This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at www.dtbm.org
WEDNESDAY: 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.
Where did the devil come from? He was formerly the highest-ranking angel in heaven—Lucifer. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 tell 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, 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 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).
Now look at Revelation 12:5: She bore a male Child [Christ] who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne (v. 5). In this verse, there are three elements unique to Jesus in the entire universe: (1) His incarnation (“bore a male Child”); (2) His ascension (“caught up to God”); and (3) His Second Coming (“His throne”).
This “male Child” is to rule all nations with a rod of iron: “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:8).
Biblical scholars differ as to who this “male Child” is, and here are a few of their conclusions: Scott, Newell, Gaebelein, and Alford believe that the “male Child” refers to Christ; Ironside thinks he is Christ and the true church—His body; and Seiss considers him to be the invisible church. Personally, after much study, I am convinced that verse 5 is talking about the incarnated, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ.
The Greek word for Jesus being “caught up” is harpadzo, and is the same word used for both the Rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and Paul being “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2).
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!
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