Revelation 12:9: Deceiver.

The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient snake called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. NIV

The devil is pictured as both a ‘’dragon’’ and a ‘’serpent’’, and, truthfully, I wouldn’t want to get to close to either!

Mention of the ‘’serpent’’ takes us back to the beginning, and the garden of Eden, and the very origin of sin (Genesis 3). In 2 Corinthians 11:2,3, the apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth: ‘’I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.’’ It is that deceiving activity which gets highlighted in this ninth verse of Revelation 12. Satan ‘’leads the whole world astray.’’ That caused my mind to leapfrog back to 1 John 5:19: ‘’the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’’

 Satan’s key activities include leading astray and deceiving (Mark 13:22). He tells as many lies and half-truths as he has to, in order to steal people’s hearts from Christ, or to keep their hearts from Him.

It’s great to know that Genesis 3, in introducing us to the ‘’serpent’’, and exposing some of his wiles, also prophesies his ultimate downfall at the Hands of Christ (3:15). Nevertheless, he is still a wily character who has very real power in this world, as this chapter shows. We need to hold these two truths in balance (and also in tension) that the devil is a defeated enemy, but he is still allowed to be active in this world, and will be until the end. That there is ‘war on the saints’ should not surprise us – not if we understand ‘Revelation’, and the whole of the Bible!