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What Does the Bible Say About..Revelation 12?

Hi. I have read all of your responses concerning Satan being in heaven and then allegedly being cast out of heaven. I believe that Satan was not known as Lucifer before as some people believe. I have to say though that growing up I was taught that Lucifer was a/or the most beautiful angel and that because of his pride he tried to overthrow God and that's when God cast him out of heaven along with a one-third of his angels who were supposedly along with his plan to overthrow God. I haven't found that story in the Bible. Lucifer, I know is mentioned in the Bible one time, in Isaiah 14:12-14, and through research have found it to be erroneous to refer that to be Satan. It's referring to the king of Babylon. I know that in Luke 10:18 it says that Jesus beheld Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. It doesn't say he was cast out or if anyone cast him out, but in Revelations 12:7-10 it says that the beast of Satan was cast out of heaven or thrown out of heaven when you mentioned that he wasn't. In verse 5 of that same chapter it says that Satan or the dragon took a boy and took him to God and placed on his throne. After that happened was when the "war broke out... between Michael and his angels were fighting against the dragon and it's angels." What I want to know is if Satan was ever in heaven or if he was simply created by God and what is your interpretation of Revelation 12 in relation to Satan and his origin and why he exists? Thank you.

Answer

Itís nice to see that somebody else is astute enough to recognize that the passage in Isaiah is not about Satan. The story of Satan and the war in heaven, as well as the association of the name Lucifer with Satan, come from Miltonís ďParadise Lost.Ē Milton wrote a pretty good story, but it was only very loosely based on scripture. (Actually, it is more scripturally accurate than many of the stories these days about the end of the world.) The whole war in heaven and Satan ruling in hell thing was really speculation on his part. It may have been based on medieval twisting the Bible as well.

I know that there was a time that Satan was allowed to come before the throne of God. Read the first two chapters of the book of Job. Then there is that troublesome passage in Luke that you mention. I donít know what happened when Satan fell (or was caused to fall) from heaven. I know it was sudden, because Jesus says it was like lightning. The point he seems to have been making was that what the disciples had seen (demons obeying them) was to be expected since he had been there when Satan fell from heaven. The implication is that he had something to do with that fall. We may never know the exact details until we get to heaven ourselves.

Revelation 12 is not easy to understand. There are some things that seem out of place. Nevertheless, here is how I see it. First we have to look at the symbols involved. Usually in the Revelation a woman, when presented in a positive light, represents the followers of Christ (normally the church). The beast with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns always represents the Roman Empire. Here, though it is also called the slanderer (Devil) and adversary (Satan), perhaps because Rome was the figurative representative of Satan. Three and a half (days, or in this case years), here called 1,260 days, stands in the Revelation (chapter 11 and here) and Daniel (12:7) for a short time of persecution of Godís people.

Keeping those symbols in mind, it appears that this chapter is about the birth and life of Jesus, and the beginning of the church. The woman may represent Judaism, from whom Jesus was a child born who was to rule from heaven. He and the Jews were under the Roman rule for a short time. (Note that three and a half years could also represent the roughly three and a half decades Jesus lived on earth.) After the church began, the Roman government persecuted it for a short time (roughly three and a half centuries). This was more than just a physical persecution. It was a spiritual war in heaven.

The key verses that indicate to me that this is talking about the Roman persecution of the church, besides the reference to the beast, are verses 10-11. ďAnd 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.Ē In saying now salvation and the kingdom are come, he is clearly talking about the early church. Salvation came through the blood of Jesus, and the kingdom is the church. Further, they overcame Satan through the blood of Jesus (the lamb), and their testimony (preaching), and willingness to die a martyrís death. This is one of the best descriptions of the growth of the church I find in scripture.

You made reference to the beast placing the child on the throne. The passage does not say that. It says the beast wanted to destroy the child, but the child was placed on the throne anyway. That is a clear description of the life of Jesus. When he was two years old Satan sought to slay him. When he was thirty Satan sought to tempt him. About three years later Satan no doubt thought he had devoured the child when the Romans crucified him. Three days later he found out how mistaken he was.

What is the origin of Satan? I donít know. The Bible doesnít say. Why does he exist; what is his purpose? As far as he is concerned, it is the destruction of humanity. ďBe sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.Ē (1 Peter 5:8)