Revelation 12:10; per Adam Clarke
The accuser of our brethren - There is scarcely any thing more common in the rabbinical writings than Satan as the accuser of the Israelites. And the very same word κατηγορος, accuser, or, as it is in the Codex Alexandrinus, κατηγωρ, is used by them in Hebrew letters, קטיגור katigor ; e. gr., Pirkey Eliezer, c. 46, speaking of the day of expiation; "And the holy blessed God hears their testimony from their accuser, הקטיגור מן min hakkatigor ; and expiates the altar, the priests, and the whole multitude, from the greatest to the least."
In Shemoth Rabba, sec. 31, fol. 129, 2, are these words; "If a man observes the precepts, and is a son of the law, and lives a holy life, then Satan stands and accuses him."
"Every day, except the day of expiation Satan is the accuser of men." - Vayikra Rabba, sec. 21, fol. 164.
"The holy blessed God said to the seventy princes of the world, Have ye seen him who always accuses my children?" - Yalcut Chadash, fol. 101, 3.
"The devil stands always as an accuser before the King of Israel." - Sohar Levit., fol. 43, col. 171. See much more in Schoettgen.
Revelation 12:10; per John Edward Clarke
And I heard a loud voice, saying, - Now is come salvation, etc. - This is a song of triumph of the Christian Church over the heathen idolatry, and is very expressive of the great joy of the Christians upon this most stupendous event. The loud voice of triumph is said to be heard in heaven, to show that the Christian religion was now exalted to the heaven or throne of the Roman. empire. "It is very remarkable," as Bishop Newton observes, "that Constantine himself, and the Christians of his time, describe his conquests under the image of a dragon, as if they had understood that this prophecy had received its accomplishment in him. Constantine himself, in his epistle to Eusebius and other bishops concerning the re-edifying and repairing of the churches, saith that 'liberty being now restored, and that the dragon being removed from the administration of public affairs, by the providence of the great God and by my ministry, I esteem the great power of God to have been made manifest to all.' Moreover, a picture of Constantine was set up over the palace gate, with the cross over his head, and under his feet the great enemy of mankind, who persecuted the Church by means of impious tyrants, in the form of a dragon, transfixed with a dart through the midst of his body, and falling headlong into the depth of the sea." See Eusebius de Vita Constantini, lib. ii. c. 46; and lib. iii. c. 3, and Socratis Hist. Eccles., lib. i. c. 9. Constantine added to the other Roman ensigns the labarum, or standard of the cross, and constituted it the principal standard of the Christian Roman empire. To this labarum Prudentius refers, when speaking of the Christian soldiers, in his first hymn περι στεφανων,
Caesaris vexilla linquunt, eligunt Signum Crucis,
Proque ventosis Draconum, quae gerebant, palliis,
Proferunt Insigne Lignum, quod Draconem subdidit.
"They leave the ensigns of Caesar; they choose the standard of the cross; and instead of the dragon flags which they carried, moved about with the wind, they bring forward the illustrious wood that subdued the dragon."
When the apostle saw the woman in heaven, well might he call it, in the spirit of prophecy, a great wonder.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven - The great enemy was expelled; the cause of God and truth was triumphant; and the conquering hosts united in celebrating the victory. This representation of a song, consequent on victory, is in accordance with the usual representations in the Bible. See the song of Moses at the Red Sea, Isaiah 12:25. On no occasion could such a song be more appropriate than on the complete routing and discomfiture of Satan and his rebellious hosts. Viewed in reference to the time here symbolized, this would relate to the certain triumph of the church and of truth on the earth; in reference to the language, there is an allusion to the joy and triumph of the heavenly hosts when Satan and his apostate legions were expelled.
Now is come salvation - That is, complete deliverance from the power of Satan.
And strength - That is, now is the mighty power of God manifested in casting down and subduing the great enemy of the church.
And the kingdom of our God - The reign of our God. See the notes on Matthew 3:2. That is now established among people, and God will henceforward rule. This refers to the certain ultimate triumph of his cause in the world.
And the power of his Christ - His anointed; that is, the kingdom of Christ as the Messiah, or as anointed and set apart to rule over the world. See the notes on Matthew 1:1.
For the accuser of our brethren is cast down - The phrase “our brethren” shows by whom this song is celebrated. It is sung in heaven; but it is by those who belonged to the redeemed church, and whose brethren were still suffering persecution and trial on the earth. It shows the tenderness of the tie which unites all the redeemed as brethren, whether on earth or in heaven; and it shows the interest which they “who have passed the flood” have in the trials, the sorrows, and the triumphs of those who are still upon the earth. We have here another appellation given to the great enemy - “accuser of the brethren.” The word used here - κατήγορος katēgorosin later editions of the New Testament κατήγωρ katēgōr- means properly “an accuser,” one who blames another, or charges another with crime. The word occurs in John 8:10; Acts 23:30, Acts 23:35; Acts 24:8; Acts 25:16, Acts 25:18; Revelation 12:10, in all which places it is rendered “accuser” or “accusers,” though only in the latter place applied to Satan. The verb frequently occurs, Matthew 12:10; Matthew 27:12; Mark 3:2; Mark 15:3, et al.
The description of Satan as an accuser accords with the opinion of the ancient Hebrews in regard to his character. Thus he is represented in Job 1:9-11; Job 2:4-5; Zechariah 3:1-2; 1 Chronicles 21:1. The phrase “of the brethren” refers to Christians, or to the people of God; and the meaning here is, that one of the characteristics of Satan - a characteristic so well known as to make it proper to designate him by it - is that he is an accuser of the righteous; that he is employed in bringing against them charges affecting their character and destroying their influence. The propriety of this appellation cannot be doubted. It is, as it has always been, one of the characteristics of Satan - one of the means by which he keeps up his influence in the world - to bring accusations against the people of God. Thus, under his suggestions, and by his agents, they are charged with hypocrisy; with insincerity; with being influenced by bad motives; with pursuing sinister designs under the cloak of religion; with secret vices and crimes. Thus it was that the martyrs were accused; thus it is that unfounded accusations are often brought against ministers of the gospel, palsying their power and diminishing their influence, or that when a professed Christian falls the church is made to suffer by an effort to cast suspicion on all who bear the Christian name. Perhaps the most skillful thing that Satan does, and the thing by which he most contributes to diminish the influence of the church, is in thus causing “accusations” to be brought against the people of God.
Is cast down - The period here referred to was, doubtless, the time when the church was about to be established and to flourish in the world, and when accusations would be brought against Christians by various classes of calumniators and informers. It is well known that in the early ages of Christianity crimes of the most horrid nature were charged on Christians, and that it was by these slanders that the effort was made to prevent the extension of the Christian church.
Which accused them before our God - See the notes on Job 1:9-10. The meaning is, that he accused them, as it were, in the very presence of God.
Day and night - He never ceased bringing these accusations, and sought by the perseverance and constancy with which they were urged to convince the world that there was no sincerity in the church and no reality in religion.
Oh, how many things have developed since he became so full of hatred against God because his dangers and wrongs were brought before him! He has allowed wicked thoughts to strengthen and prevail because, day by day, he has not eaten of the flesh and drunk of the blood of the Son of God, because he has not become a partaker of the divine nature. The things which come from within defile the man. How corrupt then must be the source from which these evils have taken their rise! TM 409.1
Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Let all who read these lines, take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His church. He says, “I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify.” Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. TM 409.2Read in context »
God has a church on earth who are lifting up the downtrodden law, and presenting to the world the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. The church is the depositary of the wealth of the riches of the grace of Christ, and through the church eventually will be made manifest the final and full display of the love of God to the world that is to be lightened with its glory. The prayer of Christ that His church may be one as He was one with His Father will finally be answered. The rich dowry of the Holy Spirit will be given, and through its constant supply to the people of God they will become witnesses in the world of the power of God unto salvation. TM 50.1
There is but one church in the world who are at the present time standing in the breach, and making up the hedge, building up the old waste places; and for any man to call the attention of the world and other churches to this church, denouncing her as Babylon, is to do a work in harmony with him who is the accuser of the brethren. Is it possible that men will arise from among us, who speak perverse things, and give voice to the very sentiments that Satan would have disseminated in the world in regard to those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus? Is there not work enough to satisfy your zeal in presenting the truth to those who are in the darkness of error? As those who have been made stewards of means and ability, you have been misapplying your Lord's goods in disseminating error. The whole world is filled with hatred of those who proclaim the binding claims of the law of God, and the church who are loyal to Jehovah must engage in no ordinary conflict. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Those who have any realization of what this warfare means will not turn their weapons against the church militant, but with all their powers will wrestle with the people of God against the confederacy of evil. TM 50.2
Those who start up to proclaim a message on their own individual responsibility, who, while claiming to be taught and led of God, still make it their special work to tear down that which God has been for years building up, are not doing the will of God. Be it known that these men are on the side of the great deceiver. Believe them not. They are allying themselves with the enemies of God and the truth. They will deride the order of the ministry as a system of priestcraft. From such turn away, have no fellowship with their message, however much they may quote the Testimonies and seek to entrench themselves behind them. Receive them not, for God has not given them this work to do. The result of such work will be unbelief in the Testimonies, and, as far as possible, they will make of none effect the work that I have for years been doing. TM 51.1Read in context »
But in this crisis the Lord strengthened His people “with good words and comfortable words.” Zechariah 1:13. Through an impressive illustration of the work of Satan and the work of Christ, He showed the power of their Mediator to vanquish the accuser of His people. PK 583.1
In vision the prophet beholds “Joshua the high priest,” “clothed with filthy garments” (Zechariah 3:1, 3), standing before the Angel of the Lord, entreating God's mercy in behalf of His afflicted people. As he pleads for the fulfillment of God's promises, Satan stands up boldly to resist him. He points to the transgressions of Israel as a reason why they should not be restored to the favor of God. He claims them as his prey, and demands that they be given into his hands. PK 583.2
The high priest cannot defend himself or his people from Satan's accusations. He does not claim that Israel is free from fault. In filthy garments, symbolizing the sins of the people, which he bears as their representative, he stands before the Angel, confessing their guilt, yet pointing to their repentance and humiliation, and relying upon the mercy of a sin-pardoning Redeemer. In faith he claims the promises of God. PK 583.3Read in context »
In this choice the principles of Satan were made manifest; and the hosts of heaven, and all the worlds that God had created, judged that Satan was an accuser of the brethren, a liar, and a murderer. In heaven and among the unfallen worlds the question of Satan's deceiving power, of his malignant principles, was settled, and the perfect purity and holiness of Christ, who was bearing the test and trial in behalf of fallen man, was forever proved. Through the development of Satan's character and principles, he was forever uprooted from the affection of the unfallen worlds, and the controversy concerning his claims and the claims of Christ was forever settled in heaven. The righteousness manifested in the character of Christ was forever to be the anchor, the saving hope, of the world. Every soul who chooses Christ can say with faith, “The Lord my righteousness.” 1SM 348.1
Christ was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5). 1SM 349.1Read in context »