Revelation 12:10 is part of a chapter encompassing past, present, and future events. As the scene unfolds, a resounding voice proclaims, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” This declaration follows a celestial battle between the dragon and other angels in heaven, leading to the former’s defeat. The “accuser of the brethren” (as the KJV renders it) is the defeated dragon, that is, Satan (verse 9).
The battle depicted in Revelation 12 is not the initial banishment of the accuser of the brethren before the world’s creation. Instead, it signifies the ultimate expulsion of the devil and his angels from heaven at a future time. Presently, the devil has limited access to God’s throne where he undertakes accusatory tasks (see Job 9:1–11). However, his defeat commenced at the cross of Christ (Hebrews 2:14–15; Colossians 2:15), and Revelation 12 shows his future total banishment from heaven. At that time, all his access to heaven will be cut off.
In Zechariah 3:1–4, the prophet records a scene that portrays Satan as the accuser, along with the response from the Lord:
Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes” (NLT).Although the accuser of the brethren wants to emphasize our sin before God with the aim of condemning us, God is merciful enough to reject Satan’s accusations and offer grace. Even in the case of Job where God grants the devil permission to test Job, Job’s perseverance and eventual humility renders the devil’s accusations false. In the New Testament, Job is presented as an example of perseverance in the face of suffering (James 5:10–11), a victory against the accuser.
Furthermore, we rest secure in the truth that Christ and the Holy Spirit intercede for us (Romans 8:26; Hebrews 5:14–15; 7:25). Satan’s accusations won’t twist God’s sovereign plan to save all those who place their trust in Christ, and God’s purpose will be fulfilled for His glory.
Jesus, our Advocate, is greater than the accuser of the brethren. When Christians struggle with guilt and shame due to sin, the accuser seeks to break the fellowship we have with God. But Christ intercedes for us, and we can always confess our sin, and God “is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We can run back to the Father’s arms, knowing that there’s “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).