Saturday, May 8, 2010

Satan and his Angels Hurled Down from Heaven

“The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled down to the earth, and his angels with him.”

~Revelation 12:9 (NIV).

It’s an instant in time that cracked the history plate and forever cast into security the ordained-of-faith Remnant of God. The role and authority of John’s revelation—at least in his own apostolic auspices—is unquestioned. This Jesus—the Lamb of God—came to conquer the divine curse, and this he certainly did upon the cross of Golgotha.

The moment that split the vestiges of time and history, casting Satan into the torment of a hell beyond hell unto the spiritual home of earth, is so simplistically profound we could never truly grasp its cataclysmic significance.

What occurs in the heavens during this time of great upheaval—the satanic rebellion—is too magnificent in its terror for us to contemplate. We are caused to think this has already happened. And for us it has.

This is where time for God and time for us depart. There is an end-times significance, for instance, in the birth of the Son. It’s not just about the cross. Satan has been defeated once and for all but his spirit and his angels of darkness still roam this earth in their vicarious destructiveness. “He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev. 12:12c). Time is then, a warp for us. It is twisted. If we try and think of the coming of Jesus etc in terms of our time we’re already on the wrong track of thought.

The devil belongs to us here on earth, sadly, but only—again—for a short time. He does not belong to us or we him, spiritually—if we’re in Jesus, but he is part of us and our world more than we’d like. This is our living reality and we have to bear it.

This, again, can confuse us. Do we have the Spirit of God in us or not? Yes, of course we do. But we also contend very much so with the spirit of darkness—the Accuser. He’s continually against us and the purposes of God that we love and endorse. He wants to interrupt this. And just as the war at the heavenly realm was cataclysmic our lives resemble this war at times, albeit on a much smaller scale.

In similar ways the ensuing verses deliver more context:

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,

and the authority of his Christ.

For the accuser of our brothers,

who accuses them before our God day and night,

bas been hurled down.

They overcame him

by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much

as to shrink from death.’

~Revelation 12:10-11 (NIV).

Now, this is where our faith takes us into scary territory—from the worldly viewpoint. There are three ways mentioned in this passage that Satan is comprehensively vanquished. The blood of the Lamb is the obvious first way. The second is via the word of our testimony to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour; this is tested in the third. Combining this then with the third—not clinging so much to life that we shrink from death—we can see that there will come a time where the faithful will actually be required to be utterly faithful, even to death if that were necessary.

And this ushers in a fresh and harrowing meaning to the Scripture of Jesus’ that we must lose our lives to save them (Mark 8:35). We will be required to undergo persecution, discrimination and even possibly death—ideally, and incredibly, in silence, as Jesus did.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: Christopher C. Rowland, The Book of Revelation – Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections (Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1998), pp. 649-50.

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