Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
III. God in Majesty and Judgment (4:1-16:21) pp. 218-602.
B. Great Conflict between God and the Forces of Evil (12:1-16:21) pp. 451-602
- “Conflict between the Dragon and God as Well as His People (12:1-13:18)” pp. 454-522.
Revelation 12:7-12 is challenging to interpret primarily because it is unclear whether the events described are to be seen in the distant future, as a narrative behind the scenes of the crucifixion, or in the remote past before Genesis 3 (Osborne 2002, 467). The war in heaven from verse seven certainly seems to refer back to Revelation 12:4, when the dragon threw a third of the stars to earth (Osborne 2002, 468). This is frequently seen as a reference to Luke 10:18, as well as Jewish traditions from 1 and 2 Enoch describing a fall of angelic beings. Osborne notes that there is no contest between Satan and God. The war involves Satan and the angel Michael, who defeats Satan (Osborne 2002, 469). A dragon or serpent is a common depiction of the enemy of God, as Osborne illustrates from numerous passages of Scripture (Osborne 2002, 470). Osborne does think the description best fits events early in human history, previous to Genesis 3 (Osborne 2002, 471). The serpent, cast out of heaven, is cast down by God, as Osborne affirms based on the passive verb usage in 12:9. He does not have any genuine power over God or His people (Osborne 2002, 472). He is an opposer but not one with power.
Revelation 12:10-12 is a three part hymn celebrating the victory over the dragon. Osborne finds 12:10 as a parallel of the loud voices in 11:15 (Osborne 2002, 473). Satan has been bound and God has shown His power and kingdom, which is located specifically in Christ. This authority is shown in his casting down of the accuser from heaven (Osborne 2002, 474). Though it briefly appeared that the dragon would win, God is the victor. Osborne notes this takes place “through the blood of the lamb” and “by the word of their testimony” (Osborne 2002, 476). Thus the suffering of the Christ and of the martyrs is explained as avictory. Osborne notes that this has been foreshadowed in the New Testament passages calling people to remain faithful (Osborne 2002, 477). The final outcome points the “heaven-dwellers” to rejoicing and the “earth-dwellers” to mourning. Those above worship God, those below worship the beast, destined clearly to destruction. The realm of evildoers has been conquered (Osborne 2002, 478). Dwellers of the earth should be sad, because the devil has gone down to the earth, and in 11:7 the beast has come up from the abyss. The earth is not a good place to be, as it is going to bear the brunt of the devil’s wrath.