Our Accuser Cast Down
The birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has changed everything. Prior to this, the devil would stand in heaven to accuse God’s people. Indeed, the word, “satan,” means, “adversary,” and carries with it the added meaning of “accuser.” The classic passage comes from Zechariah 3:1-5 where Satan stands by to accuse Joshua, the high priest, before the Lord. But the Lord rebukes Satan and has Joshua’s sin-stained garments removed and replaced with pure vestments. But in a real sense, the devil had a legitimate gripe; after all, God’s people had sinned and deserved not one ounce of God’s grace. It would be unfair for God to overlook their sins. On the other hand, Satan was hardly a just accuser given the fact that he was the deceiver constantly seducing God’s people to sin. Well, as I started to say, our Lord’s victory over sin and death through the cross and resurrection means that God’s people are cleansed of sin by the Judge Himself through a just payment. Satan has no more standing whereby to accuse them. Their sins are forgiven, and Satan can say nothing about it.
So Satan has been cast out of heaven by Michael and his army of angels. (It would be beneath Jesus to fight the devil. The devil is a fallen angel, so let an angel take him.) Jesus even prophesied the event: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). We know from the Book of Job that even as a fallen angel God allowed Satan “visitor’s privileges” into heaven’s gates. But no more! Satan’s privilege has been permanently revoked thanks to the cross. And even more galling for Satan is that had “the rulers of this age understood this…they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8).
But now the Prince of Demons walks the earth like a roaring lion full of wrath, for “he knows his time is short.” And God’s people are the special targets for his rage. He can no longer accuse them in heaven, so he must persecute them on earth. But they’ve no reason to fear him. Indeed, he may take their lives, but not their souls. John even speaks in the past tense about future events indicating without doubt that they WILL occur: “They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” And that is our part as those who take up the cross and follow our Lord. Oh, the devil is very real, but he has been defeated. We fight against a conquered foe. Let that encourage you when you face trial and temptation. Christ has won!