STAND & COMFORT Newsletter|
Email NEWSLETTER #35 (Vol 3 No 2)
By Ed Tarkowski
SATAN AS ACCUSER CAST OUT OF HEAVEN 2,000 YEARS AGO
In Job 1:7 we see Satan entering God's presence in order to make accusations against Job:
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
In this Old Testament scene, Satan was allowed entrance into heaven. But the New Testament tells us of an event which forever cuts off Satan's entrance:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
IS THE DEVIL CAST OUT AT THE END OF THE 70TH WEEK?
Satan's being cast out of heaven cannot be at the end of Daniel's 70th week because that is when the millennial reign of Christ begins, when our salvation is completed. The casting out, as described in the verses from Rev 12:6, 13-17, results in tribulation and persecution of the saints, and Satan cannot be pursuing and persecuting the saints during the millennium. Furthermore, at the end of Daniel's 70th week, the devil is cast into the bottomless pit and will not be able to persecute anyone.
The question is, WHEN WILL or WHEN WAS Satan cast out of heaven to enter no more? There is a deceptive doctrine within the Church that says this will happen in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. This lie has even found its way into the new doctrine that Michael is the restrainer. It uses Michael's war with Satan to defend that doctrine by assuming that Satan can still enter heaven up to that point. But there is NO NEW TESTAMENT VERSE that says Satan ever enters heaven during the New Testament dispensation. This brings us back to our inquiry: at what point will Satan be cast out of heaven and lose all access to it, or did this already happen?
VERSES IN THE GOSPELS CONCERNING SATAN'S JUDGMENT
The first set of verses I want to look at are in Luke 10:
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
Was this when Satan was cast out of heaven? No, the passage is referring to the disciple's power over Satan when they were sent out. In "Barnes' New Testament Notes," Albert Barnes says Jesus expressed this authority in this way,
"I saw at your command devils immediately depart, as quick as the flash of lightning. I gave you this power--I saw it put forth--and I give also now, in addition to this, the power to tread on serpents."
Robertson's Word Pictures says this:
"I beheld Satan fallen . . . As a flash of lightning out of heaven, quick and startling, so the victory of the Seventy over the demons, the agents of Satan, forecast his downfall and Jesus in vision pictured it as a flash of lightning."
Luke 10:17-20 has nothing to do with the actual event of Satan being cast out of heaven in Revelation 12. Luke 22:31-32 indicates that Satan still had access to heaven, asking to sift Peter like wheat. More support for this fact comes from other things Jesus said while He was on earth. Just before Calvary, Jesus said that the judgment of the evil one was just around the corner:
John 12:31 NOW is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
Barnes describes the meaning of these verses as follows:
"Now is approaching the decisive scene, the eventful period--the crisis--when it shall be determined who shall rule this world. There has been a long conflict between the powers of light and darkness--between God and the devil. Satan has so effectually ruled that he may be said to be the prince of this world; but my approaching death will destroy his kingdom, will break down his power, and will be the means of setting up the kingdom of God over man."
Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871), places this casting out in Jesus' very near future, which would be the events of Calvary:
"31. Now is the judgment of this world--the world that 'crucified the Lord of glory' (#1Co 2:8), considered as a vast and complicated kingdom of Satan, breathing his spirit, doing his work, and involved in his doom, which Christ's death by its hands irrevocably sealed.
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convince the world that the devil had been judged:
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Between Calvary and the sending of the Holy Spirit, a judgement took place in which Satan was "cast out" because of his overwhelming defeat. Cast out of where? Heaven, at the ascension of Christ (the Child in Rev 12)?
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. . . .
Verse 10 is sandwiched between the verses that describe the war in heaven and the devil being cast out forever, and praise because of the saint's victory by the blood of the Lamb. There is no New Testament verse that says the devil enters heaven or is allowed to enter heaven anymore. Many people quote from Job, but between Job and New Testament times is the shed blood of Christ and His resurrection, which silences all accusation against the saints before God day and night. It seems reasonable, then, that we can establish when the devil was cast out of heaven by determining when "salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" came, because when it came - "Now is come" - "the accuser of our brethren is [was] cast down."
The word "NOW" is defined:
737. arti, ar'-tee; adv. from a der. of G142 (comp. G740) through the idea of suspension; just now
The definition of the word "COME" is:
1096. ginomai, ghin'-om-ahee; a prol. and mid. form of a prim. verb; to cause to be ("gen"-erate), i.e. (reflex.) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (lit. fig., intens., etc.)
In other words, WHEN the Child was caught up to the throne of God, the devil lost his place in heaven to accuse the saints before God day and night:
And the Child was caught up to the throne and JUST NOW, IN THIS HOUR, IS CAUSED TO BE salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: the accuser of our brethren, therefore, is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. The saints overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.
"Salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" were set in place at the ascension and glorification of Christ. This PROCLAMATION came AS A RESULT of the devil being cast down to earth. The casting out of the devil from heaven was an exercise of the "salvation, strength, the kingdom of God and the power of Christ" which was now set in place at Christ's ascension. It is very difficult how these four things could NOW COME in the middle of the tribulation.
JUST NOW IS COME SALVATION
salvation 4991. soteria, so-tay-ree'-ah; fem. of a der. of G4990 as (prop. abstr.) noun; rescue or safety (phys. or mor.)
NOW salvation came to be a reality to be offered to all men, when the Child (Jesus Christ) in Revelation 12:5 was caught up to the throne. Salvation can be entered into now, and then we are to work it out in fear and trembling, and it will be totally manifested when Christ returns. But the verse says, NOW IS COME salvation, meaning just now, at this hour, when Christ ascended. Salvation was now available to all who would believe. A brother named Aaron gave me this explanation of the Greek word for "now":
The word for "come" here is EGENETO (the third person singluar, aorist, middle, indicative of GINOMAI). The significant aspect of the verb is the fact that it is an aorist indicative, specifically the Immediate Past/Dramatic Aorist. "The aorist indicative can be used of an event that happened rather recently. Its force can usually be brought out with something like 'just now', as in 'just now I told you'" (Wallace, Greek Grammer Beyond the Basics, p564). This verse uses ARTI to modify EGENETO. John elected to use ARTI to bring out the meaning of EGENETO, the fact that salvation, strength, the kingdom, and power of Christ have just come.
Salvation did not come to be because the devil was cast down. Salvation came to be because of the finished work of the Child caught up to God's throne (Jesus Christ). The devil lost his place in heaven because of this finished work. The coming of these things NOW sandwiched in the verses describing the casting out of Satan refers back then to the immediate past of the Child being caught up to the throne.
JUST NOW IS COME STRENGTH
1411. dunamis, doo'-nam-is; from G1410; force (lit. or fig.); spec. miraculous power (usually by impl. a miracle itself)
"Dunamis" (strength) is wonder-working power, the power behind the ability to save. This fits well with the Child being caught up to throne, for Jesus sent forth the Holy Spirit who manifested such power in the Church. This strength is the ability to do whatever is necessary to bring people into salvation, including the strength the Christian needs to stand in his faith while proclaiming the gospel.
This "strength" has much to do with the devil being cast down, as Jesus showed this same power during His earthly ministry:
Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power (dunamis) he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
After He sent the Holy Spirit, the same strength or power was given to the Church:
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power (dunamis), after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
JUST NOW IS COME THE KINGDOM OF OUR GOD
Again the casting out of Satan and his angels is associated with the coming of the kingdom of God, which was made available to all when the Child ascended the throne:
Mat 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
The following shows that the kingdom of God and its power was to come soon, in the days of the disciples, not over 2,000 years later in the middle of the tribulation:
Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
The kingdom of God would come with the ascension of Christ, but it would not be visibly manifested. That event would wait until Christ visibly returned to judge the nations and manifest the salvation of all who are His. Of the kingdom, the Holman Bible Dictionary states,
". . . the kingdom of God is God's ruling. It is the sovereign reign of God. This rule is independent of all geographical areas or political entities. It is true that the rule of God implies a people to be ruled, and Jesus called upon people to enter the kingdom. The kingdom itself should be distinguished from the people who enter it.
NOW IS COME THE POWER OF HIS CHRIST
"Power" is defined as,
1849. exousia, ex-oo-see'-ah; from G1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subj.) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (obj.) mastery (concr. magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence
Power is the legal, designated authority to rule. When Christ died and rose and ascended, He was declared to be both Lord and Savior. He was placed in a position of authority over all things:
Mat 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
The works of the devil that Jesus came to destroy were sin and death:
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Jesus accomplished this by His shed blood on Calvary and His resurrection. All who believed would be justified before God, just as if they never sinned. Under the New Covenant, God would remember their sins no more. They would be set apart for him and strengthened by the Holy Spirit to be conformed to Christ in their earthly walk. At death their spirit would go to be with the Lord instead of being taken to hell.
WHEN IS THE DEVIL CAST OUT OF HEAVEN?
The kingdom of God is basically the rule of God, and one day Christ will reign in a visible kingdom. "Salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" became a reality when the Child ascended - NOW IS COME ... these things - AND these things NOW CAME ("immediate past") at the same time the devil was cast down. To assign these four things to a future time, such as the middle of the tribulation, is a futile effort when seen in the light of Christ. We would be left wondering why these things CAME then, when they were already in place and operable when that time arrives. These things have been set in place since Christ's ascension and will be fully manifested when Christ returns.
The placement of the 1260 days in this chapter is hard to place considering these seem to apply to the middle of the tribulation week, 2,000 years plus after the ascension of the Child and the devil being cast out. One plausible explanation is that the warning to the earth and sea when the devil was cast down points to a future time (the tribulation) when the beasts would come out of the earth and sea (Revelation 13) and the people of God would then flee to the wilderness as described in Revelation 12:6,13-17.
THE VICTORY OF CHRIST
When we look at the total victory of Christ that utterly devastated Satan, it is sad to see Revelation 12:10 interpreted as not yet accomplished. To think that Jesus shed His blood for the cleansing of sin - to the point that God can't even remember that sin - yet say that the devil can still stand before God to accuse the brethren day and night, makes one gasp. It is a sad state we are in to think that the devil still has entrance to heaven, when, by His resurrection, Jesus completely justified before God any man who believes. It is not easy to believe that the heavenly places were cleansed based on the blood of Jesus, but the devil is still allowed to enter heaven and trample on those cleansed courts. It is hard to understand how Jesus emptied the bosom of Abraham of all the OT saints and took them to heaven, and in midst of so great a cloud of witnesses the devil would stand there and make accusations against them to God. It is hard to understand how "salvation and strength and the kingdom of God and the power of Christ" were set in place at the enthronement of Christ, and people can say the devil has yet to be cast out of heaven. It is difficult to understand how Jesus cast out devils who trembled before him when He was on earth, yet since His ascension and glorification, He allows the devil to remain there with his accusations. It is hard to come to grips with the lie that our adversary is still there, accusing the brethren before God day and night, in the midst of all other activity before Him:
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Worthy of note in these verses is that before even one seal is opened, salvation (v. 9), power and strength (v. 12) is given to the risen and ascended Lamb.
A SUBTLETY WORTHY TO WATCH FOR
The idea that the devil won't be cast out of heaven until the middle of the tribulation is a good example of the formation of doctrines without weighing them against the finished work of Christ. Christ's victory over the devil was so complete, so final, so absolutely devastating to the devil - yet we have teaching in the Church that says that in spite of that victory, the devil is still there accusing the saints. Revelation 12 says,
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. . . .
When the Child (Jesus Christ) went up (accompanied by the saints from Abraham's bosom, Luke 16:19-31), the devil came down. When Jesus was caught up the throne, salvation, strength, the kingdom of God and the power of Christ were set in place. These things came then, not in the future tribulation, and will be fully manifested when Christ returns to finish our salvation, to manifest a glorified Church who persevered to the end, to make visible the kingdom of God and manifest to all creation the fullness of salvation, strength, the kingdom of God and the power of Christ in His earthly rule:
Rev 11:15 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.
We need to be sure of our doctrine, and we must do so with an eye on the finished work of Christ and the hope it gives us. An adversary has been cast down to earth and he is furious. Part of that fury is manifested in the variations of doctrines in the Church today. If in reality Satan cannot find entrance into heaven, he still makes it seem so because of his pride and arrogance. Despite his helpless futility, I imagine this doctrine satisfies him to some degree, knowing that in spite of all that was accomplished by the finished work of Christ and is related in the Scriptures, he still has some believing he is in heaven maintaining the authority and office of accuser of the brethren. He isn't and he doesn't.
Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. . . .
JOSHUA, A TYPE OF JESUS THE HIGH PRIEST
One last verse I want to look at is Zechariah 3:1-2:
Zec 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
Satan the accuser is seen as at Joshua's right hand, placing Joshua on the right hand of the Angel of the Lord. This was "the usual position of a prosecutor or accuser in court, as the left hand was the position of the defendant (#Ps 109:6|)" (JFB):
In Revelation 12:10, we read of Satan as the accuser of the brethren:
Rev 12:10 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.
ACCUSER 2725. kategoros . . . against one in the assembly, i.e. a complainant at law; spec. Satan
Joshua is made High Priest and representative of the people of God who are to be cleansed. Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown (JFB), Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871) says,
"1. Joshua as high priest (Hag 1:1) represents 'Jerusalem' (Zec 3:2), or the elect people, put on its trial, and "plucked" narrowly 'out of the fire.' His attitude, 'standing before the Lord,' is that of a high priest ministering before the altar erected previously to the building of the temple (Ezr 3:2,3,6 Ps 135:2). Yet, in this position, by reason of his own and his people's sins, he is represented as on his and their trial (Nu 35:12)."
These quotes strongly indicate the silencing of Satan the accuser and the reason for his being cast out in Revelation 12:
1. Jesus Christ is the one whom God has chosen as High Priest to represent all of His people before Him:
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
2. By His death and resurrection, our High Priest came before God and took His place at the left hand of Satan the acucuser, which placed Him at the right hand of God as representative of all who are and will be His:
Heb 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
3. Jesus as our High Priest, STANDS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD FOR US:
Acts 7:55 But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,
Do you get the picture? Can we even imagine the look on the devil's face when he turned to accuse Jesus Christ, who just before had utterly destroyed his power of death by rising from the dead? Jesus who, as sinless Man, entered God's presence and lives, taking OUR place before Him as our High Priest? All would be born of Him and He would be their righteousness. As the FIRST-BORN from the dead, He silenced the accusations of the adversary, and all born of Him since then would be free from accusation because they are in Him. Jesus silenced him ... forever ... 2,000 years ago. He is still there, at God's right hand, not for interceeding against the accusations of the devil, but for our spiritual strength, that we can find help in the time of need and temptation:
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We can BOLDLY approach the throne of grace with no threat of accusation because the accuser of the brethren has been cast out. God has guaranteed it.
This newsletter will be sent out whenever I think there is something the body of Christ needs to consider, to build it up, to give it encouragement or comfort in hard times.
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