- Sermon Notes
Defeating the Darkness
July 18-19, 2020
There is no question we are living in a time of tremendous spiritual warfare. Many have spiritual insight to discern that there has been a storm cloud on the horizon for some time. And while we are now amid many troubles, there are greater troubles still to come.
Revelation 12 reveals the nature of spiritual warfare that is behind many of the events happening in the world today and will happen in the last days. There is spiritual warfare all around us; if you asked Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior, then you’re in spiritual battle, because you are a target.
In Revelation, John is given a vision of heaven. There he saw a sea of glass like crystal and in the center was the throne of God. The One sitting on the throne held a scroll that was sealed with seven seals, but no one was found worthy to break the seven seals so as to open the scroll.
When John heard that no one is found worthy, he began to weep. But one of the elders said to him, “Stop weeping, for the Lion of the tribe of Judah has been found worthy to open the book and its seven seals.” John looked and he saw not a Lion, but a Lamb standing, as if slain.
As Jesus broke the seven seals; each seal revealed apocalyptic events of the seven-year Tribulation period.
When the seventh seal was broken, he saw seven angels and seven trumpets were given to them. At the sounding of each trumpet, cataclysmic events were set forth as the wrath of God will be poured out on a world that rejects God with hardness of heart.
At this point in Revelation, the seventh trumpet sounded and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
And the 24 elders, who sit on their thrones before God, worshiped God, saying, “We give you thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were enraged, and your wrath came.”
In other words, when the 7th trumpet sounds, the 24 elders worship God because the day finally comes when the Lamb will take His great power and begin to reign over the nations who shook their fists that God.
In chapter 12 the enemy is described as the serpent of old, the devil, or Satan. In the last days, he will have a significant role in the unfolding world events. He is mighty in power and desires to destroy, knowing that his time is short.
But Revelation 12 is also about spiritual victory. Our enemy is a defeated foe. We are called to be overcomers; we do not have to be defeated. In fact, we are given everything we need for spiritual victory.
I. There will be War in Heaven
- Two signs appeared in heaven. The first sign represented Israel, who we see in verse 5 as the one who gives birth to the Messiah, Christ Jesus.
- The second sign was a great red dragon who is the serpent of old, or in other words, Satan. These two signs appear here because they are crucial in understanding last days events.
- But interestingly, they also give us understanding of the nature of spiritual warfare in world history.
A. Satan has been thrown down
- The history as well as the future of Satan is in view here. Satan was originally known as Lucifer, the greatest and most powerful angel.
- His sin was that of wanting to be like God.
Isaiah 14:12-14, How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
- “He weakens the nations,” it says. Ezekiel describes Lucifer as the power behind the king if Tyre, for example. In other words, Satan is the power behind the wickedness of world leaders.
Ezekiel 28:12-15, Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of Man, take up a lamentation over the King of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the Garden of God; every precious stone was your covering… On the day you were created they were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.”
- After Lucifer sinned, he led a rebellion in heaven. A third of the angels joined him in an angelic war and they were thrown to the earth where they deceive the nations.
Illus – By the way, you might be interested to know that Mormons have a distinctly different teaching about Satan. They teach that Lucifer and Jesus were brothers, both being sons born through God having sexual relations with his many wives in heaven. God presented both brothers with His plan of salvation. Jesus agreed, but Lucifer rebelled since he didn’t have the starring role. Therefore, Lucifer, in his anger, rebelled and a third of the angels rebelled with him.
B. He has seven heads and ten horns
- Verse 3 – Satan, here in Revelation 12, is seen having seven heads and ten horns.
- These represent Satan as the power behind world leaders and nations.
- The Antichrist is described the same way in Revelation 13:1-2.
- In Revelation 17:9-14 the seven heads are seven mountains in one city which represent seven kings. Five have fallen (Assyria, Babylon, Mede, Persia, and Greece) one is (Rome), and one is to come — led by the Antichrist.
- The ten horns represent a revived Roman Empire of ten kingdoms. The European Union of 27 nations today makes up much of the ancient Roman Empire, but there are other clues to follow.
- The Antichrist will arise from a ten-nation alliance but will destroy three and then rise to lead them all.
- The 7 heads of the Red Dragon are 7 kings. Many biblical scholars believe that he will lead the world from a city that has 7 hills that represent those 7 kingdoms.
Note – There are several famous cities that have 7 hills. Rome is a city of seven hills, but interestingly, so is Moscow. Other cities also have seven hills such as Jerusalem, Seattle, and Lynchburg, Virginia. However, only Rome fulfills the other descriptions.
C. He longs to destroy Israel
- Verse 5 – The first sign John saw, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars, was Israel who gives birth to the Messiah, who will rule all nations with a rod of iron.
- Verses 4,13 – Through Satan’s influence in the world, Israel has been terribly persecuted, otherwise known as anti-Semitism. Many have desired to annihilate the Jews.
- When Jesus was born, Herod the Great tried to destroy him.
- There was Egypt, then Persia under the influence of Hamaan in the days of Esther. There was Hitler and the Holocaust and many more.
- Today, many Arab nations and the whole of fundamentalist Islam have stated that their clear intent is to push Israel into the sea.
- In the last days, the Antichrist will negotiate to allow Israel to rebuild the temple but will betray the covenant and retake the temple to set himself up to be worshipped there. This will cause Israel to respond by force, which was the point. It will become the catalyst for war.
Illus – Like drivers in NYC that offend and then are angry that you are offended.
- At times, Israel’s very existence held by a thread, but God has always made a way where there seemed to be no way.
Illus – In his book 1776, David McCullough describes our nation as holding by a bare thread as it fought against the British. But that was nothing in comparison to what Israel suffered to become and then endure as a nation.
Interestingly, in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel was nearly defeated. Golda Meir stated that the President of the United States at the time, Richard Nixon, embattled by Watergate, nevertheless saved Israel by sending the largest airlift of war supplies the world had ever seen and threatening the Soviet Union with nuclear war if they entered into the fighting.
- Why does Satan desire to destroy Israel? Because from her comes the one who will rule the nations.
Isaiah 9:6-7, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.”
II. Beware of the Schemes of the Enemy
- Jesus said the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.
- It’s critical that we understand our adversary and the schemes he would use to destroy. A wise adage of war is… “know your enemy.”
A. He deceives the nations
- Satan’s deception could be placed in two main categories, one being religious and the other not.
- The deception in religion is seen in what we could call “the lie.” This is as old as Satan Himself, ‘We can be gods,’ or we are gods now.
Illus – Many caught the wave of cultural change in the 60’s when the Beetles starting bringing Hinduism into modern culture. The Hindu belief is that we are gods, but are not aware of it.
- Many false religions are based on the ‘lie’ that men can be gods. Hinduism and Mormonism being the most common.
- The other deception is the opposite, ‘you don’t need God.’ You must become the center of your own life; you can be the captain of your own soul, master of your own destiny, your pleasure is more important than anything else.
1 John 5:10-12, The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this; that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
B. He is the accuser of the brethren
- Verse 10 – “The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down.”
- Satan doesn’t have to lie to be the accuser of the brethren. He doesn’t need to lie about you because everyone has enough sin in their lives that all he need do to accuse you is point out the truth.
- Many people have been defeated by being constantly reminded of their failures.
- The problem is that your failures are only part of the story; you must have an answer in your heart when you are accused.
- The answer is that your standing before God is not based on your past, but on what Christ has done for you on the cross.
- Your sin is now paid in full by the blood of Christ, therefore who can condemn you?
Romans 8:33-35, Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
C. He is a defeated foe
- Hell is reserved for Satan and those who follow after him.
- The saints overcome the serpent of old by the blood of the Lamb!
- This is the answer to all of Satan’s accusations. No need to argue whether we have done bad or not, because we did.
- Knowing the truth is what sets us free and is what gives us the victory.
John 8:31-32, So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Ephesians 6:11-14, Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth.
- The saints also overcome by the word of their testimony. What is your testimony? One of the most powerful things you can do is to tell people what God has done for you.
- John also wrote that they did not love their life even to death, in other words, they had died to themselves.
- That was what made them alive to God.
- Jesus said that we should take up our cross and follow Him. He also said that it is in dying that we live.
Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to [a]rule all the [b]nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there [c]she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole [d]world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 Then 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 brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even [e]when faced with death. 12 For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who [f]dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”
13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.