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Satan is Out to Destroy You

Revelation 12-15

Jim Davis

Satan is out to destroy you!! This is no scare tactic. The kingdom of darkness seeks to rule our world today. It is as real as light and darkness. The spiritual blindness Satan seeks to instill into our hearts is designed to make our world a dark place to live. The darkness Satan seeks to impose upon our world is designed to lead us to a point where every thought and inclination of our hearts is evil continually. Don’t forget--he has done it once--he seeks to do it again (Genesis 6:5). In the following verses Paul describes such a world.

Ephesians 4:18-19
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (NIV)

In the jungles of the Amazon there is a slave-making ant that illustrates what Satan is set out to do. Hundreds of these ants of the Amazon periodically swarm out of their nest to capture neighboring colonies of weaker ants. After destroying resisting defenders, they carry off cocoons containing the larvae of worker ants. When these "captured children" hatch, they assume that they are part of the family and launch into the tasks they were born to do. They never realize that they are forced-labor victims of the enemy. Just as these little creatures are bound from the time of their birth, so we enter the world enslaved to sin and Satan.

The deceitfulness of Satan’s tactics blinds us to his enslavement. It blinds us to the ferocious battle he is actually fighting to gain control of our world. John received a message from an angel that was bitter sweet. (10:10-11) The bitterness of the message he received is seen in Revelation 12-14 as a frustrated enraged Satan seeks to gain control of our world.

Satan’s Battle to Destroy the World (Revelation 12-13)

The Bible makes no illusions about the fierceness of Satan’s battle to keep our world in darkness. In Revelation 12 John’s vision reveals an enormous monster seeking to destroy God's people. We see Satan portrayed as a red dragon with seven heads and ten horns with seven crowns upon his head as his tail sweeps a third of the stars from the sky (12:3-4a). John describes the war the dragon is making against "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (12:17). It is an apocalyptic scene of tyranny.

The dragon is portrayed as making war against a pregnant woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet wearing a crown with seven stars on her head. John identifies the dragon as Satan. The dragon stood before the woman as she gave birth to a child. He seeks the destruction of the child the moment it is born. As the woman gave birth to a male child destined to rule all the nations with an iron scepter, the child is snatched up to God's throne and the woman fled to the place of God's protection on earth. It is obvious that the child given birth by the woman is Christ.

Christ was caught up into heaven as Satan sought to destroy him, but it was not before Christ died on the cross. It was through his death that he became victorious over Satan. The moment Christ commended his spirit to God, the earth began to shake and dead bodies resurrected from graves in Jerusalem. That final battle that literally shook the earth and veiled the sun brought Christ victory.

Revelation 12:7-9
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. (NIV)

Satan is spoken of as the accuser that stood in God’s presence accusing God’s people night and day. (12:10-12; Job 1:6-9) He no longer occupies this position. Satan was cast out of heaven and he can no longer accuse God’s children. Jesus Christ came to our defense and defeated Satan’s efforts as he brought forgiveness. Christ’s sacrifice presents us to the Father as if we had never sinned. Satan lost the heavenly battle; but his battle to rule the inhabitants on earth continues.

Revelation 12:12
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." (NIV)

Too often we use the book of Revelation like a crystal ball to track Satan’s activities on an international level. We seek to interpret world affairs in light of the apocalyptic message, while we refuse to see how Satan’s battle for our world invades every facet of our private lives. Satan seeks to rule your private world. He seeks to destroy the world at large by destroying us as individuals. He seeks to alienate us from each other in an effort to destroy the social fabric of society.

Satan seeks to rule the world by placing his seal of ownership upon each of us. After the dragon, i.e., Satan, is cast to the earth, John saw a beast rise up out of the sea. He is described as a monster with seven heads and ten horns with a crown upon each horn, wearing upon his head the name of blasphemy. He looked like a leopard with the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. Satan gave him his power. The world wandered after the beast and worshipped Satan who gave him his power. The world was made to think that no one had such power and no one could make war against him. The beast blasphemed God’s name (13:1-6). The imagery describes the tyranny of Satan’s efforts.

Then John sees another beast coming up out of the earth with two horns like a lamb and he spoke like a dragon. He had the same power of the first beast. He appears as meek as a lamb, but his monstrous voice betrays his intent. His job was to cause the inhabitants of the earth to worship the first beast. He was given power to deceive the inhabitants of the earth into worshipping the first beast. He caused the inhabitants of the earth to receive the mark of the beast, which was "666".

It is almost impossible for us to identify the beast with the number "666". Domitian, the Roman emperor in John’s day blasphemed God. He appropriated to himself the titles of deity. He demanded that he be spoken to as "Supreme Lord and God." He refused to accept correspondence with out this salutation. Images were set up throughout the Roman Empire to make emperor worship easy. Those who engaged in emperor worship received a mark upon their hand or forehead, which proclaimed their loyalty to Domitian. Without this mark they could not buy or sell, i.e., do business. Those who refused to proclaim their allegiance to him were killed. Of course, Christian’s refused to worship him and they were slaughtered. There have been many efforts to identify others with "666".

Whether we ever agree with this view of the apocalypse or not, there is one thing every one can see with certainty in John’s revelation—Satan is out to place his seal upon you to claim you for himself. If we only seek to identify the specific person of "666", we will fail to recognize Satan's personal presence in our world today. When we see the darkness in our world from whatever source it emanates, we are witnessing the influence of the beast of Revelation. It may not be the very thing John wrote about, but you can rest assured that it is Satan. Satan hasn’t changed his tactics. He is as real as ever.

"Revelation is a series of apocalyptic images given for the assurance of the people of God that Christ is going to be victorious over all opposition. For the Christians of John's day the assurance was given by showing the victory of Christ over the system of emperor worship because that was the greatest enemy of Christ in that day. The same assurance is given to Christians in every age. Find the greatest enemy of Christ (whether corrupt religion, godless government, social anarchy, or any other), put it in the place of emperor worship, and see its eventual failure as the living Christ, the redeeming Lamb, marches to victory over chaotic world conditions--Worthy is the Lamb." (Ray Summers, Worthy Is the Lamb, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1951. Page 208)

We get lost trying to calculate the mark of the beast. We lose sight of the fact that Satan is out to mark men and women of every generation, not just John’s generation. Satan is behind every evil deed done in our world. He is behind every lie, every immoral deed and every opposition to righteousness. He operates through human beings to promote his cause without identifying himself as the culprit behind it all. You don’t really think that he is going to place a mark upon his people so you can identify them, do you? On second thought, as you observe the growth of Satanic worship you begin to realize that he is getting very bold.

Our society is reflecting the values of Satan in an unprecedented way. Look at the values espoused in your living rooms and dens through mass media. A poll was taken during one week of prime time television recently; it revealed that 20 of the shows during prime time were espousing homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle. Almost every show is promoting living together without marriage, as marriage is made to appear obsolete. Truth is a rare commodity from the pen or the tube today.

Satan is attacking the Boy Scouts because they refuse to deny God and the principal of absolute moral truth. It is not just about the Boy Scouts, it is an attack upon the grass roots of our society. When the battle against the Boy Scouts is won they will begin to take on everybody.

Satan is holding seminars such as the "Jesus Seminar" which was conducted recently here in our area. They question the validity of Jesus’ miracles and teaching. They are convincing many that the spiritual truth of the Bible can be upheld while attacking the historical accuracy of his miracles. I would like to have gone to see what they were saying, just to know how to defend Jesus, but I wasn’t going to pay to attend Satan's seminar against Jesus. Many went to that seminar, and of course the liberal press had a great time as they sought to raise doubt in the minds of believers.

Religious division has been promoted by the demons of hell to discredit Christianity. Many so-called Christians can't decide whether Jesus is real or fake. The person who invited the people to do the Jesus Seminar was a "Christian". He said he was searching for the truth about Jesus. Christians can't seem to agree upon anything--who do you think is behind this?

Time Magazine printed an article as its cover story: Jesus of Nazareth—An Untold Story, written by novelist Reynolds Price. The summary of the articles says, "The novelist Reynolds Price surveys current archaeological evidence and, combining that with biblical scholarship and his own literary imagination, crafts a new Gospel that illuminates cryptic passages in the traditional narrative." (Time Magazine December 6, 1999)

ABC had a broadcast questioning the identity of Jesus Christ. The conclusion was that he was a great teacher, but he is not who he claimed to be.

Do your remember studying what history calls "The Dark Ages." Guess who brought that darkness. The Dark Ages occurred as a result of Satan’s tyranny brought against the world after his defeat in heaven. It was just an extension of his furious rage John speaks of in Revelation. Satan is very much alive on planet earth and he continues his furious rage against Christ’s followers.

Satan’s Battle to Destroy the Church

Satan’s tyranny isn’t focused solely on the world at large, but it continues to rage against the churches throughout the land. Satan was seeking to rule in the church of Ephesus as the church left her first love. He sought to destroy the church at Smyrna through persecution. Satan was present in the churches of Pergamum and Thyatira as God’s people were being seduced to fornication. He sought to destroy the church at Sardis as he deceived them into thinking they had a vibrant faith when their faith was dead. He was smothering the love of the Laodiceans with riches.

Paul warned first century Christians about the demons that would seek to destroy them.

1 Timothy 4:1-6
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. (NIV)

Are we so naïve in our thinking that we believe Satan is not waging his war against us today? As you look around at congregations you see them with the same problems that the seven churches of Asia had. In fact, we see the church embracing the lifestyles of the world as they seek to embrace the homosexual lifestyle. Many ministers are ready to perform marriage ceremonies for them. When Satan was defeated in heaven he turned the full force of his rage upon the inhabitants of the earth and particularly the seed of the woman, which John describes as those who seek to obey God’s commands. Satan is here to make war against the church.

Revelation 12:12-17
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." When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring-- those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (NIV)

Christians are warned not to receive the mark of the beast.

Revelation 14:9-11
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." (NIV)

Christ Provides the Means to Victory

Revelation 12:10-12
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." (NIV)

As Satan makes war against us we are assured of God's protection. It is not the kind of protection that eliminates the realities of spiritual battles. It is the eternal protection of our souls that John envisions as Satan rages against the woman and her offspring. The blood of the Lamb and the saint's testimony provides the needed protection against the onslaughts of Satan. The testimony of first century Christians has become the Word of God. Of course, the Word of God must become our testimony as we seek to live by it.

2 Peter 1:15-21
And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

Can you begin to understand why Satan is attacking the Lamb and the Word of God today? He is seeking to destroy the protection Christ offers. Satan is convincing some that there is nothing they can do to turn the tide in our world. They are admitting that society is decomposing and stopping the decadence seems hopeless. It seems hopeless because we refuse the blood of the Lamb and the Word of God. For those of us who are asleep in Zion, we had best wake up to what is going on. We must not forget that Satan is out to make war against God's saints and to conquer us (12:7). Life is not about money; it is about values.

In Revelation 14 John encourages us to faithfulness as he gives us a glimpse of the victory belonging to the faithful.

Revelation 14:1-6
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-- to every nation, tribe, language and people. (NIV)

The victory of the saints is made possible by their enduring hold on the eternal gospel (13:10). John encourages us to patiently endure as he gives us a glimpse of the redeemed. John mentions 144,000 who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but earlier in his apocalypse he sees an innumerable multitude of the redeemed standing before God (7:9).

John not only reminds us of the victory. He also reminds us of what will happen if we fail to patiently endure.

Revelation 14:9-11
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." (NIV)

It is essential that we endure the battles patiently as Satan rages against us.

Revelation 14:12-13
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (NIV)

The wine press of God's wrath is reserved for those who rage against God's faithful. John's vision reveals the harvest of the earth as "one like the son of man" sends his angels with his sickles to harvest the earth. They gather the wicked and as you would gather grapes when the harvest is ripe. The wicked were thrown into the wine press of God's wrath and trampled upon until their blood flowed out of the wine press and rose to the height of the horses bridles creating a river of blood 180 miles long.

The imagery portrays the tyranny of the battle and the tyranny of God's judgment against those who become unfaithful and those who make war against the faithful. Receiving the mark of the beast is serious business.

The sweet part of God's judgment is seen when God's wrath is finished. In Revelation 14 John sees the saints standing before God in praise.

Revelation 15:1-4
I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues-- last, because with them God's wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." (NIV)

Conclusion:

We must not under estimate the seriousness of the battle. We must realize the sure victory belonging to those who have the seal of the living God upon their lives.

Revelation 7:1-3
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." (NIV)

Revelation 9:4
They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. (NIV)

Do you live under the protection of the blood of the Lamb? Has God placed his seal upon your life?

Many don't want to come to church because they don't want someone preaching to them. You must never forget that Satan is preaching to you relentlessly as you turn on your radio and television sets, as you read the newspaper. He is preaching his values as he attacks the principle of absolute truth. He is already preaching to your kids in school and on television.

Revelation 14:9-11
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." (NIV)
 
 
 
 

 

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