And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
This passage is similar to other passages in Revelation which speak of Satan being thrown down to the earth. Earlier in Revelation John had seen “a star fallen from heaven to earth” (9:1a). Since the star is referred to as a “he” and “was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit” (9:1b), one can reasonably conclude the star symbolizes Satan and John saw a signified vision of Satan being cast out of heaven. Later in Revelation, John will see another vision in which Satan is bound and thrown into the bottomless pit (20:1-3).
These three visions all describe Satan being thrown down from heaven to the earth and defeated. What I find very interesting is that chapter 12 gives us a very good indication of when this event took place. I know that many read of chapter 12’s account of the war in heaven where Michael and his angels fight against Satan the dragon and his angels and conclude, understandably, that this must be a reference to way back before Eden when Satan initially rebelled against God. However, verse 10 gives us a reason to conclude that it actually took place at a different time.
The loud voice in heaven which John heard immediately following the expulsion of Satan and his angels from heaven said, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come…” (12:10). Let us consider the following questions:
When did the salvation of God come to us? After Christ died and was resurrected (Romans 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:17).
When did the power of God manifest itself? After Christ died and was resurrected (Romans 1:4).
When did the kingdom of God come? Remember, both Jesus and John the Baptist preached that the kingdom “was at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Jesus said it would come in His disciples’ lifetime (Mark 9:1). After His death and resurrection when He was asked when He would restore the kingdom to Israel, His answer pointed towards the beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost ten days later (Acts 1:6-8; Acts 2). After Acts 2, the kingdom is always spoken of as having already arrived with Christians being a part of it (cf. Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:6, 9). Thus, the kingdom of God came after Christ died and was resurrected.
When was the authority of Christ given to Him? Again, after His death and resurrection (Matthew 28:18).
So when was Satan cast out of heaven and down to the earth? After Christ died and was resurrected.
Remember, before Christ died there was no complete forgiveness of sins for mankind. Therefore, the devil (which means “accuser”) could easily and rightly accuse all of us of being stained by sin (Romans 3:23). The only way we could be reconciled back to God was through a perfect sacrifice. The animal sacrifices offered under the Old Testament couldn’t fix the problem (Hebrews 10:1-4). But when Jesus lived that sinless life and died for us on the cross, He became that perfect sacrifice (1 John 2:2). His death redeemed those who had sinned under the Old Testament (Hebrews 9:15) and us as well (Romans 5:6-8), resulting in Him “destroy(ing) the one who has the power of death…the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).
Because of Jesus, we can receive complete forgiveness. Our accuser, Satan, has no control over us anymore because he has nothing to accuse us of now! We don’t have to die spiritually anymore! Christ offers us spiritual life by what He did on that cross! That’s how He defeated Satan and cast him down.
Receive the life Jesus offers you now by obeying the gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 6:1-5). If you want to talk more about this, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.