Victory Chant

The first entry in this series can be found here.
The previous entry can be found here.

“Ding Dong the witch is dead!”
“Yub nub!”
Exodus 15

What do all of these have in common?

If you guessed, “Victory chants,” then you are correct.

The first is from The Wizard of Oz. The second is from the end of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. And the last is from the Hebrew Bible, after Pharaoh and his army drown in the Red Sea.

“The Lord is a warrior;
Yahweh is His name.
He threw Pharaoh’s chariots
and his army into the sea;
the elite of his officers
were drowned in the Red Sea.”

Exodus 15:3-4

John is working with a similar motif in Revelation (proven especially by 12:15, which we’ll look at next week). He writes as follows in Revelation 12:10-12,

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

‘The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Messiah
have now come,
because the accuser of our brothers
has been thrown out:
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
They conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not love their lives
in the face of death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them!
Woe to the earth and the sea,
for the Devil has come down to you
with great fury,
because he knows he has a short time.'”

What we have here is a victory chant. The saints of God have defeated Satan. The kingdom is God’s. A voice in heaven announces this.

But whose voice is it? There is no easy way to determine who the voice belongs to. Angels, God, Jesus, and the saints are all described at different places in Revelation as speaking with a loud voice. So let’s break it down into all possible options, because, in order to properly understand this passage, we need to know the identity of the speaker.

Angels often speak in a loud voice in Revelation, but they are nowhere designated anyone’s “brother” (due to the comment regarding the “accuser of our brethren”). In fact, in two places (Revelation 19:10, 22:9), angels call themselves (an angel calls himself?) “fellow servants” with John and refer to the saints and prophets as John’s “brothers.” So the speaker can not be an angel.

Neither God nor Jesus is ever referred to in Revelation as a “brother” of anyone.

This leaves the saints. And in order to further prove both that the voice doesn’t belong to an angel, and that Christians don’t fight spiritual warfare against demons (see previous entry), we see this voice announce “the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out.” This statement is passive (it forces us to ask, “by who?”). According to 12:7-9, the angels are responsible for throwing Satan out, which means if an angel was speaking, it would have proclaimed, “we threw out the accuser of our brethren!”

So the saints are the source of the voice. The voice is in heaven, which means this voice belongs to the saints referred to in Hebrews 11–and those who’ve followed them. And the voice is a victory cry. Interestingly, the victory cry isn’t solely for the saints who’ve already finished the race (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7). The victory cry is also for those who are still running the race (cf. Hebrews 11:1-12:2) because the saints win the victory through their life and get to celebrate it for eternity.

They conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not love their lives
in the face of death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them!

Revelation 12:11-12a

In fact, so certain is the saints’ victory that they can sing this victory song each and every day throughout their lives–in prayer–as they beg God to keep them faithful–fleeing temptation–and clinging to Him alone. Much like Paul says in Ephesians 2:6, we are even now “seated in the heavens,” though this will be proven when we die, whether naturally or as a result of our faith. As John says here, “They did not love their lives in the face of death.”

We can pray this song even now:

“Lord, Your Word says that your people conquered Satan by Your blood and their testimony. I pray today that You would help me to conquer him by clinging to the truth of Your Gospel–You shed Your blood for me–and by living in light of that fact. I can’t make excuses for sin–like Paul said in Romans 6. But even when I do sin, it’s Your blood that regularly washes me clean. Please help me to love You more than even my own life, so that if I am ever forced to choose between You and life I would choose You. I need You, Lord. Help me! And help me to rejoice because I am already–spiritually–seated in the heavens with You. Amen.

But it’s the last line that leads us to the Gospel in this passage: “Rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them!” This is immediately followed by a parallel, though contrastive, statement.

Woe to the earth and the sea,
for the Devil has come down to you
with great fury,
because he knows he has a short time.

Revelation 12:12b

While the saints are able to rejoice in their victory over the dragon, the dragon has come down to earth. The saints are secure in the heavenly places; however, unbelievers should tremble that they have no security in Satan’s domain.

Satan is not a laughing matter. And contrary to some teaching out there–including my own (until this post)–Satan is not bound. Sure, Satan has no power over those seated in the heavenly places–the saints–but he can deceive and destroy in his displeasure all he desires. Satanism is not a joke. False religions are not a joke. The desire to “avoid religion” is not a joke, because, as the old adage states, “He who will not stand for anything falls for everything.” And as we will see in the upcoming weeks, Satan is out to deceive. He doesn’t want you to find the beautiful, freeing, truth of the Gospel, so he deceives the world.

But the fact of the matter is that the way to beat Satan is simple. This does not mean it’s easy, but it is incredibly simple. Trust Christ. Stop trusting yourself, and stop trusting your wisdom, and stop trusting the “experts” out there. Trust Christ. You will defeat Satan “by the blood of [Jesus].” He died on the cross for our lack of faith, for our propensity to be deceived, and for our proclivity to deceive others after being deceived ourselves.

This is why “the word of our testimony” also defeats Satan. When the saints tell the truth to those already deceived, it frees the deceived from the deception of Satan, and they can have victory as well.

If you’re currently deceived, place your faith in the blood of the Lamb. If you’ve already placed your faith in the blood of the Lamb, live out your faith so others can escape from Satan’s deception and place their faith in the blood of the Lamb.

And then we can all celebrate together!

“Yub nub!”

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria
Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura

Thanks for reading.

The next entry can be found here.

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