posted on Oct, 28 2018 @ 03:01 PM
“We have an advocate in heaven, Jesus Christ the righteous”- 1 John ch2 v1
The message of the New Testament centres upon what God achieved in Christ, through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection..
All this was happening “on account of our sins”, for the sake of doing something about them.
And the promised result is the forgiveness of sin.
“Forgiveness” means that God is not holding our sins against us.
If we understand ourselves to be standing in court facing judgement, then forgiveness means that we are “not guilty” in the sight of God.
The concept of Satan belongs to this “court” metaphor.
Satan is our accuser in the place of judgement, which is the real significance of the Hebrew term “the adversary”.
Thus his function in Job is to “walk up and down the earth” and notice the faults of men, so I’ve suggested in the past that he represents
God’s awareness of our sin..
He stands ready to accuse the high priest Joshua (Zechariah ch3 v1).
In Revelation, he has a secondary function, as promoter of the tribulation. “The place where Satan dwells” is the place where the witnesses get
killed (ch3 v13). That is because persecution works by denouncing people to the authorities. So Satan becomes “the accuser of the brethren” in a
double sense; if he cannot accuse them in God’s court, he will accuse them in the imperial court instead.
But forgiveness defeats the accuser, absolutely.
We see that in the case of Joshua the high priest, when Satan is frustrated by the removal of Joshua’s iniquity.
Jesus sent out the seventy disciples, and when they returned, he said to them “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke ch10 v18). This
cannot be the “fall before the creation” described by Milton. For Jesus is describing what he saw during the mission, something which was
happening as a result of the mission.
That is to say, the seventy were proclaiming the forgiveness of sin, which was the central message of the mission of Jesus, and forgiveness has the
effect that Satan, the accuser, is neutralised. He falls from power.
That is also the meaning of the “fall from heaven” in Revelation ch12.
We learn this from the loud voice that speaks in heaven; “The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before
our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (vv10-11).
That is the clue which explains the opening verses of the chapter. The birth of the son, his ascension into heaven, the great battle in heaven, are
nothing less than a dramatized version of the doctrine of the atonement. The atonement means forgiveness, and forgiveness brings down Satan the
accuser from his place of power.
The rest of the chapter and the next chapter show him resenting what Christ has done, and contriving the great persecution of the church as a way of
getting his revenge.
If Satan is our accuser, then Christ is our defender, in the tribunal of God.
Jesus is called “our advocate in heaven”. John’s word PARAKLETOS and the Latin word ADVOCATUS have exactly the same root meaning- “someone
called to be by your side”, someone who stands by us in our time of difficulty.
I have read that the Jewish legal system of the time did not have professional defenders in court. The accused man’s defence was managed by a close
friend who arranged and questioned witnesses, the legal equivalent of the “best man” at a modern wedding. That might be another function of the
GOEL, the “nearest kinsman.”
In this case, the line of defence would be “I have already dealt with the sin of this man, so the prosecution has no case to answer.”
John’s gospel speaks of the Holy Spirit as a “second advocate” (ch14).
The first advocate helps to defend us in God’s court, the second advocate helps to defend us in the court of the world.
He defends us by helping us to speak when we are accused; “When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say,
for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew
The Spirit will also defend us by “convicting” the world on the subjects of sin, righteousness, and judgement (John ch16 v6). This is the
well-known legal technique of attacking the hostile witnesses.
But Christ himself is the final answer to both kinds of accusation.
The song of the twenty-four elders in Revelation gives praise to the Lamb because “thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God.”
That is what makes him “worthy to take the scroll and open the seals” (Revelation ch5 v9).
When the seals are broken in the next chapter, we discover that the scroll contains the future history through which God overcomes the persecuting
power, as described in the rest of Revelation.
In other words, the self-offering of the Lamb, saving us from judgement, completes the task by making it possible to save us from the tribulation.
In both senses, the power of the accuser has been “thrown down”.
In both cases, the adversary of the saints has been overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
We enter the new Jerusalem, finally, because we have “an advocate in heaven”.