Rev. 12:10 – Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come, because the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out: the one who accuses them before God day and night. (HCSB)
A loud voice in heaven
In verse 10 John records, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven.” We are not told whose voice utters this celebratory hymn, just as in previous passages in Revelation we are not always given the identity of those speaking. The emphasis here is not on the messenger but on the message. We may, however, rule out an angelic source to the voice in heaven because of the words “the accuser of our brothers” (v. 10b). Satan accuses sinful and fallen people, not angels, before God. Further, scripture does not refer to the angelic host as “brothers.” So, it’s possible the voice in heaven is that of Jesus on behalf of the redeemed – or, more likely, the combined voices of the martyrs before the throne.
It is fitting that we hear a song, for the people of God often raise their voices in praise when they witness the miraculous deeds of our sovereign God. In the Old Testament, for example, there is the song of Moses at the Red Sea (Ex. 15); the song of Deborah after the Lord delivers Israel from Jabin the king of Canaan (Judges 5); and the song of David, when the Lord delivers him out of the hand of all his enemies (2 Sam. 22). In the New Testament, followers of Jesus compose hymns of praise to honor Him for His finished work on the cross, and singing becomes an integral part of worship (for example, see Acts 16:24-26; 1 Cor. 14:25-27; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
In this passage in Revelation, there is particular cause for joy. “On no occasion could such a song be more appropriate than on the complete routing and discomfiture of Satan and his rebellious hosts” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Rev. 12:10).
Salvation and power
The hymn begins with a victorious proclamation: “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come …” (v. 10a). Note first the source of all these blessings. God is the Author of salvation. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit play unique and complementary roles in securing victory over the evil one. Jesus is our Savior, the Son of God and Son of Man, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Father sends the Son; He foreknows and elects us. The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ; He regenerates, sanctifies, seals, and distributes spiritual gifts to us. Much more could be written here about the amazing grace provided through the triune Godhead, but the underlying truth is that apart from God there is no salvation.
Next, John refers to the power of God. The Greek word dunamis is used 92 times in the New Testament. In other passages it describes Jesus’ ability to perform miracles (Matt. 14:2); the unique power that comes only from God (Matt. 22:29); the awesome manner in which Christ will return (Matt. 24:30); a name Jesus uses for God the Father (Matt. 26:64); the Holy Spirit’s work in the incarnation (Luke 1:35); the power Jesus gives the twelve over demons and to heal diseases (Luke 9:1); the power the Holy Spirit gives New Testament believers to be Christ’s witnesses (Acts 1:8); a power Peter makes clear is not of human origin (Acts 3:12); the power of the gospel to save (Rom. 1:16); the earthly and demonic powers that Christ will destroy when He returns (1 Cor. 15:24); the power of Christ to uphold the universe (Heb. 1:3); and the list goes on. Most of the uses of this Greek word for power in the New Testament refer to God, and when they do not – that is, when they refer to human, Satanic or demonic power – it is always a lesser power than the power of God. We may take comfort in this, knowing that no matter what people or evil spirits throw at us, the Lord already has conquered these forces by His eternal and unfathomable power.
Kingdom and authority
John then turns his attention to the kingdom. The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching and the focus of His ministry. The kingdom simply is God’s reign, or His authority to rule. While God is sovereign over all creation, Satan has usurped man’s dominion over the earth and has cobbled together a competing kingdom that Jesus invaded in His incarnation and defeated in His death, burial and resurrection. Today, Jesus is plundering Satan’s kingdom, taking out of it those enslaved to sin and transforming them into priests, kings, and heirs of God’s kingdom. The day is coming when Satan’s kingdom will be crushed, he will be cast into hell, and the kingdom of this earth will become the kingdom of our Lord and His Messiah (Rev. 11:15).
And then, we are told that “the authority of His Messiah” has now come. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus tells His followers that “all authority” has been given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Satan is a defeated ruler. Just as there is a “lame duck” session between some elections and the time new officials assume their offices, so Satan is a lame duck who has no authority in the new administration but tries desperately to hold sway in his remaining days. Failing that, he will make the transition as difficult as possible for the King and His subjects.
In the second half of verse 10, the voice in heaven tells us the reason for this celebratory hymn: “because the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out: the one who accuses them before our God day and night.” Matthew Henry writes about Satan, “Though he hates the presence of God, yet he is willing to appear there to accuse the people of God. Let us therefore take heed that we give him no cause of accusation against us; and that, when we have sinned, we presently go in before the Lord, and accuse and condemn ourselves, and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Rev. 12:1–11).
Next: They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb — Rev. 12:11