Satan's Origin and Activity
His tail drew a third of the stars[angels] of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
-Revelation 12:4, emphasis added
Where did the devil come from? He was formerly the highest-ranking angel in heaven--Lucifer. Isaiah 14 andEzekiel 28tell us that Satan was perfect in his original creation, and that he was the "covering cherub" over the throne of God, reflecting His glory. He walked in the garden of God and then fell into sin. Isaiah describes his fall from heaven through his five "I wills" that culminated in the heart of his iniquity: "I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:12-14). Jesus himself acknowledged this fall when He said: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18). Satan was thrown out of heaven because of pride. Because pride competes with God for control and glory, it is therefore the root of all sin.
When Satan fell from heaven, it appears that he took one-third of the angels to earth with him (Revelation 12:4). What is Satan doing now? His present activity is detailed in 2 Corinthians 4:3: But even if our gospel is veiled [by Satan], it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded (2 Corinthians 4:3 emphasis added). When you share the gospel, and a person looks right at you and says, "I don't get it, and I don't want it," you are seeing the blinding power of Satan in this world.
Many books are being written about "out of body" experiences of people who have died. They commonly report going to a great lighted place where a white-haired man talks to them. This is exactly what Satan is and does today. He does not wear red tights and have a pitchfork tail--he is an angel of light and a deceiver: Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15, emphasis added).
What can Satan do? Satan is powerful, but he can do only what God allows (Job 1:12, Job 2:4-7 . However, that is substantial. He tempted Eve and thereby brought sin into the world (Genesis 3); he tempted Christ (Matthew 4); he perverted God's Word (Matthew 4); he hindered God's servant (1 Thessalonians 2); he fought with Michael (Jude 1:9); he hinders the gospel (2 Corinthians 4; he snares the wicked (1 Timothy 3); he accuses the brethren (Revelation 12:10); he desires the nations (Revelation 16); and he has the world under his controlling influence (1 John 5).
In Revelation 12:6, we now see a reference to the second half of the Tribulation: Then the woman fled into the wilderness [to]a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Seven years divided in half is three and one-half years, forty-two months, or 1,260 days-all of which are metaphors for the second half of the Tribulation. That is the time the Antichrist goes into the temple of God in Jerusalem, sets up an image for himself, and starts persecuting the Jews. However, God will protect them again.
Aren't you grateful that as all this is unfolding, you will be safe in your eternal refuge--Jesus Christ? As a child of God, never forget that you are a member of the winning team!
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.