There is such a thing as a Devil. And he is ticked off!
Whether it is fear or anger or a mixture of both, Revelation 12:12 points out that everyone living here on Earth is in strife because there is a devil, he knows his time is ticking, and he’s ticked off!
He is not angry with you per se—so don’t take it personally—but he is furious nonetheless.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe there is a unique message to be found in the book of Revelation. There may be times when we can get bogged down in the details and there will be times we don’t get it right, however, unlike the majority of the Christian world, at least we make an attempt to engage with the text and try to understand it.
Many scholars recognise the book of Revelation as being written in a chaistic form. If you don’t know what that means then think AB-BA (not the Swedish pop band!). If you are still confused, Google it! If Revelation is indeed chiastic, then the main emphasis of the whole book is to be found in the middle section—the chapters of Revelation 12-14.
This gives insight not only to what the book of Revelation is about, but also gives the background of the whole biblical story - why it all started, how it’s going to play out, and warnings given on what to do about it.
Revelation 12: War of the Words (or Law)
Revelation 12 seems to suggest that it all started over a “war” in heaven. Obviously not a war as we commonly know here on Earth with tanks, bombs, guns and things. Instead, maybe a war over a difference in philosophy. God was all about operating heaven under a Law of Love. Everyone is equal. Everyone is to love one another. Everyone is to love and worship Him as the Creator.
There is a text in Isaiah 14 that seems to suggest that the “falling from heaven” was all over the promotion a different form of law—the Law of Liberty. That there should be no form of governing that influences others. That everyone should be free to do their own thing. “I will ascend . . .; I will raise . . .; I will sit . . .; I... I... I...” Blah blah blah! It’s all about me! Me! Me!
Must have been quite a war! This is not a small band of disgruntled angels crying over spilt milk because they are not getting their own way. Turns out that Revelation 12:4 suggests that maybe as much as one-third of heavenly beings actually thought the Devil had a good case—or a powerful one at least.
So after the Devil had been hurled to the Earth, he had one thing on his mind: revenge. Verse 13 says that in order to get revenge, he pursues the woman. Who could that possibly be? My assumption, is that just like a dragon is not a real dragon (but the devil), and the lamb is not a real lamb (but Jesus), then possibly the woman is not necessarily a real woman, but a symbol for something else.
If you read texts like Ezekiel 23 and Jeremiah 2 in the Old Testament, or statements in the New Testament made by Paul in Ephesians 5—or even the story of Hosea and the Hooker (yes, you read that right)—you will find that what the woman may actually represent is a group of people —in this instance the people of God.
So the Devil goes out to pursue the people of God in order to take his revenge on God. But when the woman escapes with the wings of an eagle to the wilderness, and then escapes because the Earth swallows a flood, the dragon goes hopping mad (if dragons actually hop)!
Revelation 13: Two Big Beasts used as Puppet-heads
Revelation 13 shows how things are going to play out at the height of this war. Amongst all the imagery of beasts, animal parts, and time prophecies, etc, the main gist is that the devil uses two institutions to do his dirty work.
If what he wants is people to acknowledge his law over God’s law, then he will use whatever means necessary to carry out his evil plan. It seems that the Devil gives power and authority (verse 7) to two different forms of puppet-heads in order to rouse his revenge. If he thinks it will work, he’s bound to try! (For more on this visit <revelationhope.com/session15> & <revelationhope.com/session16>)
Revelation 14: Angelic messages about Fearing, Falling and Forced Worship
Then finally, Revelation 14 shows what needs to be done about the situation. In a nutshell, if you want to be one of the saved and learn the “new song” (obviously not the overkilled “Above All”), then do yourself a favour and don’t associate with any person or institution that promotes the lie that you can do whatever you want and still be saved. You need to follow the Lamb (Jesus) wherever He leads!
Three angels are given a message each to shout from the stratosphere to help warn us against the attacks of the Devil. This is a very quick summary:
Angel 1: Remember who the Creator is and give Him ALL the glory. The ‘fearing God’ is not the scary fear but the respecting fear. Big difference!
Angel 2: Don’t listen to anybody who tells you that it is all about you and not God—no matter how liberating or intoxicating it may be to believe the opposite.
Angel 3: If there is ever a person or institution that forces you to do something against God’s will, then don’t fall for it. Don’t worry about the consequences. God has it all under control.
In conclusion, it is not you that the Devil is upset with. It’s God’s issue. However, if you are a follower of God and do your best to keep God’s commandments and continue to share your story about your faith in Jesus, then unfortunately you can’t help but be part of the story (12:17). The question is, “How do you gain the victory in this war that has nothing to do with you?”
We’ll look at that exact question in the next edition of MyEDGEMag.
Can’t wait till then? Visit <revelationhope.com/diy-course>
Derek McCutcheon is a “minister of religion and creativity” and Associate Director of Youth Ministries in Perth, WA.