Spiritual Warfare. Overcoming the devil

T. J. de Ruiter, Pastor and Teacher in The Netherlands

These studies are suitable for personal- and  group study.

6. Overcoming the Devil

1. Introduction

 The word ‘apocalyptic’ means originally disclosure of or revealing what is hidden. The Jewish apocalyptic literature, as we find it in the book Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation contains special figurative and mysterious pictures of developments and events that have to do with the plan of God and also of the role that play negative and evil powers in it. Some of the events and developments that are described in this literature have undoubtedly already been fulfilled, of which some during the life of the writer. But sometimes they point to events that still have to take place.

We have to take into account that these developments and events, though put together in a few sentences or a passage, could in reality be far removed from each other in time. And some developments and events could be repeated in history.

In this Bible Study I will not enlarge on this interesting aspect of the apocalyptic literature in general. But concentrate on the message of Revelation 12. I would appreciate it if you would now read Revelation chapter 12

2. The war against the woman, her son and offspring

In chapter 12 of Revelation we find the picture of a woman that had given birth to a son. The child must be Jesus, (verse 5). Revelation 12:7 says that there arose a war in heaven. Michael, the angel of the people of God and his angels started fighting the dragon, that is the devil. He and his angels were defeated and they were thrown down on the earth. The reason why the devil was thrown out was undoubtedly because of his angry, haughty resistance against God, His Son and His people. Many teachers see in Ezekiel 28:11-19 - where is written about the haughtiness, the pride, and fall of the king of Tyre – a picture of the devil with his spiritual pride against God and His people. The red dragon is undoubtedly the being already known in the early history and his red colour symbolizes his dangerous, devouring power. He is the same being that manifested himself in paradise as the snake that deceived Eve and put an evil thought about God in her heart and infected the whole human race with the evil, doubting, antagonistic, rebellious attitude.

This dragon had seven heads – verse 3 – that are symbolic of his many sided, kingly and dangerous intelligence. The ten horns speak of his great, aggressive power and the ten horns speak of his ruling authority. He wants to imitate the Lamb on the throne and destroy Him and His people, (chapter 5 and 6). The divine order is restored in heaven, but because he was thrown down on the earth he is causing here great trouble and continuous war. It is the child that was born, Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Deliverer, that will with those that follow him, conquer the devil, that devilish, sinister, spiritual monster. In verse 9 the various names of this evil being are given. He is known in some culures as the red dragon, in the Bible he revealed himself in the beginning as the ancient serpent and later as the devil and satan, the deceiver of the whole world. So, let there be no misunderstanding, under which name he is presented, it is the same evil, deceptive being, the enemy of God..

The great red dragon knows that he will surely be defeated by the Child, the Son of God and in His anger he starts a war against the woman and her offspring. This offspring is the Church under the Old- and the New Covenant. Notice verse 17 and 18, where is says: “those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.” The woman fled into the wilderness the desert - verse 14 -  where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time,” that is three and a halve year, the time that she hid from the anger of the serpent.

But here is the essence of this study: How shall the saints overcome him? The answer is found in verse 11, where we find the threefold way to victory.

a. With the blood of the Lamb

Satan, the devil, the great adversary of God, is also the great Accuser. He accuses the saints before God and themselves in their hearts. He looses the ground and power of all his accusations by pointing to the price, the blood, that Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid to atone for all their sins, and to reconcile them with God. The saints believe during their earthly life that the blood of Jesus washed all their guilt away so that they can stand before God without any shame because of their sins. The saints have confessed all their sin to God and know themselves to be cleansed from all guilt and shame, (1 John 1;9). When Satan tries to accuse and weaken them they point with joy to the blood of Jesus.

b. With the word of their testimony

The proclamation of your faith in the Saviour must not be underestimated in the Christian warfare against  the devil. Opening the mouth and testifying boldly about your faith in a antagonistic society could be dangerous for you, but is an evidence of your faith in and love for Jesus. The spiritual power of evil that manifests itself through people that are enemies of Jesus and oppose those that believe. God will use your faith and testimony to glorify the Name of Jesus and if possible save other souls that don’t know him. Jesus is closing watching his children and notices when one of his children boldly stands for Him, the Truth, as He once stood and testified of His identity and relationship with the Father, (Marc 8:38; Luke 9:26, John 18:36,37, 1 Timothy 6:13; 2 Timothy 1:8,12).

c. With total dedication to Jesus, the Saviour

All saints should be prepared to accept that because of confessing their faith and allegiance to Jesus Christ, the world will hate them, John 15:18-23). This could involve persecution and suffering and result in being killed. The Lord experienced this, his faith and testifying to the Truth cost Him His life. He asks from them who follow Him the same boldness and willingness, (Luke 14:26; John 12:25; 2 Timothy 2:1-7).

If we want to share in the victory of the Messiah, the Lamb, we will have to persevere in our faith and loyalty, as He Himself during His life on earth and be prepared to pay for our faith the highest price, (Revelation 2:7; 26, 27; 3:21; 17:14).

Let’s go in Jesus’ Name for the final victory!

Questions to think about and to share

1. Do I stand strong in my faith now and would I be prepared to bring a sacrifice, even the highest for it?
2. For those who studied all lessons: What spoke very directly to your heart and what did you learn?

For contact or to mail your answers.....  Pastor T. J. de Ruiter

Study 1 and 2 'The Spiritual War'            The Spiritual War (1,2)
Study 3 'The Spiritual War'                        The Spiritual War (3)

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