“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11
This verse has always intrigued me. When I first realized that it was in the Bible, which I admit was only a few years ago, I was amazed by what John the Revelator (not his official title) was teaching.
Spiritual warfare is real without a doubt. The Apostle Paul makes sure we are fully aware of this fact especially with the existence of inspired passages of Scripture such as Ephesians 6:12ff. However, Rev 12:11 is profoundly unique in that it describes spiritual warfare in a different light than how most people choose to portray the unseen battle. What I have noticed from a brief glance at this verse and the context is that the battle between the Dragon and the “brothers” is not depicted as a mystical scene. The overturning of the accuser is not a result of silver bullitts, gold-dagger crosses, buckets of holy water, or chanting priests. Instead, Satan and his demons are defeated in a very humble way, and the great cosmic victory is acheived in an unlikely manner.
First, “they” conquered the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb. This train of thought is similar to Paul’s majestic portrayal of Christ’s victory over sin and death in 1 Cor 15:55-56 (But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ). What a wonderful thought and truth! The blood of Jesus which makes atonement for our sin and secures our salvation from sin is our most powerful and effective weapon against Satan and his armies.
In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul uses warfare imagery. He finishes the list of armor off with two significant features: The Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit. Salvation is our helmet in that it protects the main part of our body without which no man could ever live. Without the head, the body absolutely cannot function or survive. Thus, wearing the helmet of salvation secures and protects the welfare of all the members of one’s body from ultimately perishing. The blood of Jesus conquers Satan in that the main damage the Dragon could inflict upon a person is rendered completely powerless. Christ’s bloody sacrifice and resulting killing of death utterly empties any hopes of Satan in backing believers and their Servant Savior into a corner.
The Sword of the Spirit, our one attack weapon, is the collective, inspired, canonical word of testimony. From prophets, priests, and kings to fishermen, harlots, and former persecutors of the Church, their voices ring out in one great cresendo through the ages testifying in harmony and melody with power and authority to the gospel of God’s grace from the beginning of all things in Genesis to the end of all things in Revelation. The Gospel news of the spilt blood of the Lamb is made known in these testimonies and etched into paper by ink for an eternity to proclaim and herald the great victory which Christ accomplished and purchased for his glory and the good of his chosen ones.
What a revolutionary concept! In all of spiritual warfare, Rev 12:11 spells the Dragon’s defeat with a simple recalling of the work of the blood of the Lamb and the recurring word of testimony by those whom his blood has purchased. The main spiritual victory any believer may hope in is the victory of Christ over death, sin, and Satan and that gospel working itself out in the world bringing hope to the nations and delivering this message to those who are slaves to the evil one and whose eternal destination is hell.
Oh, how our churches would benefit from adopting a firm realization of this view of spiritual warfare. By preaching, teaching, proclaiming, and spreading God’s great gospel and testifying to his grace and saving power and the joy of having eternal life by knowing the one true Triune God, a Christian wields the ultimate weapon in hopes of conquering and overcoming the evil one and his wicked, deadly schemes. The Gospel thwarts any hopes of Satan having any real power against God. Not only does it remind him constantly of his great defeat, demise, and destruction, but also the word of testimony of Christ’s people is used by God to allow the good news of salvation to gain acceptance in hearts of stone reshaping and reforming them into hearts of flesh which will inherit one day a body that is incorruptible and imperishable.
The final clause of this verse explains the manner in which they were able to defeat the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Very simply, they loved not their lives even unto death. Here, Satan is completely stripped of an actual foothold on Christ’s soldiers. Not only is death defeated, but likewise, suffering is of little conequence to a man or woman who knows that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Martyrdom is the clear ringing-bell signifying that Satan has been defeated. The physical life he has tried to snuff out through pain, torture, and termination has further confirmed the very real fact that Satan is powerless in that through the death of the saints, believers enter into eternal pleasure, peace, and joy by dwelling with God forever while also leaving behind lives and legacies that are at God’s disposal to bring whole tribes, peoples, and governments to their knees before a Great and Mighty God.
Let us take up the Gospel and wage war against the darkness of this world by preaching Christ and not overselves so that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, may shine on the hearts of the blinded ones to whom the good news of the blood of the Lamb has been veiled!
“As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 8:36-39 ~