In order to see the context in which this verse was written, we will read Revelation 12:7-11 “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (NKJV).

This war in heaven will take place in the middle of the seven year Tribulation Period spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Up to this point in time, Satan and his angels lived in heavenly places (see Ephesians 2:2 and 6:11-12). Michael and his angels will prevail over Satan and his angels and they will be cast out of heaven forever. Satan’s expulsion from heaven will result in praise in heaven, for the saints in heaven will realize that this is the first step in the ultimate defeat of Satan which will be followed by the establishment of Christ’s kingdom here on earth. They also rejoice in the fact that Satan will no longer be able to “accuse the brethren before God.” What does this mean? It means that Satan will no longer be able to approach God’s throne and accuse the saints of sins they have committed. Now let’s take a close look at verse 11.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” When Satan did accuse the brethren they were victorious over him “by the blood of the Lamb.” Again, his accusations has to do with the sins they had committed, but the believer in Christ can point to the blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross and say, “Those sins have been forgiven.” The great reformer Martin Luther once had a dream where Satan was accusing him of his many past sins, and his response to Satan was, “You might add many more to these, but write in red ink over the whole list, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin’ (1st John 1:7).” This truth reminds me also of Romans 8:33-34: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justified. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died.” Satan loves to “bring a charge against us,” but God has declared the believer righteous through Christ’s death on the cross.

“and by the word of their testimony.” Believers not only gain the victory by the blood of the Lamb, but by their faithful testimony in the world, even in the face of satanic persecution. I should mention at this point that though these verses can be APPLIED to us today, the primary INTERPRETATION of this verse refers to believers who will be persecuted during the Tribulation Period. If you read Revelation 13 you will see that two Satan-inspired men will “make war with the saints” (verse 7) and “cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (verse 15). This leads us to our final point.

“and they did not love their lives to the death.” Believers at that time will be willing to “seal their testimony with their blood.” In Revelation 6:9 we read of those who are martyred during the first half of the Tribulation Period: “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” Verse 11 goes on to speak of those who will be killed during the last half: “Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, UNTIL BOTH THE NUMBER OF THEIR FELLOW SERVANTS AND THEIR BRETHREN, WHO WOULD BE KILLED AS THEY WERE, WAS COMPLETED.”  (213.3)  (DO)