Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ [that is ‘Messiah’]? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. – 1John 2:22
In my last post I discussed the origin of Satan – a common current interpretation of Revelation 12 is that it describes the first fall of Satan, but I believe it actually describes Satan’s FINAL fall from heaven. (I am continuing the discussion of the preceeding post, and recommend you read it first as the basis of this one.)
After God pronounced judgment upon the serpent in the garden, the devil still seems to have had access to heaven’s council. For example, the book of Job portrays Satan coming into the council of God with the other angels (Job 1:6-12). In 1 Kings 22, the prophet Micaiah describes a vision he’d had of the council of God where a lying spirit was allowed to sway the false prophets to lead King Ahab into battle (v. 19-23). These instances indicate that while Satan had fallen from his estate as a Cherub, he and his angels were still allowed in heaven at least on the basis of heavenly council. Satan had been condemned for murdering man via deception in the garden, but was not barred from heaven in the Old Testament.
Luke 10:17 & 18 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord even the demons are subject unto us through thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Revelation 12, I believe, is the story of Satan’s New Testament fall: the coming of the Last Adam (Jesus Christ), and Satan’s utter expulsion from heaven.
Before going into a further detailed account of Rev 12, consider the correlations between it and Genesis 3. Allow me, first, this caveat: in Western culture we often asociate dragons more closely to dinosaurs with wings. In Eastern cultures, however, dragons are more closely associated with snakes – in fact, our modern association of dinosaurs is very new, it really isn’t just Eastern culture that associates dragons more closely to snakes, according to lore the Greek god Apollo slaid a dragon whose name was: Python – from which we get the scientific name for a classification of non-boa constricting snakes. In the Hebrew culture, and the bible serpents and dragons are closely associated, consider Psalm 91:13 ‘Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder [(snake)]: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.’
Playing with word associations here, the above verse gives indication of the writer’s meaning: the lion and the snake, but then, the writer gets more specific: the YOUNG lion (young, here, indicating the prime of life, not juvenile – he doean’t mean just any lion, but the lion in its prime with lightning reflexes, and immense strength), and the dragon. Just as the ‘young lion’ was the literary clarifier of the lion, the ‘dragon’ is the literary clarifier of the ‘adder.’ Not just a snake, but a serpent in its full-ferocity prime.
Revelation 12 is not the first fall of Satan, but the fulfillment of the prophetic judgment placed on the serpent in the garden of Eden:
Gen 3:15 – ‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed [(the fulfillment of seed vs. seed is found more in Rev 13, than in 12)]; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.’
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered [(‘Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrowmand thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children…’ Gen 3:16)].
And there appeared another wonder IN HEAVEN; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught upto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled to the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
Now first off, I am going to call attention to the correlation between this passage, and the first fall of Satan as described in Genesis 3 – part and partial with the juddgment also pronounced upon the woman in the same. The conflict between the woman, and the serpent, her travail in childbirth, and the conflict of her seed with the serpent.
Yet, I must also pointmout WHY the clear correlation exists. It is NOT because these two stories (Genesis 3 & Revelation 12) are the SAME EVENT; they are expressly NOT the same event. Rather, Genesis 3 shows the woman in undeveloped form, the serpent in undeveloped form, and a judgment pronounced on them – the reason the two pasages correlate is because Revelation 12 describes the fulfillment of the prophecy of Genesis 3.
In the end of days we find the serpent has develoled into a fully formed ferocious dragon, complete with seven heads (the number 7 biblically depicts ‘fulfillment’). In Genesis 3, the woman’s seed is said to crush the serpent’s head – now He can utterly fulfill that prophecy: the serpent’s fully developed head can be utterly destroyed.
Let’s look at the woman for a momment; it is her seed who will crush the head of the dragon. Who is she?
Well, I started looking at that, but realized I have too much content on that to post it here, so I will simplify. There are three standard interpretations of the woman (that I am aware of) in contemporary thought; the Catholic view is that she is Mary, the historic Reformed view (that is the view of the early protestant Reformers, and Pilgrims) is that she is the church, and the contemporary evangelical interpretation (largely accepted since Israel became a nation in 1948) is that she is Israel.
Let me just say, I think all these views are partly wrong, and all of them are partly correct. I may believe the Catholic view is most correct in this way: part of the reason the Catholics believe she is Mary (aside from the literal birth of Christ) is that they believe Mary is THE SECOND EVE. Just as Jesus is the second (and last) Adam, they correlate Mary with the second Eve. In this way the Catholic interpretation is most correct: Revelation 12 is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Genesis 3, the dragon is the fully developed serpent, and the woman is Eve in the fullness of time, ready to bring forth the seed who will crush the serpent’s head.
Now, as I’ve mentioned I’ve got too much content to discuss her in detail without making this post exclusively about her, so I will narrow down to my conclusion about who that makes her.
Immediately after God’s judgment on Adam in the garden, Adam named the woman (his wife) Eve. Prior to this, she was called only Woman (after Adam’s first naming of her (Gen 2:23)); immediately after God pronounced judgment on Adam and Woman comes Genesis 3:20:
‘And Adam called his wife’s name Eve[(which means ‘Living’)]; because she was the mother of ALL LIVING.’
Now jump with me to Galatians:
Galatians 4:25 & 26: ‘…Jerusalem which now is… is in bondage with her children [(therefore, she cannot be the earthly nation of Israel)]. 26 But JERUSALEM WHICH IS ABOVE is free, WHICH IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL.‘
The woman is New Jerusalem (that is: not earthly, but heavenly Jerusalem). To say the woman is ‘the church’ is more accurate than saying that she is the nation of Israel, but that is only fully accurate if your interpretation of ‘the church’ is historically all-inclusive, accepting even those saved under the prior Covenant, and in the era before Abraham, when no such covenant existed. Only New Jerusalem – the heavenly city of ALL the people of God (Jew and Gentile, Christian and pre-covenant believers of every nationality) can be both the mother, and the bride of Christ: Eve the mother of ALL LIVING (not the elect among national Jews only, which would be implied were she the nation of Israel, nor the New Covenant elect only as is implied if she was ‘the church,’ but ALL LIVING throughout history from the time of Eve (the elect)).
Herod the Great – The First Antichrist
The first type of Antichrist in the New Testament is Herod the Great. Herod had been set up as king by the Romans (He was not the lawful King of Israel according to inheritance… in fact if the line of David had been followed, Joseph the carpenter, Jesus’ dad should have been king), Herod sought singly to maintain his position as king.
The first six verses of Revelation 12 describe the birth of Christ, and they parralell shockingly close to the account that Matthew gives of the birth of Christ. Rev 12 is not the origin story of the devil, it is the Gospel story which plays out the before, during and after the life of Christ.
As the first New Testament antichrist, it is likely that Herod was ‘possessed’ by the devil; historically, we know he was a murderer killing even his own offspring whom he worried may usurp his reign. Outwardly, however, he was a devout Jew; he was, in fact, rebuilding the Jewish temple (the temple of the New Testament was Herod’s temple), and had such a large Jewish sect devoted to him (the Herodians). The Pharisees, and Herodians were awaiting the Messiah, and were probably fully unaware that when Herod discovered it was likely Messiah had been born in his kingdom, he did everything in his power to kill Him… the evidence would have been prevalent, however, to any keeping an eye on him. Difficult to keep the slaughter of an entire regions infants secret.
The dragon crouched at Eve’s feet, ready to devour Christ, but God preserved the Messiah from death at birth – His Spirit was caught up to God’s throne, and His body was taken to a haven in Egypt by the precise obedience of Joseph to the revelation of God who directed him by dreams.
The coming of Christ marked a transition in the Covenant era, some of those culturally following God as Jews under the Old Covenant would be unable (for their religious convictions) to transition to faith in Jesus Christ (as becomes evident in the later New Testament writings), could the fall of many righteous people due to this transition be the fulfillment of the stars cast from the sky by the dragon’s tail? That may be a valid interpretation; it may be that a large contingency of Jews (in the real of 1/3) followed Herod the murderer in his intents wittingly, or unwittingly, and thus lost their estate in the New Jerusalem; it may also be the persecution and martyrdom of a great number of those who DID transition their faith to the New Covenant agreement. Could be any number of things (I don’t have express revelation on that), but for reasons mentioned in the previous post, I don’t believe the stars to be angels.
Now in the chronology of Rev 12, two things happen:
1) The woman flees to the winderness for 3 1/2 years (v. 6) (I’ll not go into this in depth, but I believe it pertains to the timeframe of Christ’s earthly reign (see also my interpretation of Daniel 9:27 (which is also closer to the reformers’ view than the contemporary interpretation)).
2) There was war in heaven (v. 7) This is the portion I will dive into with a little more clarity for this post.
During Christ’s life and ministry (which I believe these events speak of on the spiritual level), a transition was taking place; the process for approaching New Jerusalem (attaining salvation) was changing. No one was ever saved without Christ (before, during, or after His appearance in the earth); Salvation has always been througb Jesus Christ, He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).
Yet, when Jesus was born in the flesh, the full Revelation of Him began to be unveiled, and the prophetic process of the Old Covenant (which was about Jesus Christ) began to be fulfilled by His work in the earth. The New Covenant era would not be fully in place until His ascention to heaven, once He had accomplished all things, yet while He was in the earth the process had started: the world was in flux. An example of what I mean is what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:21 & 23 [(My commentary in un-italicized bracket-parenthasis)]
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the father. [(In the Messianic era, temple-worship is neither required, nor desired by God, don’t get caught up in the Zionist fixation of our day to build a new temple in Jerusalem; at the full revelation of Christ, the True temple, earthly temple-worship is idolatry (its return in prevalence is an end-time deception, and counterfeit). In the Old Covenant era it testified of Christ, now it is held by those who deny the Revelation of Jesus Christ to attempt to worship the Father without Jesus (see also 1 John 2:22) see also post: Does the Old Covenant Come Back? (& recall, Herod the 1st New Testament antichrist built the temple, also…))]
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers [(‘the true worshippers’ he speaks of here is the woman of Rev 12)] shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Notice He declared: the hour cometh, and now is... the temple-worship was not yet expired fully because Jesus had not yet become the sacrifice, but the time was coming… indeed, had already started when the people need no longer assemble in earthly Jerusalem to worship God, for Christ was already in the earth begining to fulfill all things.
Now in the midst of Christ’s ministry, He began to commission ministers to enact His own authority as He sent them to declare the coming of His kingdom (Matt 10:7). He had first sent the twelve in the authority of his reign as forerunners (Matt 10, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9), then in Luke 10, Jesus appointed 70 others, also. The number 7 biblically represents completion, this act of sending the 70 was effectively declaring the new church era: that in this age, not only the 12 Apostles, but everyone Christ would send (70) should walk in the fulness of Christ’s kingdom. JESUS IS THE SEED THAT CRUSHES THE SERPENT’S HEAD. When Christ’s authority was delegated to the Church was Satan finally, and for eternity cast out of heaven.
Rev 12:11 – And THEY overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testiminy…
They, who? Those who inherited Christ’s kingdom, of course!
Luke 10:17-19 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord even the demons are subject unto us through thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power [authority] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Revelation 12:9-11 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.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, NOW IS COME THE SALVATION, AND STRENGTH, AND THE KINGDOM OF OUR GOD, AND THE POWER [authority] OF HIS CHRIST: FOR THE ACCUSOR OF OUR BREHREN IS CAST DOWN, WHICH ACCUSED THEM BEFORE OUR GOD DAY AND NIGHT. [(As He said, when they returned, for surely He watched it happen in the Spirit: ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.‘)]
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.
It is essential for us to know that this is the era we live in: that of Christ’s reign. Essential because Satan has fallen to the earth, and we have authority over him, yet he still decieves and leads the kingdoms of man. Chapter 13 begins the narrative of the last days from the perspective of Satan’s fall – and I believe the beast has risen from the sea, and we are at the begining of those times today.