sin. He loves it when you’re too busy for God. He loves it when God’s Word becomes less and less a priority for you. He loves it when you doubt God. He loves it when you think sin is pleasurable. He loves it when you break God’s commands. And what does it do to get you to do those things? He lies. That’s what the name “devil” means. He’s a liar. He will try to get you to believe lies. But, he doesn’t stop there. He’s also “Satan.” Satan means that he’s the accuser. Not only does he lie to get your to sin, but he’s also the prosecuting attorney before God. “God, you need to punish those awful people, look at their shameful sins, your justice demands that you send those sinners to hell.” “How could God love such a wicked, immoral, worthless sinner such as yourself?” Satan accuses to drive us into despair. He’ll fight anyway he can to lead you and me away from God.
But what do we see here? Jesus came as a little baby, lived a perfect life in our place, died on the cross satisfying God’s justice that demands that our sins be paid, and rose from the dead winning our full forgiveness. “Now have come the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ, the accuser…has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” The devil will always fight a losing battle. You see, he can’t accuse you anymore. Jesus already died for all your sins, you are forgiven by God Himself. Every time the devil accuses, God says, “What sins? I don’t see any sins anymore. They have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.” The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sins. The devil can’t say anything anymore. The devil lies, he tries to accuse, because he knows that his time is short.
Our eyes can’t see everything. There’s right now a battle waging all around us between the forces of light and the spiritual forces of darkness, good angels and the evil angels. God calls on us to be vigilant, to stay close to the word of testimony, God’s Word, the gospel message. Why so? Because through it God strengthens our faith and assures us that salvation is already ours, the battle has already been won, Satan stands defeated, and we look forward to ultimate triumph in heaven. Why? Because it’s been won for us by our Champion, our Victor, our Savior who came born into our world and placed in a manger. Amen.