Satan Cast Out of Heaven
Revelation 12, Part 2
This event - Satan being cast out of heaven, as mentioned on page 1 of this study - is referred to several times in chapter 12. His fall began with a war in heaven:
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels," (Rev 12:7)
Verse 7 begins a flashback scene because it has Satan and his angels back in heaven. Remember, the deceived angels and Satan were cast out in verse 4. Here it is useful to look at a diagram that lays out the sequence and setting of events of chapter 12:
The narrative again recounts the conflict in heaven and Satan being cast out of heaven to the earth and then, as we will see, the rest of the chapter again goes over the persecution of the woman and her fleeing into the wilderness.
Michael is the name used for Jesus especially when He is pictured in conflict with Satan. The name means "who is like God" and it is both a declaration that Michael is like God and a challenging question "who is like God?" (A question especially directed at Satan who is not at all like God but who declared "I will be like the most High" - Isa 14:14) Jesus is also referred to once as Michael the archangel (Jude 1:9) a reference to His being the head of the angels.
The word "war" in this verse is interesting. It is from the Greek word "polemos" (Strong's #4171) from which is derived the word "polemic" which means a controversial discussion and, especially in theology, the "the art of controversial discussion." This war was not fought with swords or guns and bloodshed and death. It was a war of ideology.
"And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Rev 12:8-9)
Satan and his angels lost their places, or positions, in heaven. There was a fall from heaven to earth already described in verse 4. Is it possible that Satan was cast out of heaven more than once? Was there was more than one fall or was that fall was in stages? What are the possibilities? The fall could include the following stages:
1. Loss of position. Remember, Satan, as Lucifer (means "light bearer") was the covering cherub next to the throne of God:
"By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire." (Eze 28:16)
"And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof." (Exo 25:19)
2. Loss of access to heaven as the rebellion progressed. We know that after Satan was cast out of heaven, he still had access there at least to the time when
the events recounted in Job chapter 1
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them." (Job 1:6)
3. Loss of sympathy of heavenly beings at the time of the cross. It seems that Satan, through his lies, convinced a third of the angels to join his rebellion. He may have had some influence over the remaining angels or at least put questions in their minds regarding his charges against God. Verse 10 seems to connect to the cross and, at this point, with Satan's malignity against the Son of God so obviously manifest, any angels with remaining ties of sympathy with Satan probably severed them. Here is a verse which suggests that possibility:
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Col 1:19,20)
Is Satan's fall also linked to the cross in this passage in Colossians?
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Col 2:14-15)
The word "spoiled" is from the Greek "apekduomai" (Strongs: G554) which is used twice in the New Testament, the other use being:
"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off <554> the old man with his deeds;" (Col 3:9)
It has the meanings:
1) wholly put off from one's self
1a) denoting separation from what is put off
2) wholly to strip off for one's self (for one's own advantage)
3) despoil, disarm
Note, from the context of the passage in Colossians 2, how closely this spoiling is connected with the cross. But also note how that Rev 12:8-9 is connected with verse 10 which talks about the coming of God's kingdom.
Here is an interesting question. We konw that Satan was cast out of heaven but is his fall complete even now? Has he no opportunity for repentance? Why couldn't Satan repent? The argument has been discussed this way. Since it is true that:
"... the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ..." (Rom 2:4)
and Satan (then Lucifer), living in heaven before his fall, was fully exposed to the presence, love and character of God there was no further, no greater revelation of that goodness to induce him to repent.
However, Jesus said:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
Is it possible (here is the new thought) that reconciliation was available even after Satan was cast out of heaven? Even up to the cross, since that was, of course, the greatest revelation of the love of God - it had never been seen before.
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32)
We don't know the answer but Satan, very obviously, did not repent then or since. What we do know is that God will go the extra mile and far beyond when it comes to forgiveness. Just some thoughts.
"And 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." (Rev 12:10)
This verse sounds much like what Jesus said in reference to the time of His death:
"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)
This similarity between John 12:31-32 and Revelation 12:10 is the reason I identify verse 10 with the crucifixion in the chart above. Note that in verse 32 the word "men" is supplied. When it says "all," it really means all - all the people of the earth and all the beings in heaven and throughout the universe. This ultimate demonstration of God's love may have even tugged at Satan's heart. However, he resisted and went on to persecute Jesus' followers and continue his rebellion to this day.
His reaction to the cross and involvement in it would have resulted in him being cast out from having any sympathy among heavenly beings (if he still had any). They have rejected his side of the debate, seeing what he did to Jesus.
"Now is come ... the kingdom of our God"
We are told to pray "Thy kingdom come" There is a sense in which the kingdom of God has not yet come - the Kingdom of grace is here but not the kingdom of glory. Although Jesus said this (Matthew 6:10 and Luke 11:2) before the cross, Matthew and Luke wrote it years later and it comes to us as something to pray for now and in the future. If we are to pray that it come, it is not here yet.
Daniel's prophecies have something to say about God setting up His kingdom:
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Dan 2:44)
You don't set up something that is already set up, already in place.
"Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." (Dan 2:35)
This is not referring to the Second Coming. The stone is cut out from a mountain, which typically represents a church in scripture but that is another study. And Jesus does not fill the whole earth at His Second Coming; in fact, we understand that He does not even touch the earth.
"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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thess 4:16-17)
Here are more verses about the kingdom being taken from earthly powers:
"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." (Dan 7:17-18)
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 11:15)
"Now is come ... the power of his Christ" (v10). Isn't this referring to the power of Christ being displayed through His people, the 144,000 who have been anointed as was Isaiah (Isaiah chapter 6)?
"And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:" (Rev 2:26)
These things happened for or because "the accuser of our brethren is cast down." All the things listed seem to happen as a result of Satan's fall.
reporting and analysing world events related to prophecy.
The Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai
) whether we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi
) is by our choice.
God always forgives!