And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 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. Revelation 12:1-11.

Part II
by Brother Emerson A. Wilson

Casting Down The Dragon
When Paul visited the city of Athena, it was wholly and completely given to idolatry. The dragon ruled there; the pagan Roman Empire had complete control of that city. Now Paul was not as modern people who say, "If I preach truth here, it will just stir up trouble and cause a lot of problems, so the best thing I could do is to just slip on away from here." No, Paul got right in the middle of it and began to cry out with a message about
The Unknown God. He said, "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." (Acts 17:23).

In Acts 19, we read about how the city of Ephesus was wholly given to idolatry, and Paul preached the truth there. Many people confessed, burned their books of curious arts, the Word of God grew and prevailed, and the dragon was cast down. Idolatry had been lifted ad the very religion of that country, that city, and that people, but when the Word of God prevailed through Paul's teaching, one of Christ's angels (remember: angel means "messenger or minister"), the dragon was cast down.

Follow through the Acts of the Apostles: even before the Apostles died, history tells us that the temples of the gods were completely forsaken for true Christianity. They turned the (then-known and then-populated) world upside down. If they would have kept that fire and zeal and trueness to God, they would have turned OUR world upside down. A little later, though, the devil turned around to attack the woman, "the Church", and he did it through powerful overthrow? NO! He did it through lukewarmness and carelessness! He cooled off "the Church" and there was a falling away, even after they had cast the dragon, paganism, down to the earth.

You may question, "What do you mean, 'cast down to the earth'?" Paganism had been exalted as a religion. He wanted to be a religion right along with true Christianity, but true Christianity will not let ANYthing be exalted beside it, not even you or me. When the Truth went forth and the Word of God prevailed, the dragon (paganism, idolatry, infidelity) was cast down to the earth. It was no longer to be held as a religion, but was proven to be earthly and devilish, with no god in it whatsoever. That is what the Revelation means when it speaks of "being cast down to the earth".

Satan, Or The Adversary
Revelation 12:9 tells us, 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. Many people cannot see the dragon as paganism because the Bible says he is called the devil and Satan. We made it plain earlier in the lesson that the devil is a spirit; he is not some beast with seven heads and ten horns. That only symbolized the Pagan Roman Empire that the devil was working through.

Among the Hebrews, the word Satan is used in a very literal sense. The word devil in the Greek is actually translated, "accuser or slanderer". This is exactly what it means when it says, "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole [then-known] world." My friend, it is using it in the sense of him being an accuser, or an opposer.

I will give you some living expressions of it in the Bible. When Balaam failed God and went against God, God tried to talk to him, but couldn't stop him that way. Numbers 22:20-22 tell us, And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. The King James Version says that the angel of the Lord was an "adversary", or a Satan, against him. There, the angel of the Lord is called Satan because the Hebrew actually means that he was an adversary. He was working against Balaam to stop him.

The words Satan and devil, in the light of Bible language, are used in lots of different ways. In I Samuel 29:4, David was called an adversary, or Satan, to the Philistines: And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary (referring to David there) to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men? In Matthew 16:23, Jesus called Peter, "Satan": But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. If you insist that the dragon was the devil, then you would have to say that Peter was the devil. WE know differently, Amen? Jesus called Peter Satan because at that moment, Peter was in direct opposition to that which Jesus wanted to accomplish, the Will of God.

Jesus Is Called An Adversary
Matthew 5:25 tells us to agree with our adversary quickly, while you are in the way with Him. There, Jesus is spoken of as an adversary: Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. There, Jesus is spoken of as an adversary. Why do I say it is Jesus that "adversary" in that scripture is referring to? Because scipture tells us, in 2 Corinthians 6:2, (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Now, today, whenever you receive the call of Christ upon your life, agree to come to Him quickly. Jesus is called an adversary to the sinner because the sinner is living in opposition to Him. The Bible tells us to agree with Him quickly, while He is dealing with us, or why He is in the way with us. Why? You can go on by the hour that God is dealing with you in conviction--you could be sealed in your sins.

In Matthew 23:33, Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees "serpents": Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? In Revelation 12:9, the dragon is called "that old serpent": 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. You might ask, "Why is he called a 'serpent'?" When God made Adam in the Garden of Eden, He took a rib out of his side and brought forth his bride. Just as soon as the bride came forth, the serpent was there to beguile the first Adam's wife. Now, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, went to Calvary, and out of His side flowed blood and water that purchased "the Church", the Bride of Christ. As soon as the second Adam brought forth His bride, right there was the serpent ready to beguile, destroy, and knock her out. So, my friends, the Pagan Roman Empire is spoken of as "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan" because he is an opposer of, an adversary to, true Christianity.

In no way, however, did it say that the dragon was the devil himself. You might contend, "Are you sure? I thought this was where the devil was cast out." My friend, nowhere in the Bible does it say that God cast this dragon down--the ministry cast him down. Revelation 12:10,11 tells us, 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. The ones who were battling him cast him down and overcame him. I hope I have made it plain to you that the dragon is the Pagan Roman Empire. Nowhere does the Bible even suggest that the devil was kicked down. He is still operating; it was the dragon that was put out of business for that particular time. The devil then changed his clothes and came up another way.

There Is Power In The Blood
Let us now consider verse 11 (of our scripture text above): 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. Have you ever wondered how they overcame this dragon by the Blood of the Lamb? We know that the Blood of the Lamb cleanses from all sin, but just being set free from sin, or cleansed from sin, would not give you power to overcome the dragon. There must be some deeper truth in John's language about the Blood of the Lamb. There was something about the Blood of the Lamb that made them overcomers. Regardless of what the devil threw at them, even terrible, gruesome torture, they overcame it, put it down, and lived consistently right down to the minute they died.

In this day where people are giving up so easily, we need to get a deeper vision of the blood of Jesus Christ. There are people who claim to be Christians who are going to have to get a greater hold on the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, or they are not going to make it! None of us have resisted unto blood. Brothers and Sisters, the Blood of the Lamb is still the Blood of the Lamb. When you truly get hold of it and let it work in your life, it will produce the same experience as it did back then!

It is a proven fact that you could not take martyrdom, the fire, or the persecution that they took by just resting on the fact that the blood of Jesus has cleansed you from all sin. There must be something more to the blood. Just the fact that you know you are clean does not give you power against the enemy of your soul. The blood of Jesus Christ does MORE for us than JUST cleanse us from all sin. It is
The Power Source.

There were two things that enabled them to overcome, and the first positive, powerful one was the blood of Jesus. If we ever overcome, we are going to have to use the same means that God afforded for "the Church" in the first period of time. The Scripture says that they overcame by the Blood of the Lamb, or they overcame because of the Blood of the Lamb. We have to face the fact that Christ may bid some of us to die for Him. I don't know that, and neither do you. We may have to sign our testimony with our own blood one of these days, but if we are never called to die for Him, He has certainly called us to LIVE for Him!! If we don't do the lesser, if we are not completely willing to do the lesser, we'll never do the higher and more glorious.

What is the higher and more glorious? To be able to lay down our lives for Him. It's very easy to testify that you would die for Jesus, but you cannot die for Him unless you LIVE for Him! Friend, if we can't overcome in life, we can't overcome in death. They overcame by the Blood of the Lamb.

The conflict with evil is really a spiritual conflict carried on, first, within us. Mark it down, before any one of those martyrs went to a burning stake, they had a great battle within before they ever had a battle without. They had to settle the battle within. Right here is where the failure comes. My friends, the first approach of the enemy is the battle within the mind. Much of the area of Armageddon is fought within the mind. There must be a work that is wrought within us through the blood of Jesus Christ, whereby we can live a settled life in the inner person. Unless we find that settled peace for the inner man (woman), we will NEVER be able to live it outwardly!

The Life Is In The Blood
Paul said, When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4. Over and over he taught the fact to "the Church" that Christ is our life. What does that have to do with the blood? John the Baptist was the first to cry out, when that beautiful young man appeared where John was doing some baptizing, The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29. Think about how awesome (for lack of a better word) that must have been to John to see His Redeemer: "BEHOLD! Let me have your attention. Stop what you are doing and look here!" And then to announce, "...the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." What a declaration of recognition! He didn't enlarge upon it, but the Apostle John, however, in First, Second, and Third John, in the Book of John and in the Revelation, went into a deep study of the Lamb of God. The word lamb to John meant much more than just the general, submissive, loving character that Christ possessed.

All through his writings, the Apostle John associated the figure of The Lamb with sacrifice. In Revelation 5:5,6, when the book couldn't be opened, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah took hold and opened it, John wrote, And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. In Revelation 13:8, he wrote, And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Every time he dealt with The Lamb, he dealt with it as a slain lamb, or a lamb that was offered in sacrifice.

He taught that Christ was a Lamb that was offered as a sacrifice for the removal of sin, and a deeper something was in the Blood of the Lamb. What was it? God began teaching in the days of Noah, when they first began to bring animal sacrifices, that the shed blood stood for a life yielded. Moses taught the people that "the life was in the blood".

In those days, it was the life of an animal that was taken, its blood spilled in sacrifice for sin. We all know that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, but the picture God wanted to hold before them was that the life was in the blood. Even though the blood of animals could not deliver them, yet it was a schoolmaster, or a shadow, to teach them that deliverance from sin took more than merely spilling blood. It took a life given. The life was in the blood; when the blood was spilled, the animal laid down his life.

As God held that before them, that the life was in the blood, He tolds it true right over into the New Testament. In Hebrews 9:13,14, we find:
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

How did Jesus offer His blood? He gave Himself to God. How did He give Himself? He laid down His earthly body through the eternal Spirit. When He gave Himself to God, His blood that was spilled cleanses and sanctifies you, or sets you apart, and the very life that was given in the blood makes you able to serve God in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life.

How did they overcome through the blood? Through the life of the blood. It is the same way you and I overcome. We can be cleansed through faith in His blood, but if we overcome, it will take some life within us. That is why Paul said, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. We can be MORE than conquerors through Jesus Christ that lives within us. Christ met the prince of this world, and He overcame him. Sixty millon (plus) martyrs met the best that the devil could throw at them, and they overcame him with the Blood of the Lamb (the life of the Lamb). The same life that was in them that was in Jesus. How did it affect them? They loved not their lives unto the death.

Too many "professing" Christians can't enjoy this kind of life because they love their life too well. When you want your way, and have reserves that you won't give up for anybody, you will never find this life. Jesus made it plain in Luke's Gospel that if you ever find this life, you have to hate your life.

Whenever the blood is applied through faith to your life that cleanses you from all sin, the life of Christ comes in also. The blood is not reaching these people who only see cleansing and no power to live right. Many times, it isn't their fault. Why not? Because they are NOT being taught! All they see in Christ is the Lamb of God that just keeps them under the blood while they still live in sin--there is NO overcoming in that kind of life!

They can't overcome the devil when he comes around and says, "Here's a Lucky Strike. Take it." Then they answer, "Well, I just can't help myself. Jesus will forgive me tonight." There is no overcoming in that. They are continuing in their sins. If you can't overcome a mere cigarette, you can't overcome a burning stake!

There is overcoming power in the Blood of the Lamb. Why? It is just as the animal that was killed--his blood was not only spilled--his life was laid down. Now there was no way in the Old Testament for them to take on the life of the animal. Jesus, however, lay down His life and spilled His life's blood that we might take on His life through the eternal Spirit. In other words, the inner man took the outer man and lay him on the altar and slew him there. When you come to God in old-time repentance, that same Holy Spirit that He offered Himself to God through, works on your heart and life to make you a NEW creature IN CHRIST.

I hope you are able to see that there is something more about the blood than just a cleansing action. There is also the keeping action--it not only cleanses us from our sins, it also keeps us holy unto God. Christ-life is given to us when we take faith in His blood. So the New Testament teaches "the Church" that it is Christ IN you, or Christ formed in you. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 4:19,20. So, we overcome that which is ready to devour all goodness by the virtue of the Blood of the Lamb, or the Christ-life that is in us. Here is the assurance of victory over all the forms of evil. Not only did they overcome back then, but we can overcome today! The life-giving power through the blood gave them (gives us) victory.

"...By The Word Of Their Testimony..."
They overcame, first, by the Blood of the Lamb, and secondly, by the word of their testimony. We must have the real inner life, and an open confession. Why an open confession? Why did ther have to be the testimony? Life only keeps healthy when it finds expression and exercise. Any life, even physical life, must have exercise and expression. You can't keep this life of Christ down inside without an open expression or testimony. If you don't tell it, you will lose it.

Not only did the early Christians believe in the life of the blood, but they were not fearful to testify. Whenever the life of Christ is working in the inner man, you will lose your fear to speak out. Those early Christians lay down their lives for the word of their testimony.

Someone may ask, "How did that overcome the dragon?" My friends, this is the power that brought him down. Every time a martyr would stand with a real burning testimony of what Jesus had done for him (or her), and he would not deny the Lord or blaspheme Him, they would kill him (or her). It was nothing to see twenty-five people fall on their knees and give their hearts to God because of one martyr's testimony.

OUR world of today could be reached the same way if we would get the real life of the blood, the life of Christ, working within us, and then fearlessly stand against wrong. Let people know that you don't have to have time to make up your mind. It's already made up: "I'll serve Jesus if it kills me." Here is salvation, and we need to take a fresh look at it. Jesus can do more for man than he is doing for a lot of people who claim to be Christians.

Revelation 12:10 tells us, 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. There is power through our Christ to put the devil down, any way he comes. That is salvation! I want to tell you, Friends, we need a good shaking, and God is doing a mighty shaking already to get us ready. There is only one way to overcome--through the life that is found in the Blood of the Lamb. That life will enable us to walk up to the chopping block, if necessary, as Paul did. Let's overcome. The life is in the blood, and it will make us overcomers in all things.

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