Revelation 12:9 Index
"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."
Research Material

" . . . the great dragon . . . " (Revelation 12:3)

" . . . was cast out . . . "

  • Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven in ages past (2 Peter 2:4), prior to the creation of this world (PP 36-42; EW 145-146; GC 498-500; 3SG 36-39; 1SP 17-33). Nevertheless, it seems that until the cross he had access to heavenly beings, and to a limited extent, possibly as "prince of this world" (John 12:31; Luke 4:6), but not as an inhabitant of heaven, to the precincts of heaven (DA 761; SR 26-27). However this may be, a decisive casting out occurred at the cross, as our Lord Himself declared (John 12:31; John 12:32; PP 68-70; DA 490; DA 679; DA 758). That John here (Revelation 12:9) refers most particularly to events connected with Christ's triumph on the cross is evident from the context (Revelation 12:10-13). The following points may be noted:
    • 1. The proclamation in (Revelation 12:10; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 12:12) by a "loud voice . . . in heaven" is more or less parenthetical, its purpose being to explain the significance of the casting down of Satan in (Revelation 12:9), first with respect to the inhabitants of heaven and then to those of this earth. Following this explanation parenthesis, (Revelation 12:13) takes up the narrative of Satan's activities at the point where it was left in (Revelation 12:9). Accordingly, (Revelation 12:10; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 12:12) constitute, primarily, a statement concerning the status of the plan of salvation at the point of time when Satan was "cast out into the earth." (7BC 810)
    • 2. The first declaration by the "loud voice" consists of a series of facts relative to Christ's triumph over Satan on the cross - the plan of "salvation" was made sure, "strength" was provided for resisting the wiles of Satan. Christ's "kingdom" was made sure, and His "power," literally, "authority," to be man's Saviour, high priest, and king was confirmed (Matthew 28:18; GC 503). (7BC 810)
    • 3. The reason assigned in (Revelation 12:10) for this fourfold achievement is specifically said to be that "the accuser of our brethren is cast down." This clearly links these accomplishments with the casting down of (Revelation 12:9). (7BC 810)
    • 4. At the time of the casting down of (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 12:13) "the accuser of our brethren" had already been actively accusing "them before our God day and night." Obviously, the fall here referred to came after a period during which Satan had been accusing "the brethren," and it would therefore appear that this cannot be the original casting our of Satan prior to the creation of our earth. (7BC 810)
    • 5. (Revelation 12:11) specifically states that it was "the blood of the Lamb" - the death of Christ upon the cross - that had made victory over the "accuser our our brethren" possible. (7BC 810)
  • When Satan was thrust out of heaven, he determined to make the earth his kingdom. When he tempted and overcame Adam and Eve, he thought that he had gained possession of this world; “because,” said he, “they have chosen me as their ruler.” He claimed that it was impossible that forgiveness should be granted to the sinner, and therefore the fallen race were his rightful subjects, and the world was his. But God gave His own dear Son—one equal with Himself—to bear the penalty of transgression, and thus He provided a way by which they might be restored to His favor, and brought back to their Eden home. Christ undertook to redeem man and to rescue the world from the grasp of Satan. The great controversy begun in heaven was to be decided in the very world, on the very same field, that Satan claimed as his. (PP 69)

" . . . old . . . " (John 8:44)

  • Greek archaios, ancient," "old," from ache, "beginning." Our English word "archaic" comes from archaios. (7BC 810)

" . . . serpent . . . " (Genesis 3:1)

  • A reference to the serpent who deceived Eve. (7BC 810)
  • The line of prophecy in which these symbols are found begins with Revelation 12, with the dragon that sought to destroy Christ at His birth. The dragon is said to be Satan (Revelation 12:9); he it was that moved upon Herod to put the Saviour to death. But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome. (GC 438)
  • As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so was the Son of man be lifted up" (John 3:14): "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15). All who have ever lived upon the earth have felt the deadly sting of “that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan” (Revelation 12:9). The fatal effects of sin can be removed only by the provision that God has made. The Israelites saved their lives by looking upon the uplifted serpent. That look implied faith. They lived because they believed God's word, and trusted in the means provided for their recovery. So the sinner may look to Christ, and live. He receives pardon through faith in the atoning sacrifice. Unlike the inert and lifeless symbol, Christ has power and virtue in Himself to heal the repenting sinner. (PP 431)
  • The Lord Jesus had protected the children of Israel from the venomous serpents in the wilderness, but this part of their history they did not know. Angels from heaven had accompanied them, and in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night Christ had been their protection through all their journeying. But they became selfish and discontented, and in order that they might not forget His great care over them, the Lord gave them a bitter lesson. He permitted them to be bitten by the fiery serpents, yet in His great mercy He did not leave them to perish. Moses was bidden to lift the brazen serpent on the pole, and make the proclamation that whosoever should look upon it should live. And all who looked, did live. They recovered health at once.... What a strange symbol of Christ was that likeness of the serpents which stung them. This symbol was lifted on a pole, and they were to look to it, and be healed. So Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came as the sin-bearer....
    • The same healing, life-giving message is now sounding. It points to the uplifted Saviour upon the shameful tree. Those who have been bitten by that old serpent, the devil, are bidden to look and live.... Look alone to Jesus as your righteousness and your sacrifice. As you are justified by faith, the deadly sting of the serpent will be healed. (SD 222)
  • Some have given a willing ear to the tempter and have talked out their unbelief and wounded the cause. Satan has claims upon them, for they have not recovered themselves from his snare. They have conducted themselves like children who were wholly unacquainted with the wiles of the tempter. They have had sufficient experience and should have understood his workings. He has suggested doubts to their minds, and, instead of repelling them at once, they have reasoned and parleyed with the arch deceiver, and listened to his reasonings, as though charmed by the old serpent. (1T 377)
  • The enemy is preparing for his last campaign against the church. He has so concealed himself from view that many can hardly believe that he exists, much less can they be convinced of his amazing activity and power. They have to a great extent forgotten his past record; and when he makes another advance move, they will not recognize him as their enemy, that old serpent, but they will consider him a friend, one who is doing a good work. Boasting of their independence they will, under his specious, bewitching influence, obey the worst impulses of the human heart and yet believe that God is leading them. Could their eyes be opened to distinguish their captain, they would see that they are not serving God, but the enemy of all righteousness. They would see that their boasted independence is one of the heaviest fetters Satan can rivet on unbalanced minds. (5T 294)
  • Can we not discern the signs of the times? Can we not see how earnestly Satan is at work binding the tares in bundles, uniting the elements of his kingdom, that he may gain control of the world? This work of binding up the tares is going forward far more rapidly than we imagine. Satan is opposing every obstacle to the advancement of the truth. He is seeking to create diversity of opinion and to encourage worldliness and avarice. He works with the subtlety of the serpent and, when he sees it will do, with the ferocity of the lion. The ruin of souls is his only delight, their destruction his only employment; and shall we act as though we were paralyzed? Will those who profess to believe the truth listen to the temptations of the wily foe and allow themselves to become selfish and narrow, and their worldly interests to interfere with efforts for the salvation of souls? (5T 383-384)

" . . . devil . . . (Matthew 4:1)

  • Greek diabolos, "a slanderer." (7BC 810)

" . . . Satan . . . " (Zechariah 3:1)

  • Greek, Satanas, a transliteration of the Hebrew Satan, meaning "adversary." (7BC 810)
  • ever should you enter a discussion where so much is at stake, relying upon your aptness to handle strong arguments. If it cannot be well avoided, enter the conflict, but enter upon it with firm trust in God and in the spirit of humility, in the spirit of Jesus, who has bidden you learn of Him, who is meek and lowly in heart. And then in order to glorify God and exemplify the character of Christ, you should never take unlawful advantage of your opponent. Lay aside sarcasm and playing upon words. Remember that you are in a combat with Satan and his angels, as well as with the man. He who overcame Satan in heaven and vanquished the fallen foe and expelled him from heaven, and who died to redeem fallen man from his power, when at the grave of Moses, disputing about his body, durst not bring against Satan a railing accusation, but said: “The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9). (1T 626)
  • Satan is trying to set up his throne in the soul-temple. When he reigns he makes himself heard and felt in angry passions, in words of bitterness that grieve and wound; but as light has no communion with darkness, and Christ no union with Belial, the man must be wholly for one or the other. In yielding to self-indulgence, avarice, deception, fraud, or sin of any kind, he encourages the principles of Satan in his soul and closes the door of heaven to himself. Because of sin, Satan was thrust out of heaven; and no man indulging and fostering sin can go to heaven, for then Satan would again have a foothold there. (4T 346)

" . . . which deceiveth . . . " (Matthew 18:12)

  • Greek, planao, "to cause to wander," "to lead astray," "to deceive." (7BC 810)

" . . . the whole world . . . " (Matthew 4:8)

  • Greek, oikoumene, literally, the "inhabited [world]," from oikeo, "to dwell." (7BC 810)

" . . . he was cast into the earth . . ."

  • The controversy in heaven began over plans for the creation of man (3SG 36). When the earth was created and Adam was appointed its vicegerent, Satan directed his efforts at overthrowing the newly created man. When he succeeded in bringing about the downfall of Adam and Eve he claimed the earth as his domain (Matthew 4:8; Matthew 4:9). However, he did not confine his efforts to this earth but tempted also the inhabitants of other worlds (EW 290). Not until the second coming of Christ will Satan be completely confined to this earth (Revelation 20:3; EW 290; DA 490). (7BC 810)
  • Had not the life of Moses been marred with that one sin, in failing to give God the glory of bringing water from the rock at Kadesh, he would have entered the Promised Land, and would have been translated to heaven without seeing death. But he was not long to remain in the tomb. Christ Himself, with the angels who had buried Moses, came down from heaven to call forth the sleeping saint. Satan had exulted at his success in causing Moses to sin against God, and thus come under the dominion of death. The great adversary declared that the divine sentence—“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19)—gave him possession of the dead. The power of the grave had never been broken, and all who were in the tomb he claimed as his captives, never to be released from his dark prison house.
    • For the first time Christ was about to give life to the dead. As the Prince of life and the shining ones approached the grave, Satan was alarmed for his supremacy. With his evil angels he stood to dispute an invasion of the territory that he claimed as his own. He boasted that the servant of God had become his prisoner. He declared that even Moses was not able to keep the law of God; that he had taken to himself the glory due to Jehovah—the very sin which had caused Satan's banishment from heaven—and by transgression had come under the dominion of Satan. The archtraitor reiterated the original charges that he had made against the divine government, and repeated his complaints of God's injustice toward him.
    • Christ did not stoop to enter into controversy with Satan. He might have brought against him the cruel work which his deceptions had wrought in heaven, causing the ruin of a vast number of its inhabitants. He might have pointed to the falsehoods told in Eden, that had led to Adam's sin and brought death upon the human race. He might have reminded Satan that it was his own work in tempting Israel to murmuring and rebellion, which had wearied the long-suffering patience of their leader, and in an unguarded moment had surprised him into the sin for which he had fallen under the power of death. But Christ referred all to His Father, saying, “The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9). The Saviour entered into no dispute with His adversary, but He then and there began His work of breaking the power of the fallen foe, and bringing the dead to life. Here was an evidence that Satan could not controvert, of the supremacy of the Son of God. The resurrection was forever made certain. Satan was despoiled of his prey; the righteous dead would live again. (PP 478-479)
  • The influence of mind on mind, so strong a power for good when sanctified, is equally strong for evil in the hands of those opposed to God. This power Satan used in his work of instilling evil into the minds of the angels, and he made it appear that he was seeking the good of the universe. As the anointed cherub, Lucifer had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. Many of them listened to his suggestions and believed his words. “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 (Revelation 12:7).
    • Cast out of heaven, Satan set up his kingdom in this world, and ever since, he has been untiringly striving to seduce human beings from their allegiance to God. He uses the same power that he used in heaven—the influence of mind on mind. Men become tempters of their fellow men. The strong, corrupting sentiments of Satan are cherished, and they exert a masterly, compelling power. Under the influence of these sentiments, men bind up with one another in confederacies (Letter 114, 1903).
    • Satan's Refusal to Obey Christ—He [Satan] declares he cannot submit to be under Christ's command, that God's commands alone will he obey. Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving Commander.
    • The Father decides the case of Satan, and declares that he must be turned out of heaven for his daring rebellion, and that all those who united with him in his rebellion should be turned out with him. Then there was war in heaven. Christ and His angels fought against Satan and his angels, for they were determined to remain in heaven with all their rebellion. But they prevailed not. Christ and loyal angels triumphed, and drove Satan and his rebel sympathizers from heaven. (Spiritual Gifts 3:38).
    • Rebellion Transferred to This World—When Satan rebelled, there was war in heaven, and he, with all his sympathizers, was cast out. He had held a high office in heaven, possessing a throne radiant with light. But he swerved from his allegiance to the blessed and only Potentate, and fell from his first estate. All who sympathized with him were driven from the presence of God, doomed to be no more acknowledged in the heavenly courts as having a right there. Satan became the avowed antagonist of Christ. On the earth he planted the standard of rebellion, and round it his sympathizers rallied (Manuscript 78, 1905). (7BC 973)
  • In carrying out his enmity to Christ until He hung upon the cross of Calvary, with wounded, bruised body and broken heart, Satan completely uprooted himself from the affections of the universe. It was then seen that God had in His Son denied Himself, giving Himself for the sins of the world, because He loved mankind. The Creator was revealed in the Son of the infinite God. Here the question, “Can there be self-denial with God?” was forever answered. Christ was God, and condescending to be made flesh, He assumed humanity and became obedient unto death, that He might undergo infinite sacrifice (Manuscript 50, 1900). (7BC 974)
  • The very first effort of Satan to overthrow God's law—undertaken among the sinless inhabitants of heaven—seemed for a time to be crowned with success. A vast number of the angels were seduced; but Satan's apparent triumph resulted in defeat and loss, separation from God, and banishment from heaven.
    • When the conflict was renewed upon the earth, Satan again won a seeming advantage. By transgression, man became his captive, and man's kingdom also was betrayed into the hands of the archrebel. Now the way seemed open for Satan to establish an independent kingdom, and to defy the authority of God and His Son. But the plan of salvation made it possible for man again to be brought into harmony with God, and to render obedience to His law, and for both man and the earth to be finally redeemed from the power of the wicked one.
    • Again Satan was defeated, and again he resorted to deception, in the hope of converting his defeat into a victory. To stir up rebellion in the fallen race, he now represented God as unjust in having permitted man to transgress His law. “Why,” said the artful tempter, “when God knew what would be the result, did He permit man to be placed on trial, to sin, and bring in misery and death?” And the children of Adam, forgetful of the long-suffering mercy that had granted man another trial, regardless of the amazing, the awful sacrifice which his rebellion had cost the King of heaven, gave ear to the tempter, and murmured against the only Being who could save them from the destructive power of Satan.
    • There are thousands today echoing the same rebellious complaint against God. They do not see that to deprive man of the freedom of choice would be to rob him of his prerogative as an intelligent being, and make him a mere automaton. It is not God's purpose to coerce the will. Man was created a free moral agent. Like the inhabitants of all other worlds, he must be subjected to the test of obedience; but he is never brought into such a position that yielding to evil becomes a matter of necessity. No temptation or trial is permitted to come to him which he is unable to resist. God made such ample provision that man need never have been defeated in the conflict with Satan. (PP 331-332)
  • Evil spirits, in the beginning created sinless, were equal in nature, power, and glory with the holy beings that are now God's messengers. But fallen through sin, they are leagued together for the dishonor of God and the destruction of men. United with Satan in his rebellion, and with him cast out from heaven, they have, through all succeeding ages, co-operated with him in his warfare against the divine authority. We are told in Scripture of their confederacy and government, of their various orders, of their intelligence and subtlety, and of their malicious designs against the peace and happiness of men. (GC 513)
  • With the earliest history of man, Satan began his efforts to deceive our race. He who had incited rebellion in heaven desired to bring the inhabitants of the earth to unite with him in his warfare against the government of God. Adam and Eve had been perfectly happy in obedience to the law of God, and this fact was a constant testimony against the claim which Satan had urged in heaven, that God's law was oppressive and opposed to the good of His creatures. And furthermore, Satan's envy was excited as he looked upon the beautiful home prepared for the sinless pair. He determined to cause their fall, that, having separated them from God and brought them under his own power, he might gain possession of the earth and here establish his kingdom in opposition to the Most High.
    • Had Satan revealed himself in his real character, he would have been repulsed at once, for Adam and Eve had been warned against this dangerous foe; but he worked in the dark, concealing his purpose, that he might more effectually accomplish his object. Employing as his medium the serpent, then a creature of fascinating appearance, he addressed himself to Eve: “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Had Eve refrained from entering into argument with the tempter, she would have been safe; but she ventured to parley with him and fell a victim to his wiles. It is thus that many are still overcome. They doubt and argue concerning the requirements of God; and instead of obeying the divine commands, they accept human theories, which but disguise the devices of Satan. (GC 531-532)
  • From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been Satan's purpose to overthrow the law of God. It was to accomplish this that he entered upon his rebellion against the Creator, and though he was cast out of heaven he has continued the same warfare upon the earth. To deceive men, and thus lead them to transgress God's law, is the object which he has steadfastly pursued. Whether this be accomplished by casting aside the law altogether, or by rejecting one of its precepts, the result will be ultimately the same. He that offends “in one point,” manifests contempt for the whole law; his influence and example are on the side of transgression; he becomes “guilty of all” (James 2:10).
    • In seeking to cast contempt upon the divine statutes, Satan has perverted the doctrines of the Bible, and errors have thus become incorporated into the faith of thousands who profess to believe the Scriptures. The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we are now entering—a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition. (GC 582)
  • Lucifer in heaven desired to be first in power and authority; he wanted to be God, to have the rulership of heaven; and to this end he won many of the angels to his side. When with his rebel host he was cast out from the courts of God, the work of rebellion and self-seeking was continued on earth. Through the temptation to self-indulgence and ambition Satan accomplished the fall of our first parents; and from that time to the present the gratification of human ambition and the indulgence of selfish hopes and desires have proved the ruin of mankind. (CT 32-33)
  • Their principles and positions in political matters are a great hindrance to their spiritual advancement. These are a constant snare to them and a reproach to our faith, and those who retain these principles will eventually be brought just where the enemy would be glad to have them, where they will be finally separated from Sabbathkeeping Christians. These brethren cannot receive the approval of God while they lack sympathy for the oppressed colored race and are at variance with the pure, republican principles of our Government. God has no more sympathy with rebellion upon earth than with the rebellion in heaven, when the great rebel questioned the foundation of God's government and was thrust out with all who sympathized with him in his rebellion. (1T 534)

" . . . and his angels were cast out with him."

  • There are sinners in the ministry. They are not agonizing to enter in at the strait gate. God does not work with them, for He cannot endure the presence of sin. It is the thing that His soul hates. Even the angels that stood about His throne, whom He loved, but who kept not their first estate of loyalty, God cast out of heaven with their rebel leader. Holiness is the foundation of God's throne; sin is the opposite of holiness; sin crucified the Son of God. If men could see how hateful sin is, they would not tolerate it, nor educate themselves in it. They would reform in life and character. Secret faults would be overcome. If you are to be saints in heaven, you must first be saints upon the earth. (TM 145)
  • If persons are as deserving of being separated from the church as Satan was of being cast out of heaven, they will have sympathizers. There is always a class who are more influenced by individuals than they are by the Spirit of God and sound principles; and, in their unconsecrated state, these are ever ready to take sides with the wrong and give their pity and sympathy to the very ones who least deserve it. These sympathizers have a powerful influence with others; things are seen in a perverted light, great harm is done, and many souls are ruined. Satan in his rebellion took a third part of the angels. They turned from the Father and from His Son, and united with the instigator of rebellion. With these facts before us we should move with the greatest caution. What can we expect but trial and perplexity in our connection with men and women of peculiar minds? We must bear this and avoid the necessity of rooting up the tares, lest the wheat be rooted up also. (3T 114-115)