“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time”
And there was war in Heaven. In the preceding verses, the woman who was to give birth had to flee from the dragon into the wilderness. I take vv. 7ff as a flashback, showing how that earlier circumstance had come about. The dragon had been in the heavenly places, but had now been thrown down. Having been thrown down, he continued his career of malice, pursuing the woman.
The reason this happened was that Michael the archangel (Jude 9) and his angels fought against the dragon (v. 7). Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and his angels, and as a result, there was no place remaining in Heaven for the dragon (v. 8). In the next verse, the dragon is identified—the old serpent, or the devil, or Satan, the deceiver of the entire world (v. 9). He was cast down to earth, and all of his angels together with him. This plainly identifies the devil of the New Testament with the serpent in the Garden.
Taking all of Scripture together, we learn that this “casting down” happened in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). This is why the next verse declares that “now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ” (v. 10). When the defender of sinners was vindicated on earth in the resurrection, the accuser of sinners was deposed in the heavens.
The meaning of the devil being cast down is that he is no longer able to accuse the brethren before God, as he would do both day and night. The accusing and prosecutorial nature of the devil is seen plainly in the Old Testament (Job 1-2; Zech. 3). And this ended in the cross. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15).
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14–15).
The resurrection of Jesus was the death of accusation in the heavenly places. The accusations in the presence of God are received no longer. This does not mean that the accusations have vanished, but they have been cast down to earth. And this means—if we are paying attention to the gospel message—we should embrace on earth what has been accomplished in Heaven. That is how we pray, is it not? We want to have God’s will done on earth as it has been done in Heaven.
So the faithful believers on earth have both a shield and a sword. They defend themselves, and they go out as overcomers. The shield is the blood of the Lamb (v. 11), able to withstand every accusation that an exiled devil can throw at them. Elsewhere in Scripture the shield is faith (Eph. 6:16), which means the flaming darts that the devil throws must be fiery doubts—given their heat by means of accusation. The fact that the devil has no more audience in Heaven with this kind of thing does not mean he never gains an audience here. But he can only do so by means of a lie.
The sword of the faithful believers is their word of witness and testimony, coupled with their willingness to die (v. 11). We are to defend ourselves from accusation by means of the blood of Christ, and we are to conquer the world by means of our testimony to the blood of Christ.
The call is given to the heavens, along with those who dwell there—rejoice that the devil is banished. There is a concurrent woe for the inhabitants of the earth and sea (v. 12). The devil has been thrown down, and is furious, and he knows he has a very short time to stamp out the infant church.