posted on May, 30 2010 @ 01:21 PM
I want to offer some thoughts on Revelation ch12 vv 7-11
This is about the downfall of "the great dragon", alias "the ancient serpent", alias the Devil, alias Satan, alias
"the deceiver of the whole world", alias "the accuser of the brethren".
I'm going to be asking the question; when. and how, did Satan fall from heaven?
We can find one version of the story in Paradise Lost.
We learn about the great rebellion before the foundation of the world.
We learn about the hard-fought battles in heaven, and how Satan's force was driven off the edge of Heaven and fell into the Abyss;
"Him the Almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky
With hideous ruin and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms".
Paradise Lost may well be the greatest poem of its length in the English language.
Nevertheless, Paradise Lost is not scripture.
Possible Biblical parallels for the event;
There's a frequently quoted source in Isaiah ch14 v12;
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn"- traditionally quoted in the "Lucifer, son of the morning" translation.
This really says nothing, though, about the timing of the event. The prophet is not talking about the past, necessarily, but foretelling what people
will be able to say at some point in the future.
In any case, the verse is clearly labelled in the context as part of the prophet's taunt against Babylon.
There's a less ambiguous example in Luke's gospel. This comes out of the episode of the seventy disciples, chosen by Jesus and sent out ahead of
him. They return from the mission "with joy", telling him that "even the demons are subject to us in your name."
His immediate response to this report is the declaration "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven"- Luke ch10 vv17-18
We need to understand that claim in a way that fits the context; that is, as a response to what his disciples have just told him.
If we assume that he's describing a Milton-style fall "before the creation of the world", then it's not easy to make sense of the reference as
part of the conversation. It seems to be a little "off-topic", as they say in these parts.
It would make much more sense if there were some kind of connection between the Fall itself and the success they've been reporting, if he was
describing the cause (or perhaps the effect) of their success in the mission field. That would be possible if the phrase "fall from heaven" could be
understood as referring to a degree of fall from power.
How can Satan fall from power?
Well, where does his power come from, in the first place?
The name "Satan" come from the Hebrew phrase meaning "The Adversary".
It's also significant that he's described in Revelation ch12 as "the Accuser of the brethren".
Part of the Jewish understanding of Satan is that it's his function, as it were, to make our sins known to God, and draw them to his attention.
That makes him the kind of "Adversary" who would stand against us in a court of law.
That seems to be what he's doing in Job, walking up and down the earth, and reporting back to the presence of God (he seems to have forgotten about
any previous "expulsion", and nobody bothers to remind him).
That's certainly what he's doing in Zechariah ch3.
Joshua the high priest stands in the presence of God.
Satan stands at his right hand to accuse him.
The intended accusation is certainly not a false accusation, because Joshua's iniquity is clearly visible, symbolised by his filthy garments.
In this episode, we can see a picture of the power which an Accuser can hold over humanity. It is not much different from that of an informant or a
Effectively, the power is based upon the possession of damaging information about human Sin.
Or, to be exact, it is based on the existence of human Sin, about which damaging information can be possessed.
The best way to deal with a blackmailer is to make his information useless.
That is exactly what happens in Zechariah ch3.
The Lord says to Joshua, "Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you"-Zechariah ch3 v4.
The filthy garments are removed, and replaced by clean ones. Satan's evidence has been taken away from him- he stands rebuked and silenced.
When you take away the Sin, you necessarily take away the power of the Accuser.
It's time now to turn to Revelation ch12, and see what it tells us about the downfall of Satan, and the way "the Accuser of the brethren" was
The chapter begins with a "great portent" seen in heaven, a woman giving birth to a child who is to "rule the nations with a rod of iron" (I
looked at the "woman in heaven" in my previous thread). The child is born and then "caught up to God and to his throne". The defeat and downfall
of Satan follows immediately afterwards.
This goes a long way towards answering at least one of my original questions; the downfall of Satan occurs in the immediate context of the birth and
ascension of Christ himself.
We are then told by a loud voice from heaven that the brethren have conquered him "by the blood of the Lamb".
The meaning of this phrase is well-understood by reference to the rest of the New Testament. "The Lamb" is a title given to Christ himself, in this
book and in John's gospel, because of his death. "The blood of the Lamb" is a more specific reference to the same death.
So an Accuser who has been conquered "by the blood of the Lamb" has been conquered by the fact that Christ died on the cross.
The key to his defeat, as in Zechariah ch3, is the removal of Sin. We are told elsewhere that the Lamb of God "takes away the Sin of the world"
(John ch1 v29).
And it is, of course, the central teaching of the New Testament that his death- his blood- was the means of achieving it.
"We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses." -Ephesians ch1 v7
And, as I said before- when you take away Sin , you necessarily take awy the power of an Accuser.
So the brethren conquered the Accuser "by the blood of the Lamb"- they destroyed his power over their own lives by accepting the offered
They also conquered him "by the word of their testimony"- they were continuing to destroy his power over others by spreading the news of the offered
forgiveness, even if it brought danger to themselves "for they loved not their lives even unto death".
The real meaning of the "battle in heaven", then, is what happened on the cross.
And the real meaning of the "fall from heaven" is that forgiveness became available because of what haopoened on the cross.
And that was how "the salvation and the power and the kingdom" of God and his Christ (v10) came into the world.
So, whatever Milton says, the story of the battle in heaven and the "Great Fall" is really nothing more- and nothing less- than a dramatised version
of the doctrine of the Atonement.
In my previous thread, I described this chapter as a "flashback", interrupting the main flow of the story. How does it fit into the the plan of
Firstly, it shows us the root of the apparent animosity of the powers of evil towards the followers of Christ, evident all through this book. That is
to be understood as a reaction to Satan's "downfall".
But it also shows us the root of the power which defends them. It is not a coincidence that the "slain Lamb", in ch5, was responsible for setting
these saving events in motion. The power which defends the persecuted church in this book is based on the same power which originally defeated those
ultimate enemies, Sin and Death.
The Atonement would thus be the driving force at the heart of the Revelation, just as it is the driving force of the rest of the New Testament.
[edit on 30-5-2010 by DISRAELI]