An Analysis of the Start of Armageddon
Satan Is Cast From Heaven
Many people have an ominous feeling as the world seems to be moving toward some kind of apocalyptic finale. With growing rage on all sides, unsustainable economic conditions, increasing conflict and surprising twists and turns, we should look again at one of the most intriguing and perhaps the most unexplored prophecies of Armageddon. There is a passage in Revelation that states with remarkable clarity that a time of great turmoil in the “end times” is the result of an enraged Satan being cast out of Heaven into the Earth.
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell therein. Woe to the earth, and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.
Some Jewish scholars believe that Satan is an angel of God whose given task is to tempt humans. If this is true then Satan could be in Heaven, but Revelation is a Christian prophecy so Jewish scholars aren’t looking for it to be fulfilled. Christians are also not looking for Satan to be cast from Heaven since Christians believe that Satan is openly evil and was cast out of Heaven a long time ago.
Christians assume that Satan was already cast out of Heaven since there can be no evil in Heaven but regardless of how or when Satan became evil it must be true that evil exists in Heaven up until the moment that Satan is cast out of Heaven, be it past, present or future. If Heaven is said to have no evil this could be referring to what the Bible calls the “new” Heaven and this new Heaven which seems to occur in the end may be called the new Heaven because of Satan being cast out at that time.
If an angel or a group of angels were to try to overthrow God or to denounce God and leave Heaven, this would not simply be a product of evil on their part. They would also have to be stupid. A battle against God is like a character in a novel doing battle against the author. Satan hates God, but he has enough sense to keep it to himself so that there is concealed evil in Heaven...until the day comes when that evil is exposed.
Proverbs 26:24-26 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
The idea that concealed evil exists in Heaven is supported by the Bible. It is the traditional view of Satan that has no real Biblical support and defies common sense. Before the conflict with Michael in the book of Revelation, the Biblical Satan is never described as being in open rebellion. Satan concealing his hatred certainly makes more sense than the idea of angels doing battle with God. Fallen angels may be hostile to God but they would have a far clearer understanding of the power of God than we do. They would have no illusions of being able overcome God. If they want to change conditions they would have to convince God to make the change. Demons may be fallen angels who sinned and were cast out of Heaven, but they would have tried to avoid sinning. With sufficient willpower some of the more formidable fallen angels like the devil might manage to conceal their hostility and remain in Heaven to the present time. The end comes when their sins are exposed and they are cast out of Heaven.
Such angels would try to demonstrate the sinfulness of humans so that God has to declare amnesty or alter the Law. This means that Satan tempts humans not because God gave him that task as some Jews claim, and not to win souls as some Christians claim, but because the devil is trying to overturn the Law knowing that he is secretly in violation of the Law.
What the Bible Actually Says
Concerning *when* Satan is cast from Heaven, there is only one passage in the Bible which addresses that particular question. The book of Revelation indicates with considerable clarity that Satan is cast out of Heaven in the end times.
Christ once said He saw Satan fall from Heaven but the words He used were words that could be used to describe a vision of a future event. In Genesis chapter six, angels came to the Earth and this event clearly occurred in the past but there is no indication that Satan was one of them. There is the following passage which is said to describe Satan being cast from Heaven.
Ezekiel 28:15-16 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day of thy creation, until iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise, thy inner parts were filled with iniquity, and thou hast sinned: and I cast thee out from the mountain of God, and destroyed thee, O covering cherub, out of the midst of the stones of fire.
This passage does not show with clarity *when* the devil is cast out, but it does indicate that Satan was not openly rebellious. He may have been a liar and a murderer from the beginning as stated in the Bible but he was perfect in his “ways” which is to say without sin in his words and actions. The iniquity was said to be in his “inner parts”. This is an important point, the fact that the devil was not in open rebellion but sin within the heart of Satan was or will be exposed. If the devil tried to conceal his iniquity, which makes sense, when and how is the iniquity of the devil exposed?
How the Devil is Exposed as an Enemy of God
Psalm 21:8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.
Christ is at the right hand of God, so Christ could be called the right hand of God. This means the iniquity or hatred within the devil is exposed by Christ. That tells us who, and gives an idea as to how, but there are more clues concerning the demise of the devil.
Hebrews 2:14 Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil:
Christ exposes the iniquity within the devil (as described above in Ezekiel) and this leads to the condemnation of Satan under the Law which explains how Christ destroys the devil. Christ is said to destroy the devil "through death" which means the death of Christ somehow exposed the hatred within the devil’s heart. This suggests that the evil within Satan's heart was exposed at the time of the crucifixion of Christ.
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
When Christ was on the cross, He clearly stated that God had forsaken Him. He was quoting Scripture but why was Jesus quoting this particular Scripture and why was He quoting it at such a crucial time? The 22nd Psalm foretold the crucifixion of Christ in remarkable detail and much of this passage was fulfilled at the crucifixion literally. This means that the person who is foretold in this passage will likely be literally forsaken by God during the time described in the passage which would be the crucifixion. Christ was literally forsaken by God when He was on the cross. God looked away from the crucifixion.
Satan Is Caught
Psalm 64:3-5 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?
No one is perfect or sinless other than Christ and in this passage there was clearly a vocal attack on the perfect (Christ) when no one was looking. When God looked away from the crucifixion, the devil felt safe to openly express his hatred of God. There may have been other occasions when God looked away and the devil was able to let his guard down but on this occasion there was someone who transcends the devil as a witness. The devil thought that Jesus was a mere human who couldn’t witness his loathing. The crucifixion was designed perfectly to fool the devil. Jesus looked like a human responding to the physical pain but the physical pain was nothing to Jesus. Jesus was responding to the extreme evil of the devil but the devil was never aware of the Lord’s ability to witness his hatred.
The devil has a powerful will, but he was defeated by his arrogance and his disdain for humanity. Satan couldn't imagine that this puny little human dying on a cross was greater than him.
Christ is called the faithful witness so it must be true that He is a witness to something. He is a witness to the evil of Satan, and this hatred that was poured out on Christ is why Jesus was so repulsed by the cross that He was sweating blood beforehand. Again, the physical pain was nothing to Jesus. The Lord has infinite power and infinite willpower and it seems as though nothing could possible cause the Lord to be sweating blood, but Jesus was sweating blood before the crucifixion. This is because the Lord is absolute Righteousness, repulsed by evil. The dreadful evil that was unloaded on Christ was worse than death or anything we can imagine. We cannot begin to understand the pain that the Lord endured for us.
Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
The serpent strikes the woman's offspring (Christ). It must be true that the devil, in some way, strikes Christ. Satan strikes His heel which is a painful wound. This shows the great agony as the devil exposed intense hatred to Christ while Jesus was dying on the cross. An Achilles' heel is a person's only weakness. The only weakness of the Lord is His revulsion to evil. Christ strikes the head of the serpent which is a fatal blow. Christ is now witness to Satan’s hatred of God which will lead to Satan being condemned.
Hidden in Plain Sight
There are other passages in the Bible that confirm how Satan unloaded hatred on Christ when Christ was on the cross. The following passage was regrettably used in the past as an excuse for the persecution of Jews.
John 15:22-25 If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me, hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated me without cause.
Today Christians often avoid this passage because of the violence committed in the past by those who clearly misinterpreted what Christ was saying. It should be obvious that this passage is not talking about the Jews. Did the Jews not have sin before Christ came into the world? Yet Christians cannot disregard this passage. These are words of Christ. There is someone who did not have sin before Christ came into the world, and through Christ’s coming into the world that person or persons now have sin. The sin that they now have involves hatred of God. It should be noted that “their law” in this passage is reference to Satan and the fallen angels using the Law of God to condemn humans. They used the sins of humanity to justify their hostility towards humanity but they now have no excuse for their hatred. They are condemned by the same Law they used to condemn humanity.
These and many other passages show there was a spiritual attack by the devil on Christ when Jesus was on the cross, but the question remains why is Satan not cast out of Heaven until the time of the end?
Satan Is Still Clueless
Jesus is at the right hand of God, meaning in a place that transcends even Heaven, so even the inhabitants of Heaven may not know that Jesus is still alive. The devil doesn’t know that Jesus is still alive and it must be true that the devil doesn’t know that Jesus is Lord.
When the devil tempted Christ, he asked Jesus if He was the son of God. The prophecies had sometimes referred to the coming Messiah in this way but that doesn’t mean the devil was expecting the promised Messiah to literally be Divine. The Pharisee and scribes surely didn’t expect the Messiah to literally be the son of God. Peter had said that Jesus was the Son of God; but after the crucifixion, Peter and the other apostles gave up hope as if they didn’t really understand that Jesus is not merely someone called the "son of God" but Jesus is literally the Son of God. It seems as though no one at that time really took “son of God” literally.
Still, with two thousand years of Christians saying that Jesus is Lord and saying that the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire, the devil should be at least a bit concerned. If Satan is still in Heaven then he knows the Christians are wrong when they say he was cast out of Heaven. It should also be understood that powerful Satan has no respect for puny little humans including Christ. But for Satan to be completely at ease, it would have to be true that Satan is certain that Jesus is not the Lord with a very high level of confidence. If the devil knew the Trinity is true, he would have to be worried. The devil didn’t take “son of God” literally two thousand years ago and he still doesn’t take “son of God” literally because as an inhabitant of Heaven he knows there is only one God. It must therefore be true that there really is only one God but if this is true, how is Christ the Lord?
The Meaning of "Son" of God
The answer to this is complicated yet simple. Complicated in that it involves the nature of time and space which is something we cannot comprehend. Simple in that God simply created time in a way that allowed Him to send part of Himself into time. God the Father created time and space, so God the Father transcends time and space. God the Holy Spirit is God *in* time and space, both Heaven and Earth. God the Son is a part of God that came into time, into the Earth and lived as a human. His body died, then rose from the dead and He returned to God the Father but in the end He will return to complete oneness with God.
Transcending time and space there is only one God. This means that Jesus came from oneness with God at the beginning of time and it requires that Jesus return to oneness with God at the end of time. This is why Christ is called Alpha and Omega. Christ is separated from God on the timeline...from the beginning of time until the end of time. Transcending time and space there is only one God. God the Father who transcends time and space is already a witness against Satan as Christ returns to oneness with God the Father. As this becomes understood in the Earth it will come to the attention of the inhabitants of Heaven. Not only are there two witnesses against Satan as required by the Law, both of the witnesses are the Lord. When this is sufficiently distributed to be taken seriously by the devil, there will be a battle, more precisely a debate between Satan and the Archangel Michael. This great trial will lead to the condemnation of Satan and God will cast the devil out of Heaven into the Earth.
Biblical Text Verses Common Assumptions
This is all based on a very literal reading of the text in the Bible. Christ literally said that He was forsaken by God when He was on the cross; He literally said that someone did not have sin, but they have sin because of His coming into the world and doing what He did. Prior to the book of Revelation, there is no passage in the Bible in which Satan is in open rebellion against God. Revelation literally says that the devil is cast out of Heaven when there is only a short time left. There is no passage in the Bible that clearly indicates the devil being cast out of Heaven at any other time.
This interpretation may be unorthodox, but that is perhaps the best argument for it to be true. It is too simple and the Biblical support is too solid for it to have gone unnoticed for so long and by so many people.
The Messiah was born to a poor teenager in a barn. God is the small still voice that spoke to Elijah. From many stories in the Bible, it should be clear that God prefers the simple. The Bible is not some super complex riddle that only a super genius can solve. The solutions to some of the greatest mysteries in the Bible are amazingly simple, so simple that it is perhaps God’s greatest miracle that He has prevented everyone from seeing them.
© 2017 Don Herston