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    Posted by Hello Bible on Monday, February 6, 2017
   

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Displaying items by tag: Fall of Satan

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

 

PART 1

 

*** Background ***: The text in Revelation 12:1-6 shows how Satan wanted to destroy Jesus during His time as a man time on Earth. Through the actions of different people, Satan tried to attack Christ several times: starting when He was a baby (Matthew 2:16), and finally through a chain of events that started with Judas' betrayal (Matthew 26:14-16). Even though this trail of events did lead to Christ’s death on the cross, His death was not a result of human action. Hanging Him on a cross was a human decision, but Jesus said this about His own death: "Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (John 10:17-18). The Jewish leaders and Roman authorities crucified Jesus, but Jesus chose to die for our transgressions.

In Revelation 12:13-17, we see how Satan wanted to destroy the woman (the church). We see a pattern shift. Satan was no longer after the child at that point. This implies that Heaven, where the Child had been taken to, had become off limits to Satan. Let's look for a moment at Satan's attack strategies on Earth. We can see three distinct moments in his plan:

1) Preventing the woman from being faithful and making it difficult for her to give birth to the child (events from creation to Christ’s birth);

2) Attacking the child (events during Jesus' time on Earth);

3) Attacking the woman (events after Jesus' resurrection and ascension).

More specifically, Satan first deceived the whole planet (Adam and Eve). Then he went on to deceive the nations and lead people to idolatry (as seen in most stories of the Old Testament). When the Messiah was born, Satan moved on to attack Christ directly, through a decree to kill all babies younger than 2 years old. Later, he tempted Christ in the desert, trying to cause Jesus to sin. And we see other examples of attacks against Christ described in the Bible as well. After Christ died, resurrected, and ascended, Satan moved on to attack the nations, and eventually was able to deceive the entire world (Revelation 12:9, and the activities seen in Revelation 13 and Revelation 17).

But why did Satan become so furious with the woman? In phases 1 and 2, the woman was just a casualty of war. The main focus, up to that point had been on the child. Something must have happened to cause this shift. And that is exactly what Revelation 12:7-12 is explaining. In fact, the section describing the persecution of the woman starts out by stating what triggered this persecution: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the male child." (Revelation 12:13). This verse tells us what triggered the persecution, but does not tell us why, how or when the casting down happened.

*** When was Satan Cast down from Heaven? ***: the Bible mentions two different moments when Satan was removed from Heaven.

The first time: The first moment was when he lost his privileges as a celestial worker. What does that even mean? Well, let's imagine Heaven before Lucifer became Satan. Heavenly beings surrounded the throne of God. The angelic choir was singing praises to God. Creation plans were being prepared for new worlds, galaxies, and creatures. Heaven was a society based on love. Every being was free to choose to love God as well as the other beings. Yet they all chose to love selflessly. One day, one of the angels saw all this love coming his way, and for a moment he thought how deserving he was to receive all that attention. He looked at God's position and thought he was good enough to be promoted to a status greater than that of an angel. He told himself: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the farthest sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:13-14). Lucifer wanted to be like God.

There was one big problem in Lucifer's plan. That position in Heaven was already filled by Michael. The name Michael comes from the Hebrew Mikha'el, which means 'who is like God'. Michael is mentioned a few times in the Bible. He is the leader of God's Heavenly army (Revelation 12:7), and is described as the archangel (Jude 1:9), one of the chief princes (Daniel 10:13), a prince (Daniel 10:21), and "the great prince which stands for the children of your people" (Daniel 12:1). The word archangel means the 'chief messenger', or the 'leader of the messengers'. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us an important information about Jesus' Second Coming: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first". In this verse, we see that Jesus is the one with the voice of the archangel. He is the leader of the angelic host. Note that Michael is never referred to as an angel but as the leader of the angels. Many times in the Old Testament, God's is referred to as Lord of Hosts (few examples: Isaiah 28:29; Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 37:16 - the NIV translates the expression as Lord almighty). God is the leader of His armies, be them angelic or human. We saw in Revelation 7:4 (study #47) how His people on Earth was prepared to fight the spiritual battles against the enemy army (which was described in Revelation 9:16-17). Michael is another title Jesus has as the defender of the Truth.

We read about the fall of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12: "How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations!" The book of Isaiah was written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. Jesus Himself mentions the initial fall of His enemy: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18). This initial fall happened sometime before Eve listened to the serpent's lies. The Bible tells us that the serpent was Satan (Revelation 12:9; 20:2).

Let's go back to what happened in Heaven, when Lucifer started to wish he was the ruler of the Universe. Try to imagine the disruption that this thought generated. He could never take down the Lord of Hosts, the Chief of the angels, without an army of his own. Lucifer needed supporters. He started spreading his lies about how God is unfair, preventing His creation from becoming like God. This is exactly the strategy he used with Eve: "And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4-5). In other words, Satan accused God of being a liar by stating that Eve would really die if she disobeyed. Also, he implied that God was trying to prevent her from becoming like God.

The Bible tells us that Lucifer was able to deceive many angels. Revelation 12:4 tells us that the dragon was able to take with him one-third of the angels (symbolized by the word 'stars'). After the dragon got his army, he was cast down from Heaven. He then placed himself in front of the woman, waiting for the child to be born: "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born." (Revelation 12:4). This passage is a reference to Satan's first casting down of Heaven. He was removed from Heaven because he no longer agreed with how God was running His society. Lucifer could no longer continue to work or live in Heaven. Lucifer openly rebelled against the Heavenly way of life. In essence, Lucifer was thrown out of Heaven when he decided not to follow, love or respect God anymore.

Lucifer turned his attention to Earth and brought his lies over with him. Adam and Eve had just been created and God had just given them dominion over the planet (Genesis 1:26,28). When Adam and Eve sinned, by choosing to follow the serpent's lies, they handed that dominion over to Satan, and so, Satan became the ruler of this planet. Jesus referred to Satan as the ruler (or prince) of this world (John 12:31; John 14:30, John 16:11).

As the new ruler of Earth, Satan still had access to Heavenly meetings. We see in the Bible some examples of Satan's new role. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." (Job 1:6-7). Another instance is seen in Zachariah 3:1-2: "And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke you, O Satan; even the LORD that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?"

Revelation 12:4 refers to the first moment when Lucifer quit working for God and was sent out of Heaven. At that point, he started working for himself and became Earth's representative.

The second time: Once Christ sealed the fate of sin with His death on the cross, Satan lost his dominion over the planet. Satan had been trying to avoid this at all costs. He even tempted Jesus in the desert, offering Him an apparent way out of having to die in order to regain the rulership over the Earth. "Again, the devil took him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said unto him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:8-9). Jesus' answer to Satan pinpoints exactly Satan's ultimate goal (Matthew 4:10). Satan wants to be worshipped. If he was able to get the One who is like God to worship him, then his attack against the male child would have succeeded.

Speaking about His death, Jesus said: "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:31-32). Mankind would be saved by coming to Jesus. We are saved because of His sacrifice. At the same time, Jesus' death cut Satan completely out of the Heavenly picture. Satan no longer was the representative of Earth. Jesus became our ruler, and He is now the One who represents us in the Heavenly courts. Satan has absolutely no chance of reaching his goal of universal domination. When Christ ascended to Heaven, He sat down on the throne of God (Revelation 5:7, Revelation 3:21), the very place Satan had coveted for so long. The section about the child in Revelation 12:5 ends with the child being taken up to Heaven. Revelation 12:7 picks up from that point, telling us what happened in Heaven before Satan started to persecute the woman.

*** Overview ***: Satan had a plan of attack from the moment he realized he wanted to ascend to the throne of God. By starting his rebellious war against God, he was no longer able to live and work in Heaven as one of the angels of the Lord. Lucifer became Satan, the enemy of God, and was cast down from Heaven. Satan continued his attack by targeting God’s creation. He managed to deceive Adam and Eve, and generations that followed. When the promise of a messiah was given to Adam and Eve, Satan began to work even harder to achieve his goal of becoming like God. He was going to destroy the One who actually is like God, Jesus. He attempted to win against Jesus on different occasions and failed every single time. Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension sealed Satan’s fate once and for all, removing any possibility of victory against God’s authority. Jesus’ assertion to God’s throne meant that Satan had lost his rulership over Earth. Satan had no longer a reason to participate in any meetings in Heaven. There was no longer a place in Heaven for him (Revelation 12:8). We also have a choice today. We have the freedom to choose who we want to serve, God or Satan. Christ is now our representative. He will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15), and He invites us with open arms to join the winning side. Satan is a defeated enemy.

1  And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

2  And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

3  And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

 

Part 1 - Revelation 9:1-3

 

*** Star fell from Heaven ***: We saw the star that fell from Heaven when we talked about the third trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11). In study #54, we saw that the star that fell from Heaven was Satan. He was known as Lucifer before he was cast out of Heaven. We read about his fall in Isaiah 14:12-21. “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). Based on Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 9:11, we can see that the star that fell from Heaven is also identified as the angel of the bottomless pit (or the abyss, depending on the translation). His fall happened prior to the sounding of the trumpets. In the third trumpet, the fallen star was called Wormwood, and it poisoned the original message of the Gospel (symbolized by the term ‘waters’). It mixed the truth with false teachings and gave that mix for people to drink. The poisonous waters caused the spiritual death of many.

*** The key to the bottomless pit ***: Before we talk about the key, we need to understand what that the abyss (or bottomless pit) is in the first place. The Greek expression used here is “phreatos tēs abyssou”. It means the pit of the abyss.The word abyss is also found in Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The Hebrew word translated as “deep” is the word ṯə-hō-wm, which also means sea and abyss. We see the word ṯə-hō-wm being used during the account of the Flood. The Bible says that the “all the fountains of the great deep [were] broken” (Genesis 7:11, see also Genesis 8:2). These are not the only instances where the word abyss is used. It was used to describe a place of emptiness and desolation (Jeremiah 4:23-30). A similar concept is found in Ezekiel 26:19, with the word void; and in Isaiah 24:21-23, with the word dungeon, referring to the prison where the rebellious hosts of Heaven and kings of the earth will be confined before their punishment.

Now, let’s talk about the key to this place. The key is the instrument that can open or close the abyss. By itself, any key is just an object. Its importance comes from knowing who has it and can use it. ‘Key’ is a symbol of authority and control. We read in the New Testament, that Jesus is the One with the power to send demonic forces to the abyss. One time, Jesus cast many demons out of one man (Luke 8:26-39). They were subject to Jesus’ command to leave that man. The power of God was, and still is, greater than the grip that fallen angels may have over people. The demons begged Jesus not to “command them to go out into the abyss” (Luke 8:31). Jesus not only had the power to order them out of the man but also to order them to go to the abyss. Jesus is the one who has the keys to the bottomless pit. Jesus is also the One with the keys to death and the graves (Revelation 1:18, please see study #10).

The word abyss is a symbol for the ability that God has to confine and restrict the evil angels while they await their judgment. It is more important that we understand this concept of the abyss as the power that God has over them, than a physical place or underground cavern where they gather. The point here is that God is in control (Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:1-3). They cannot move about, unless God allows them to. Revelation 9:1-3 tell us that Satan was given permission to move out of the abyss, and initiate his work of covering the Earth with his smoke. At first, this action may sound very strange. The fact is we don’t understand all that God understands of the situation we are in. Just as when God gave Satan permission to test Job (Job 1:6-12), He is giving Satan permission to prepare his attacks on Earth. Job came out of his experience with a much stronger relationship with God and a with a more invigorated trust in the Lord. In the same way, the enemy’s attacks will not knock people off the path to Eternity if they keep their truth entirely on God, even when they don’t understand what is going on.

*** Smoke came out of the pit, and darkened the sun and the air ***: As soon as Satan was permitted to act, a series of symbols is used to tell us what happened next. The first symbol is smoke, which came out of the pit of the abyss. John describes this smoke as the one that comes out of a furnace. In the Old Testament the term “smoke of a furnace” appears in the description of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 19:28), and when the Lord descended on mount Sinai, to give Moses the 10 Commandments (Exodus 19:18).The end of the verse in Revelation 9:2, we see that the smoke coming out of the pit is responsible for darkening the sun and the air. Unlike the darkness in the fourth trumpet, which was partial and affecting one-third of the celestial bodies, the darkness seen in the fifth trumpet are not measured. We have the impression that the darkness is complete. Even the air is affected. This type of darkness reminds us of the darkness described in the 9th Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:21). At this point in the verse in Revelation, we still don’t know what the smoke is all about. We only know its effect: it causes darkness on the Earth.

*** Locusts came out of the smoke ***: The fact that the darkness of Revelation 9:2 also affects the air, is not a coincidence. The reason for that becomes clear in the next verse: out of the pit of the abyss, came flying a cloud of locusts. Going back to the Egyptian plagues, we see the plague of locusts (Exodus 10:1-20), which came right before the plague of darkness that we just talked about. During the plague of the locusts, the land of Egypt was also covered with darkness (Exodus 10:15). Darkness and locusts are symbols of God’s judgments (Joel 1:1-12). The consequence of rejecting light is spiritual darkness (John 3:18-21).

*** Locusts with scorpion power ***: The locusts coming out of the pit weren’t ordinary locusts.They received power to be like scorpions. Here we have, once again, the expression “received power”. These locusts were permitted to do their locust work carrying scorpion abilities. They seem to be on a deadly mission. The nature of this scene is very symbolic. This is accentuated by the fact that these locusts behave in a manner different from what would be expected naturally. But this will be more clear in the next studies.

*** Overview ***: The bottomless pit, or abyss, is the circumstances by which the fallen angels are restricted and bound under the power of God. They are not allowed to act and obliterate humanity. God’s respect for human free will is so profound that He allows people to choose who and what they want to believe in. Sometimes, He allows for the demonic forces to act. People will have to make a choice. Do they want to believe in the contaminated waters and in the cloud of locusts and, at the same time, reject the Light of Life? Or do they want to receive Christ in their lives, and follow God’s truth? The first three verses of the fifth trumpet may seem frightening. But the main point we must take from this section, is that God is the one in control of the situation. He knows how much to limit the actions of these fallen angels that are swarming out of restriction. We must keep the story of Job in mind, and remember that if we are faithful, our salvation is guaranteed. We may not understand God’s methods. We may not even understand God but we can trust in His power and holiness. We can be assured that everything He does is with the intention to make us know He is God.

   
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