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Satan is Cast Out of Heaven
In this chapter we encounter a pause in the revelation of Daniel’s 70th week prophecy, and John is given a vision of two great battles in heaven directly affecting the Jewish nation and its ultimate salvation. Accordingly, scenes unfold that seem to begin with God’s plan for establishing the Jewish nation (~1900 B. C.), until the final battle at the end of time, when the dragon (Satan) makes war with the remnant. Revelation 12:1-17 says, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up to God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hun120
dred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and the sea for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the rem121
nant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The woman we see in Revelation 12:1-2 represents the nation of Israel. The wording here is very similar to that in Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9, where Jacob, Rachel, and the brothers of Joseph were identified as the sun, moon, and stars, respectively. Jacob, Rachel, and their twelve sons (including Joseph), represent the Jewish nation in the OT, and here we see a symbolic representation of Israel in the NT by the woman. She is travailing in birth, being in pain to bring forth her child. The Jewish nation was in dire straights in the time just before Jesus’ birth. They longed for the promised Messiah to come and deliver them from the Romans, and to reestablish the power and prestige of Israel. Sadly, they failed to understand the prophecies about Jesus, and thus they failed to recognize Him when He did come. The second wonder we see in this scripture obviously represents Satan. The seven heads with crowns are thought to represent the six worldly empires of the past (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) with the seventh, and final empire, to be led by the antichrist. The ten horns are thought by most expositors to represent ten kingdoms that make up the antichrist’s empire. Daniel 7:7-8 also mentions this beast with the ten horns, and relates Daniel’s vision about a little horn that rises up and plucks up three of the original ten horns. In Daniel 8:9-14 we see that the little horn is the antichrist, and it would appear that he takes control of this final empire by conquering, or in some other way overcoming, three of the ten kingdoms. Daniel 8:8 indicates 122
that the little horn rises up out of one of a he goat's four horns, thought to represent the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s empire was divided after his death. This is the basis for conjecture that the antichrist will rise out of one of the four geographical areas that made up Alexander’s divided Grecian empire. Many believe that Antiochus Epiphanes, who rose to rule the Syrian portion of Alexander’s divided regime, was the precursor to the antichrist. Thus, the antichrist is thought to be destined to rise from this region of the world. Lucifer was originally a very important angel who chose to rebel against God and, as a result, lost his position in heaven and had his name changed to Satan (also devil or dragon) to reflect his nature. After his rebellion he no longer resided in heaven, but he apparently retained visiting rights, at least when summoned or invited. In the book of Job, when the sons of God (important angels) presented themselves before the Lord, Satan came with them. When the Lord asked him where he had come from, Satan replied, “from going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it”. He and the angels who joined him in this rebellion were no longer residents of heaven where God resides, but Satan retained right of access. The question God asked Satan about where he had been implies that he was no longer a resident of heaven, but was on earth, and out of the immediate presence of God in heaven. Revelation 12:4 does not state that Satan was cast out of heaven as a result of this rebellion, but that “his tail drags a third of the stars of heaven, and he casts them to the earth.” The angels who joined Satan’s rebellion seemingly lost their place in heaven as a result of their choice, and they are thereafter re123
ferred to as evil angels, or demons. This is similar to what happened to Adam in the Garden of Eden when he chose to “know” evil; he lost his access to God. From this act of rebellion we gather that angels have the ability to choose between good and evil. Satan and his demons apparently took up residence in the abyss (bottomless pit, Sheol, or hell) at this time, but they were given freedom to roam the earth and its atmosphere to do Satan's bidding. Regarding this Jude 1:6 says, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” These are not chains we are familiar with, but chains unto darkness, meaning confinement to the earth and its environs, with their abode being the abyss, or Hell. Satan’s big goal was to stop God’s plan for redemption of mankind, thus he stood before the woman ready to “devour” her child as soon as it was delivered. Matthew 2:16 documents Herod’s decree to kill all boys two-years old, and under, born in Bethlehem and in all its borders. Obviously, Herod was under Satan’s influence when he issued this edict. But God had foreseen this attempt to kill the baby Jesus, and He used the wise men to frustrate Herod’s evil plans. After Jesus’ work on earth was completed, He was caught up to God’s throne, as stated in this passage of scripture. Finally, when the time for Christ’s return to earth draws near, the woman flees into the wilderness, where God protects her for a period of 1,260 days. We recognize this as a reference to the flight of the remnant from Israel at the midpoint of the sevenyear period. Many people believe that that the term “wilderness” refers to an 124
area of Edom, or Idumea (present-day southwest Jordan) that was the location of the ancient fortress city, Petra. This area is highly inaccessible, being surrounded by mountains and cliffs, and thus it affords great protection against attacks by enemies. Another argument for this being the “wilderness” referred to is that Edom is one of the regions mentioned in Daniel 11:41, that will be spared from antichrist’s attack against the Holy Land, thus it will be a place of refuge outside the antichrist’s control. Revelation 12:7 records a war in heaven with Satan and his angels fighting against Michael and his angels. Satan and his demons are seemingly back in heaven after they had been cast out in Revelation 12:4. Revelation 12:8 makes it clear that Satan and his demons have no right of access to heaven after this second defeat, and Revelation 12:9 indicates that Satan is cast out with his angels in this war. The wording in Revelation 12:12-17, identifies the timing of this war with the antichrist’s persecution of the remnant, and Satan’s last acts of desperation, for he “has but a short time”. We have noted earlier that this is about the middle of the seven-year period, when the antichrist is resurrected from his deadly head wound, and he immediately initiates severe persecution. In an attempt to destroy the remnant, the antichrist apparently sends an army (flood) in pursuit, but God saves them by using an earthquake to open up a crevasse in the earth that “swallows” the antichrist’s hordes. We cannot leave our discussion of Revelation 12 without commenting on another related event that occurred after the crucifixion. Something happened to Satan's authority when Christ was crucified and went into the bowels 125
of the earth triumphing over Satan and his minions (Col. 2:14-15). We know from Ephesians 4:8-10, that Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth to lead captivity captive after His crucifixion. 1 Peter 3:18-20, indicates that after He died on the cross, Christ was quickened by the Holy Spirit to preach to the spirits in prison (a place of custody). These and other related scriptures indicate that Jesus preached to the saints from the OT (Heb. 11:13) located in that part of Hades referred to as Abraham’s Bosom (Lu. 16:22). After they received Him as their savior He led them to heaven to be joined by their fellow believers from the new covenant. Satan lost many of his prized prisoners at this time, and Christ apparently took the keys of hell and death from him, as well. We noted earlier that Christ had these keys when He appeared to John in Revelation 1:18. These keys were a symbol of authority. Their loss, as well as that of many of his most prized prisoners, was a severe blow to Satan’s prestige and authority..
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