Troublesome Topic: How Christ and the Church Conquer Satan

Revelation 2:12


Write to the angel of the church at Pergamum. The one who has the sharp two-edged sword

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says this:


Write this to the church that is fully known and understood by God and is facing martyrdom at the hands of the elite intellectuals in places of power: The one who has the ability to penetrate to the heart says this:

Revelation 2:16


Therefore, repent! But if you do not, I will come to you quickly and wage war against them

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with the sword of my mouth.


Therefore, repent! But if you do not repent, I will come to you quickly and attack them with cutting words from my mouth.

Jesus’ weapon (His sword) is His words. In ancient times, one’s words were a manifestation of who he was and what he desired. The character and intent of a person is revealed by his words. God created the universe simply by speaking words. So we could say that God created the universe by projecting an extension of Himself. He projected what He is and expressed it as words that became a physical manifestation of His character, His power, and His purpose.

Jesus is called the Word of God because He is the revelation of God to us in physical form. We read things that point to Jesus being very involved in the creation event (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all played a role in creation). Just as Jesus was involved in creation, He is, and will be involved in judgment and punishment, for they too are extensions of who God is. This punishment will be expressed first as words, then as a physical reality.

You will notice in Revelation that Jesus does not fight His enemies with traditional weapons of warfare. All He uses, all He needs to use, are words. The very expression of the truth about who He is, and the outward expression of God’s inner qualities, suffice to destroy His enemies. Judgment is God expressing who He is by showing clearly what He will not accept. It is God’s nature to reveal who He is and what He is like, through creation, through Jesus, through His written word, and through the Holy Spirit; it is also His nature to punish wickedness when people have not responded to His overtures of mercy and grace. God would be acting contrary to His nature if He did not punish such sinfulness. And His punishment will come in the form of an expression of His holiness, which will demonstrate the sinner’s lack of holiness. When such a revelation is allowed to have its full effect it takes on a physical reality that brings ruin and destruction.

Revelation 19:13


He also has a robe that has been immersed in blood,

and his name

is called The Word of GOD.

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He shows evidence of having been through many battles and come out victorious, and His name is called The One Who Reveals the qualities of THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS.

Revelation 19:15


Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword,

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so that with it he might strike down the nations, and he will rule them with an iron scepter, for He treads the wine press filled with the fury and the wrath of GOD, THE ALMIGHTY.

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From His innermost being come words that cut to the very core,

enabling Him to bring ruin

to all types of people, and He will rule them with harsh authority, for He is the one exacting punishment based on the fury and wrath of THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS, THE ALL-POWERFUL ONE.

Revelation 19:16


On His robe and on His thigh

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He has a name written:



His reputation, and His warrior-like character both communicate the same description of Him, He is the KING OVER ALL KINGS AND RULER OVER ALL


Revelation 19:17


Then I saw one angel standing in the sun; he called out with a loud voice to all the birds

flying high above the earth,

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saying, “Come! Gather yourselves to the great supper GOD

is providing,


17 Then I saw one

angel surrounded by intense glory; he called out with a voice of authority to all the scavengers who

maintain their vigilance from the highest points in the sky, the very apex of the sun’s course overhead, saying, “Come! Gather yourselves together in preparation for how THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS will provide more than you need,

Revelation 19:18


so you can eat the flesh

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of kings,

and commanders, and mighty warriors, and horses and those who sit on the horses, and the flesh of all

men, both free men and slaves, both small and great.”


so you can add to the shame and disgrace of the rulers,

the important ones, the leaders, the swift and powerful, those who benefit from the swift and the powerful, and all other types of men,

both free men and

slaves, both small and great.”

Revelation 19:19


Then I saw the BEAST and the kings of

the earth and

their armies

gathered together to

make war against the One sitting on the horse

and against His army.


Then I saw THE FEROCIOUS CREATURE and the power-brokers of the earth, along with all who followed them, willingly or unwillingly,

gathered together to

oppose the One who is powerful, decisive and cannot be avoided or turned back and against those who follow Him.

Revelation 19:20


The BEAST was


along with the false prophet, who performed signs

before him

by which

he deceived those who

received the mark of


and those who worshipped its image; they were both

cast alive into

the lake of fire

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which burns with brimstone.

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The FEROCIOUS CREATURE was defeated and rendered powerless, along with the false prophet, who performed demonstrations of power under the authority of the ferocious creature; by which he deceived those who

willingly and openly pledged their allegiance to THE FEROCIOUS CREATURE and loved and followed its character traits. Both of them were kept alive so they could receive their long-awaited punishment sent directly from God, unavoidable and extreme.

Revelation 19:21


The rest were killed by the sword which

comes out of the mouth of the one sitting on the horse;


and all the birds were filled with their flesh.


The rest were brought to an end by the instrument of punishment which is the words of truth spoken by the one who is decisive and powerful, who cannot be avoided or turned back; their ruin brought a level of shame and disgrace that is beyond our ability to comprehend.

At the first glance, Revelation 19:20 does not appear to answer this question clearly, however the rest of this passage sheds considerable light on the matter. In 19:15 we read about the sword that comes from the mouth of Jesus and how it will be used to bring ruin to all types people (to bring judgement), and it is the instrument of the wrath of Almighty God. Verse 19:19 tells us that the Beast and those that follow him prepared themselves and gathered together to make war against Jesus, but then there is never a battle as we understand warfare. The Beast and the False Prophet are rendered powerless to deceive any longer and are placed in a situation of continual punishment from God. Finally, everyone else is judged by the words (sword) that come from the mouth of Jesus.

From Revelation chapters 2 and 19 we gather that the tool Jesus uses for all judgment is truth. His words alone are enough to judge because they reveal the heart and divide between the righteous and the unrighteous. His words of truth are also enough to produce judgment. This stands in contrast to Satan who is the great deceiver and is always telling lies. Jesus will destroy those who oppose Him with His words, His truth. Jesus will not fight against Satan in the way we traditionally understand warfare, rather Jesus will put Satan in his place and remove his ability to continue deceiving.

From other parts of the New Testament we know that Jesus has already dealt Satan a death blow by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, but we must also admit that there is a battle that still continues. When I speak here about “conquering Satan” I mean to finally, and conclusively render Satan powerless and nonthreatening, incapable of carrying out his desired goal of deceiving mankind. Therefore, according to Revelation, Satan’s primary tool is deceit; Jesus defeats him with truth.

Likewise, the saints will prevail and be victorious, but not in the normal human fashion. They will not conquer by killing their enemies, but by being killed (martyrdom), just like the Lamb was killed and through His death He triumphed over the demonic powers and selfish human authorities, making a “public spectacle” of them (Col 2:15). Just as the Lamb conquers with His words of truth, so also the believer conquers Satan using words of truth, not his own truth, but the truth of God found in the Bible. We do not conquer Satan by destroying him but by and rendering fruitless his attempts at deceiving us.

There is a difference in how we deal with Satan and how we should deal with unbelievers around us. We should not seek to conquer unbelievers, but to win the over. For that we use love, as Jesus did, a good testimony, and truth. We cannot use truth alone against the unbelievers or we will turn our Christian witness into one big argument. Love convinces when words cannot.

Self-centeredness is a key human problem. In contrast God-centeredness is the key that drives how we fight Satan and how we convince our neighbors to follow Jesus. If we talk the Christian talk but are still self-centered, we are no different than the rest because we are wanting what we want, not what God wants. (Politics will never be the complete answer because politics is usually characterized by the acquisition and retention of power, which are almost always selfish acts.) To point people to God we cannot be self-centered, or we will only be pointing them to ourselves; likewise, to defeat Satan with truth, we must use God’s truth for God’s glory, not our own aggrandizement, or our enemy will take our weapon from us and bludgeon us with it.

However, before we can fight Satan with truth, we must know the truth, and for that we must know God’s word very well. I am constantly amazed at how well the Jews of the New Testament era knew the Old Testament (their Bible). The population in general was expected to catch references to things said in the Psalms, the prophets, and the Torah. I gather that most good Jews memorized the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), but they also had committed most of the psalms and much of Isaiah, Jeremiah and other prophets to memory. Notice how Peter, a fisherman, heard the sound of rushing wind, and immediately thought of a passage in Joel. I know many Christians who can’t even find the book of Joel, much less quote it. Peter did this without a copy of the Old Testament in his pocket and without a Bible app on his phone.

We should not take a stand and speak what we think is biblical truth; rather we must saturate our minds with God’s word, and then speak what we are sure is truth. Just like becoming fluent in a foreign language requires saturation of the mind with that language, so being ready to fight the enemy’s lies requires saturation of our minds with God’s word. Satan knows the Bible very well. In order to fight him with truth, you will need to know the Bible very well also.

So read, study, and pray, then stand and speak truth and defeat Satan just like Jesus does!

Revelation 12:11


And they

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overcome him by the blood of the LAMB

and by the word of their testimony. They did not love their lives unto death.


And they, our brothers, have overcome him based on what was accomplished by the blood of THE ONLY EFFICACIOUS SACRIFICE and because they were willing to always proclaim what God had done for them. They did not love their lives so much that they refused to give them up when faced with death.

They Have Overcome

This verse clearly indicates how the believers overcome the Accuser of the believers mentioned in the previous verse. They do so in two ways: “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

“By the blood of the Lamb” refers to the forgiveness, atonement and reconciliation made possible by the blood of Jesus. They conquer the Accuser, Satan, by living the way redeemed people should live.

By the word of their testimony” can be paraphrased as because they were willing to always proclaim what God had done for them. One of the ways we speak truth is by simply telling others what God has done in our lives and how He can do something similar for them. This is a picture of people who are willing to seek the glory of God even amid serious danger to their physical bodies – “They did not love their lives so much that they refused to give them up when faced with death.” They overcame Satan by being faithful to God no matter what.

Herein is what seems like a great irony. Satan cannot attack God directly, so he attacks the followers of God. The irony is that God does not protect His followers from these attacks, rather He strengthens them in the midst of those attacks. In reality, Satan’s attacks are not against our bodies, but against our souls. God is willing to take the risk that persecution (or temptations) may cause some to reject Him. Satan is willing to take the risk that persecution is likely to make some believers even stronger. Thus persecution has been at the heart of mankind’s spiritual struggle at least since the time of Jesus.

Any attempt on Satan’s part to take us in a direction that is further from God’s will is an example of Satan “making war” against God. Blatant persecution is one example. He also uses times of ease and comfort to tempt us to complacency and self-centeredness. Thus America and a few other parts of the world have been under attack for some time, but it has not felt like an attack.

It is as if Satan told Jesus, “You can’t do it. You can’t redeem these people. They’re too sinful, too weak, too inclined to yield to my temptations. Without violating your own nature, you can’t keep them from becoming unfaithful to you.”

Jesus answers, “Watch and see that some will remain faithful.”

Satan exults in those he draws away from God, but God is glorified by each one who faithfully follows Him.

Therefore we must keep our focus on being faithful, on being on fire for God and on being the kind of example He wants us to be. We cannot afford to shy away from pain, hardship, or opposition.

God will indeed prove that His plan is workable and those who are faithful to Him will be overcomers. But victory has a price. Jesus paid His part of that price; we need to be willing to pay our part. Victory for the believer is not the absence of Satan’s attacks, for Satan is constantly attacking us in a wide variety of ways. Instead, victory is faithfulness in the midst of Satan’s attacks.


As a way to apply this to our lives, I ask you this question:

What should be our attitude be toward the following?

-God’s word

-what you hear on the news or on social media


-other people who focus on politics

-people who are not following God

-fear vs. faith


The next lesson in “The most important excerpts from this study on Revelation” is: KEY #6 Be Willing to Consider a New Method

If you are going through “A new perspective on popular topics in Revelation” the next lesson is There Is No 7-Year Tribulation in Revelation.



A “two-edged sword” is one that is sharpened on both sides does not need to be swung, it can be jabbed at an opponent and will penetrate with ease. The sword of Jesus comes from His mouth (see 2:16), thus it is tied to His words, which show us what He is like and what He desires. Despite the emphasis in Pergamum on knowledge and academic achievements, only Jesus has the words of true wisdom and knowledge that penetrate to the heart of man. The sword also makes one think of the power of the Roman Empire. Pergamum was closely aligned with the power of Rome, and the rulers of the city thought they alone could execute judgment in that place. But Jesus has greater power than that of Rome, and all will stand one day before the power of His words which not only penetrate the heart, but also reveal it.


“I will come to you” and “and wage war against them:” Jesus will come to all who appear to be a part of His church and will judge all of them with truth; then He will punish those individuals who have accepted the teachings of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans. He will only attack those who are guilty. Thus he is saying, “I will come to you, (all of you) and I will judge them, (those that are guilty).”

3: “And His name is called the WORD OF GOD”

Is this a contradiction? In the previous verse, Jesus, the rider on the white horse, has a name no one can know, but here his name is given. If one tries to interpret this literally it seems like a contradiction. If one sees this as symbolism it makes perfect sense. Jesus is the revelation of God; that is what the title “Word of God” means. The same truth is expressed in John 1:1 where He is also called the “Word.” Yet as we saw in the verse prior to this one, there are aspects of God that we cannot understand. He has a reputation and a set of qualities that we can know because they are revealed to us; yet we should not think we know all there is about God because some of it has been withheld from us.

4: “Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword”

His words cut to the core because they are truth and they expose the sinfulness and guilt of man. The enemies of God are killed with the “sword” from the mouth of Jesus, i.e. His words, His truth. Satan uses deceit as his primary tool, Jesus defeats him with truth. His words alone are enough to judge because they reveal the heart and divide between the righteous and the unrighteous.


The Greek for this clause says, “He treads the wine press of the fury, of the wrath of God, of the Almighty.” This is a way to emphasize the wine press and what is being processed in it. Once again we see a layering for the sake of emphasis—the first layer is the idea of pressing, i.e. squishing in order to separate. The second and third layers are the words fury and wrath. Although they are synonyms they are used in tandem for the sake of emphasis. The fourth layer is that this is God’s wrath and fury, not just a human potentate. And to make sure we get the point, the title “Almighty One” is added so there can be no doubt regarding which attribute of God is in focus here. God Himself is preparing to bring His punishment for sin upon the rebellious (in modern English, to put a big-time hurt on them) and He is more than capable of delivering what He says; this is no idle threat.


The thigh was often associated with issues involving sexual reproduction or the ability to reproduce. For women, the thigh had to do with the ability to bear children. You may recall various places where the Bible talks about a woman’s thigh wasting away, meaning she is barren. For men the thigh represented the ability to reproduce sexually and was closely related to manliness. Think of the time Abraham had his chief servant swear to him that he would not find a wife for Isaac from the local population. He had his chief servant place his hand under his thigh. Why? It has in mind placing the hand under the thigh very close to the hip so the tips of the fingers would be close to the genitals. Thus without touching the genitals, they are the focus of the moment. In this case there is nothing sexual about it, so the only thing left is for “thigh” to be a sign of Jesus is a mighty and valiant protector. If you are on His side you are glad He is a mighty warrior; but if you are opposing Him, His fighting abilities should strike fear in your heart.


Literally “mid-heaven.” This is the highest point where the birds can fly, but it was also used of the apex of the sun’s course over the earth. From such a high vantage point one can see everything. Note that the angel who is standing where he can see everything (in the sun) calls the birds who are able to see everything (flying in mid-heaven) so that when God acts they can be ready to pick up the pieces.

8: The symbolism of birds eating human flesh

It was a source of terrible shame and disgrace to be refused a proper burial and instead have your body eaten by the carrion-eating birds or dogs and wild scavengers. Besides being defeated in battle, these who oppose God will be seen by survivors as shamed or disgraced, which is worse than being seen as weak.


The combination of the word pictures “Lake” and “fire” would bring to mind for the ancient people of Israel a demand for punishment which has been accumulating and growing stronger for a long time. It has to do with their ideas about water, and how a large body of water represented abundance or great quantity. Therefore, this is not an ordinary punishment, nor a one-time punishment. This is great, well-deserved and long-term punishment.


Brimstone would bring to mind Sodom and Gomorrah, where they saw punishment coming from heaven instead of from a natural source; it was something they could not get away from, and it is seen throughout the rest of the Bible as an extreme case of punishment.


Now the believers are the center of attention.