I am going to tell you straight up that my understanding has changed as I attempted to write this. Two things stand out in my mind:
I went to my men’s bible study Sunday morning and talked for a short time about the act of writing. I told the leader that you have to work at not putting out garbage. And I do not wish to put out garbage here now.
The second thing that change my thinking was that I caught Dr. Ed Hinson on the Calvary Chapel radio station doing an hour-long overview of Revelation. Statements that he made about these passages must have been the work of the Holy Spirit.
If I leave this post almost the same as I started then maybe you can see my thought process and the point of change in thinking. I have tried to think this through and figure out how to explain what scripture is doing to us. All I was doing was to come up with conjecture that gets you no where and in trouble. Perhaps the best explanation for a passage is to compare what happens in there to what other prophetic authors of the old testament said by giving us accounts of the same things we read in Revelation.
An example might be:
And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”(Daniel 9:26-27 ESV)
Many have toiled over this in an effort to understand future events, and many have attributed the prince to Antiochus. While he did perform abominations in the temple, it is also an allusion to the beast of the near future.
So is it bogus information? No, it has a reason and purpose, and while it may be confusing at times, it is comparative and forth telling of future events.
One of the things I have said several times over is, nothing is in this book we call a bible by accident, everything has a purpose and reason. It is up to us to dig and find it out.
Much like a nurseryman who takes pride in the growth of his plants he is selling; we too should take some pride in the growth that we find in ourselves. Just don’t get your head swelled too much because Isaiah 6 is where you find the statement about how your righteousness is as filthy rags. In other words, even on your best day you should be undone by the Holiness of God.
God understands you better than you do and I suspect that he can handle you. Having a little warm fuzzy over gained understanding only encourages you to dig more; so keep on digging. It is a pearl of great price.
Now war arose in heaven.
Revelation 12:7-9 ESV Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, (8) but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. (9) And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
What have the previous verses of Revelation been talking about?
The dragon, which has various names, one of them being Satan, was anxiously awaiting the man-child (Jesus Christ) to be born so he could kill him. Those previous verses speak of the dragon being cast to earth and dragging the angels that followed down with him. Revelation 12:4 calls the fallen angels stars. We are not talking literal stars here. Stars are symbolic.
An attempt at logic without adequate understanding.
So what takes place first? – Obviously his being cast to earth. We first see the serpent in the third chapter of Genesis deceiving Eve.
Genesis 3:1-7 MKJV Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, Is it so that God has said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. (4) And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, (5) for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil. (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (7) And the eyes of both of them were opened. And they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made girdles for themselves.
Even here, in a state of death, God speaks prophetically to the woman about her offspring.
Genesis 3:15 ERV I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your children and her children will be enemies. You will bite her child’s foot, but he will crush your head.”
Jesus, the one John stated was the creative word that spoke all things into existence (John 1:1-5), said, I was there, I saw him thrown out of heaven (Luke 10:18).
Now war arose in heaven,
Heaven, in most everybody’s mind, is perfect and peaceful, but even those that reject Jesus Christ would tell you that the perfect place is a future event. That future can mean something that will happen immediately after death with no real idea of what happens, or an eventual home with Jesus and God.
I suppose I should admit that I built-in some ideas about what heavenly warfare looks like by reading several of Frank Peretti’s books. Angelic warfare in the heavenly realm, all around us, is a constant theme in many of his writings.
War means exactly that, a pitched battle. I do not know how many angels Michael had fighting on his side but we understand that the dragon had a third with him. Here in Revelation 12 they are referred to as stars.
When you look up the word for heaven it conveys pretty much what you might think of when someone mentions heaven.
Thayer’s definiton: 1) the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it. 1a) the universe, the world. 1b) the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced.
War, it must have been a frightful sight.
I used to listen occasionally to the Bible Answer Man radio program. (I had a job that required a lot of driving.)
The show had noble beginnings and informed people about how to deal with the known cults, but it deteriorated into a show that spent most of its time berating the heresies in every aspect of Christianity that varied from the hosts. One of his repeated tirades centered on the idea that Jesus became sin, died, and during the time between his death and resurrection he went into the heavens and poured out his blood on the heavenly utensils. Going callers and church leaders with an angry vigor each day over this. The hosts would say, God would not bring himself down to that level of degradation.
Why would Jesus have to pour out his blood on the heavenly altar and utensils?
Because there had been an attempted takeover in heaven, and the heavenly pattern for the temple had been abominated as a result of the insurrection.
What had Jesus been describing to John just before this description of heavenly battle?
The dragon, on earth, ready to consume the woman’s child.
So what took place first; the battle in heaven, or the dragons appearance on earth, waiting to consume the man-child?
His being thrown out of heaven.
Revelation 12:9 describes him as a dragon and several other things, but where is the first place we see the dragon?
In the garden deceiving Eve.
Genesis 3:1 CJB Now the serpent was more crafty than any wild animal which Adonai, God, had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You are not to eat from any tree in the garden’?”
But now we have a problem.
Revelation 12:8-9 CJB But it was not strong enough to win, so that there was no longer any place for them in heaven. (9) The great dragon was thrown out, that ancient serpent, also known as the Devil and Satan [the Adversary], the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.
Were there two battles or one?
If God has to battle Satan again, then doesn’t that imply that God is not enough? The idea that God’s actions are enough take a huge role in Christ rising from the dead. His death on the cross and his resurrection are central to our belief in everything else. An example would be to look at the hope we have in Christ.
What are we hoping in?
Salvation, but from what? The wrath that is to come. That would be the seven years of wrath to be poured out on the earth. We have Jesus word on the subject as he referenced Noah and Lot as examples of this salvation.
So then what is the passage referring to when it says,
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Now have come God’s victory, power and kingship, and the authority of his Messiah; because the Accuser of our brothers, who accuses them day and night before God, has been thrown out!” (Revelation 12:10 CJB)
If God had him thrown out, after an intense battle, then why do we see Satan interacting with God in the book of Job. Look at it.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.(Job 1:6-12 NIV)
We see Satan in heaven accusing Job once again in chapter 2 of Job.
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. (Job 2:1-7 NIV)
There is no denying that Satan continued to have access to God, even after an apparent, life altering defeat.
I believe it was Ed Hinson, on the Calvary Chapel Channel, that said this verse demonstrates a future event in which Satan finally got locked out of heaven, and I believe he indicated that the end of his access occurs at the mid-point of the seven-year period.
Can we define when this happened or when it will happen.? Yes, but we have to jump ahead in the chapter to gain more clarity.
Following a chronological approach, we make the assumption that we are at the end of time, or at least near it. When Christ returns to end the warfare we know that Satan gets bound for one thousand years. The fact that he is bound plays strongly in God’s statement, “now is the accuser of the brethren cast out.”
Dr. Ed Hinson, stated that Satan’s expulsion happens at the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation.
Pay attention to the chronology of these passages:
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. (Revelation 12:13-15 ESV)
The woman is surviving Israel. She escapes into the wilderness for three and one half years. At some point during this time in hiding the serpent tries to sweep Israel away with a flood. This may be very literal, but then I really cannot be sure.
What is the impact of this timing? In other words, what is happening at this point. If you are a student of end times events then you should already have a clue, but I will recap anyway.
The beast who made the seven-year treaty with Israel breaks the treaty.
That ruler will have a firm agreement with many people for seven years, and when half this time is past, he will put an end to sacrifices and offerings. The Awful Horror will be placed on the highest point of the Temple and will remain there until the one who put it there meets the end which God has prepared for him.” (Daniel 9:27 GNB)
- The abomination is set up in the temple.
Those remaining in Israel need to flee.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (Matthew 24:15-16 KJV)
- The two witnesses will have been taken up into heaven.
The false prophet comes on the scene. There is a good chance he is already on the scene but not declared. Islamic prophecies proclaim that this man will be the enforcer of sharia, therefore an escalation in the beheading of saints should rapidly increase. Doesn’t that aspect show that there are still brethren for Satan to accuse?
(I have re-thought this since writing it.) When Christ returns to earth to end the warfare here on earth it seems to be quick and definitive, but nothing is said of warfare in heaven.
Jumping ahead to Revelation 12:13, it states, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the man-child.” This time Satan is not awaiting the child but going directly after the one that brought Christ into the world. If you think about it, hasn’t attempting to destroy the lineage of Christ been Satan’s theme since Israels inception?
You have just watched me struggle through the process of understanding. Yeah I know, some would say you do not understand anything, but what I do understand that God is passionately in love with people and desires that all be saved. I happen to be one of them.
I, like many, have preconceived ideas, ideas that don’t hold water when held up to the truth of God’s word. There is only one way to cure that and that is to dive into God’s word for yourself. The Apostle Paul praised the Bereans because they took it upon themselves to study and find out if what Paul said was true, and it was.
I had never even thought about the possibility that Satan had been cast out of heaven twice, because I have always tended to accept things I heard as more black and white. While being able to think of God and his Word as rigid and unchangeable seems ideal, there are many things in scripture that are not so clear-cut.
A couple of examples:
Our tendency to read the bible as a chronological time-line, when it is clearly not. Oh sure, there is a time-line but details are spread throughout scripture by different authors.
And places where scripture says, “all Israel came before ….” The book of Daniel is one of those places where even though King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that everyone bow before his statue, Daniel was not there and therefore did not bow, nor suffered being thrown into the fire with his companions.
Does this lack of rigidity diminish God’s integrity, or his word at all?
No!, it merely demonstrates the expressive way humans have conveyed many of God’s dealings with man.
To tell that Jesus submitted to the cross, died and rose again is not conjecture; it is verifiable, historic fact. God and his word is trustworthy. Perhaps things like Satan’s being cast out needs to be clarified so that people can have a confidence and greater understanding of the depth of God’s word.
Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.” It is not a lie nor is it some random babble. It is the only path to the life promised to those who follow after him.
Father, receive me, a sinner covered by the blood of your son Jesus. Jesus come into my life and be my life. Change me, use me, and have your way with me. Fill me with your love, the love that I have seen in your eyes. I believe in the hope of life you have for me and a life with you in eternity. In Jesus name.
- And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan… 123112 (carrlanebaptist1988.wordpress.com)
- All Fallen Angels Are Devils: in Christ You Have the Victory (raptureimminent.wordpress.com)