The defeat of the dragon

red-dragon“The battle that issues in the dragon’s expulsion from heaven is not the primeval conflict before Adam’s fall, when Satan and other angels who had been created good inexplicably turned against their Creator. Rather, the war in heaven that John sees in symbol was fought on earth, when Jesus suffered and died on a cross outside Jerusalem and then rose from the dead. The dragon’s banishment from heaven to earth marks the coming of God’s kingdom and of his Christ’s authority (Rev. 12:10).” (Dennis E. Johnson, The Triumph of the Lamb, p. 184).

In preparing for Sunday’s sermon on Revelation 12:10-12 I ran across the quote above, and also this one:

“Christians can be assured that the serpent begins to battle against their bodies only after he has lost the battle over their souls. This expresses one of the major themes of the book: the suffering of Christians is a sign, not of Satan’s victory, but of the saints’ victory over Satan because of their belief in the triumph of the cross, with which their suffering identifies them.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, NIGTC, p. 663).

Beware of taking literally John’s obviously symbolic language–but the symbols are powerful. I recently wrote something about the earlier part of this chapter here.



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