Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 12:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

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.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The attempts of the dragon proved unsuccessful against the church, and fatal to his own interests. The seat of this war was in heaven; in the church of Christ, the kingdom of heaven on earth. The parties were Christ, the great Angel of the covenant, and his faithful followers; and Satan and his instruments. The strength of the church is in having the Lord Jesus for the Captain of their salvation. Pagan idolatry, which was the worship of devils, was cast out of the empire by the spreading of Christianity. The salvation and strength of the church, are only to be ascribed to the King and Head of the church. The conquered enemy hates the presence of God, yet he is willing to appear there, to accuse the people of God. Let us take heed that we give him no cause to accuse us; and that, when we have sinned, we go before the Lord, condemn ourselves, and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate. The servants of God overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, as the cause. By the word of their testimony: the powerful preaching of the gospel is mighty, through God, to pull down strong holds. By their courage and patience in sufferings: they loved not their lives so well but they could lay them down in Christ's cause. These were the warriors and the weapons by which Christianity overthrew the power of pagan idolatry; and if Christians had continued to fight with these weapons, and such as these, their victories would have been more numerous and glorious, and the effects more lasting. The redeemed overcame by a simple reliance on the blood of Christ, as the only ground of their hopes. In this we must be like them. We must not blend any thing else with this.
Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 151

He proceeds to recount his good deeds: “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” The religion of the Pharisee does not touch the soul. He is not seeking Godlikeness of character, a heart filled with love and mercy. He is satisfied with a religion that has to do only with outward life. His righteousness is his own—the fruit of his own works—and judged by a human standard. COL 151.1

Whoever trusts in himself that he is righteous, will despise others. As the Pharisee judges himself by other men, so he judges other men by himself. His righteousness is estimated by theirs, and the worse they are the more righteous by contrast he appears. His self-righteousness leads to accusing. “Other men” he condemns as transgressors of God's law. Thus he is making manifest the very spirit of Satan, the accuser of the brethren. With this spirit it is impossible for him to enter into communion with God. He goes down to his house destitute of the divine blessing. COL 151.2

The publican had gone to the temple with other worshipers, but he soon drew apart from them as unworthy to unite in their devotions. Standing afar off, he “would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast,” in bitter anguish and self-abhorrence. He felt that he had transgressed against God, that he was sinful and polluted. He could not expect even pity from those around him, for they looked upon him with contempt. He knew that he had no merit to commend him to God, and in utter self-despair he cried, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” He did not compare himself with others. Overwhelmed with a sense of guilt, he stood as if alone in God's presence. His only desire was for pardon and peace, his only plea was the mercy of God. And he was blessed. “I tell you,” Christ said, “this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” COL 151.3

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 166-70

“For the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.” Deuteronomy 32:9, 10. “For thus saith the Lord of hosts: After the glory hath He sent me unto the nations which spoiled you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.” Zechariah 2:8. COL 166.1

The widow's prayer, “Avenge me”—“do me justice” (R.V.)—“of mine adversary,” represents the prayer of God's children. Satan is their great adversary. He is the “accuser of our brethren,” who accuses them before God day and night. (Revelation 12:10.) He is continually working to misrepresent and accuse, to deceive and destroy the people of God. And it is for deliverance from the power of Satan and his agents that in this parable Christ teaches His disciples to pray. COL 166.2

In the prophecy of Zechariah is brought to view Satan's accusing work, and the work of Christ in resisting the adversary of His people. The prophet says, “He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” Zechariah 3:1-3. COL 166.3

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 190

The rabbis had a saying that there is rejoicing in heaven when one who has sinned against God is destroyed; but Jesus taught that to God the work of destruction is a strange work. That in which all heaven delights is the restoration of God's own image in the souls whom He has made. COL 190.1

When one who has wandered far in sin seeks to return to God, he will encounter criticism and distrust. There are those who will doubt whether his repentance is genuine, or will whisper, “He has no stability; I do not believe that he will hold out.” These persons are doing not the work of God but the work of Satan, who is the accuser of the brethren. Through their criticisms the wicked one hopes to discourage that soul, and to drive him still farther from hope and from God. Let the repenting sinner contemplate the rejoicing in heaven over the return of the one that was lost. Let him rest in the love of God and in no case be disheartened by the scorn and suspicion of the Pharisees. COL 190.2

The rabbis understood Christ's parable as applying to the publicans and sinners; but it has also a wider meaning. By the lost sheep Christ represents not only the individual sinner but the one world that has apostatized and has been ruined by sin. This world is but an atom in the vast dominions over which God presides, yet this little fallen world—the one lost sheep—is more precious in His sight than are the ninety and nine that went not astray from the fold. Christ, the loved Commander in the heavenly courts, stooped from His high estate, laid aside the glory that He had with the Father, in order to save the one lost world. For this He left the sinless worlds on high, the ninety and nine that loved Him, and came to this earth, to be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5.) God gave Himself in His Son that He might have the joy of receiving back the sheep that was lost. COL 190.3

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 296

As a people the Jews had failed of fulfilling God's purpose, and the vineyard was taken from them. The privileges they had abused, the work they had slighted, was entrusted to others. COL 296.1

The parable of the vineyard applies not alone to the Jewish nation. It has a lesson for us. The church in this generation has been endowed by God with great privileges and blessings, and He expects corresponding returns. COL 296.2

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