“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!” (Is 14:12)
When was the devil cast down to the earth?
SYNOPSIS: What did Jesus mean by the kingdom of God? – When would it be here on earth? – How much did the devil know about Jesus’s commission? – Did Jesus, the second man, have to qualify as a sinless human being to replace the sinful first man, Adam? – When did Satan fall like lightning from heaven? – Who is the ruler of the earth?
Not long before Jesus told his disciples of his impending death (Luke 9 & 10), he gave them authority to cast out devils and to preach, because “the kingdom of God has come near you”. His disciples returned astounded by their triumph in casting unclean spirits out of people. This had never been done before. It was then that “[Jesus] said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’”. But what did he mean?
The time of Jesus’s ministry was the start of the kingdom of God on earth, as he was the kingdom among us. And after Jesus’s death and resurrection, Satan’s power would begin to wane on the earth. His iron grip would be released from those who believed in the power of the Cross and who would call Christ Lord – those who submitted to God in humility, repentance and faith and who kept his commandments (John 14:15). And even if/when the devil persecuted them on earth, their eternal life with the Lord would be secure.
(Note: I acknowledge there are those who believe a Christian’s eternal life is secure – but it is my belief that it is the responsibility of each Christian to “finish the race”; Acts 20:23-24; 2 Tim 4:7; Eph 4:1. God promises he will never leave us nor forsake us, but he does not take away our freedom to reject and leave him, and thus suffer the consequences; Heb 6:4-6; Heb 3:6; Rev 3:11; Matt 24:4-5;13;25;46; Mark 3:28-30; Mark 13:13.)
Those who accept Christ would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit – the very nature and power of God dwelling within them, guiding them to live His way of life. This was to be the beginning of the New Covenant – a better covenant (Heb 7:22; Luke 22:19-20) – established on better promises between God and his people. This is because the Law of Moses, given by God to ancient Israel, was an inferior covenant for an allotted period of time (Heb 8:7). After all, the blood of goats and bulls could never save anyone (Heb 10:4). Only the sinless “precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” could take away the sins of the world (1 Pet 1:17; 1 John 2:2).
“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” (Gal 2:16)
Jesus described the kingdom of God to the multitudes in the parable of the mustard seed. It would start off “smaller than all the seeds on earth, but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches.” (Mark 4:31-32)
Such a small and apparently insignificant beginning (as small as a mustard seed) cannot describe the glorious and magnificent event when our King of kings, Lord of lords and Prince of Peace returns to the earth in full majesty, and all the inhabitants of the earth will see him (Matt 24:30; Mark 13:26).
Having once walked the earth as a human being, wearing a simple tunic and leather sandals, Jesus is destined to return in his full glory, radiating like the sun and with eyes like flaming fire. He will be wearing many crowns and riding a white horse. A heavenly army, clothed in the finest linen and mounted on white horses, will follow him (Rev 19:11-14). At that time, his feet will stand on the mount of Olives and the mount will cleave in two (Zech 14:4). Then the armies of the earth will gather together to attack him (Rev 19), but Christ will defeat the forces of evil and be victorious. He will then sit on the throne of David and establish the fulfilment of His kingdom , as He ushers in world peace to all who dwell on the earth.
“Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”(Is 9:7)
But, as Jesus described to the Pharisees, His kingdom would begin as an unobservable event. They did not recognise that the kingdom of God – Jesus himself – was in their midst and that he was (and is) king of it. After his death and resurrection to glory, the kingdom would be planted into the hearts of believing and faithful men and women through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, the kingdom of God is [in the midst of] you’.” (Luke 17:20-21)
Satan’s grip ON THE WORLD loosenS
When the kingdom of God took root with the coming of Christ, 4000 years after the creation, Satan’s grip on the world began to loosen, and a small number of people would become citizens of a new kingdom (in the spiritual realm) under a new King, with new rules, a new covenant and new administration (Luke 17:21). A few days before Jesus’ last Passover, he said: “The hour is come, that the son of man should be glorified… Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of the world be cast out” (John 12:1-31). The Greek word for “now” (nyn) means “at this time, the present”.
Jesus’s kingdom was not of this world, because he was not of this world (John 18:36), and by extension, neither would be his people, who were to become citizens of a new kingdom (John 17:1), after his death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Those who repented would be set free from sin, by the blood of Christ and the grace of God, and they would be given the gift of eternal life. Unrepentant citizens of Satan’s kingdom, however, would remain in sin, whose end is death (Rom 6:20-23).
Jesus prayed to the Father for the church (the spiritual body of believers): “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). Through belief, repentance, the waters of baptism and the laying on of hands, they would be transformed into a new creation, with a constant renewing of the mind (Rom 6:2-5; 2 Cor 4:16; Gal 2:20; Acts 8:17-18).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor 5:17)
The devil would have had suspicions as to why God came to earth as a man.
Yes, Satan did know the Scriptures, but so did the Jews, and they believed that Messiah would destroy Roman occupation and restore the physical kingdom of Israel when He arrived. The devil may well have come to the same conclusion. After all, a person cannot understand the Scriptures unless God Himself opens their mind (Luke 24:45).
The devil had tried to destroy the Christ child, but to no avail.
Later he attempted to deceptively bargain with Jesus – if He submitted to him, the devil would give Him all the kingdoms of the world there and then. When this also failed, he had Jesus persecuted, prosecuted, tortured and killed. How Satan must have revelled in his ability to put to death the Son of God, but in an astounding twist he had not anticipated, it was Christ who was triumphant!
The devil had not taken Jesus’ life; rather He had laid down His life voluntarily and had thus claimed victory over sin and death – and the works of the devil (John 10:18; 1 John 3:8).
Ultimately, Satan had overstepped his realm of authority by killing Jesus (John 14:30). Consequently, the devil was held liable and sentenced to be condemned (Matt 25:41).
Sometime around Jesus’ death (perhaps just before), Satan would have become aware that his appointment as ruler of this world was coming to an end and that he himself had been condemned, and his wrath would have been very great indeed!
The kingdom has begun
Nothing like this had happened in the history of the creation. God had become a man and a servant of no reputation, humbling himself being obedient to death on the Cross. Having been sinless and victorious over sin and death and having “disarmed principalities and powers… triumphing over them”, Christ had been resurrected and “highly exalted” and given a name above all names (Col 2:14-15). So that every knee should bow to him in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:7-11).
Christ’s sacrificial blood had opened the way for man to be released from the bondage of sin and the rule of the devil of this world. People could now be forgiven by God. Those who repent would receive his Holy Spirit and the gift of eternal life (Acts 13:48). They would be given God’s grace under the rulership of Christ– the Lord of heaven and earth (Matt 28:18; Acts 17:24).
They would love God’s righteous commandments more than the finest gold and become a royal priesthood (Ps 119: 127; 1 Pet 2:9) – in its fledgling form, on the earth – beginning as small as a mustard seed.
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
The Catholic Church claims it is the kingdom of God on earth and that this kingdom will grow until all the earth is at peace. This is false. But the kingdom of God has begun on earth – among the ekklēsia– “the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth”. This body of people is sometimes referred to as the “invisible church” – ie. repentant, committed and obedient believers who have His Spirit and are only known to God. This is in contrast to the “visible church” – that is, institutionalised church organisations and their multitudes of attendees. Jesus described this in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matt 13:24-30). And he taught the people saying, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt 7:21).
These people have been commissioned by God to preach the gospel to all nations (1 Cor 15:3-6; John 3:16; Rom 8:3-4). In this way, they will prepare the way for the King of kings and Lord of lords who will return and dispose of the devil and set up God’s kingdom on earth, bringing about world peace (Isaiah 11; Rev 20). “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you” (Matt 12:28).
The devil is defeated
The devil had attained the title of a temporary office “ruler of the world” through dishonest means, by deceiving the first woman in the Garden of Eden. The Most High could have legitimately destroyed him (thrown him into a lake of fire) after he sinned and had deceptively taken the position of “god [vice regent] of the world” from man. The Lord was under no obligation to give him, or allow him, to continue to hold that position for thousands of years. God owed Satan nothing. And God immediately condemned him and his fate was sealed (Gen 3:14-15; Is 14:15; Eze 28:17-18).
Nevertheless, God allowed the devil to hold onto his ill-begotten booty, because it served His greater purpose – for the testing of man (and angels). But Christ will not replace the devil by taking over his worldly throne, which is a seat of deception and lies, run in opposition to the government of God. “Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, Have fellowship with You?” (Ps 94:20)
Rather, at the designated time, Christ, the real ruler of the EARTH, will do away with Satan’s position and seat of power as “ruler of this WORLD”.
“He frustrates the devices of the crafty, So that their hands cannot carry out their plans. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, And the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them. They meet with darkness in the daytime, And grope at noontime as in the night.”
(Job 5:12-14; 2 Tim 3:8-9)
The tables turned on the devil when Christ fulfilled His mission on earth (Zech 14:9). He was defeated in a way he could never have anticipated.
The gap creation gospel message, proclaimed by some churches (such as the one I attended), which claims Jesus had to qualify as a sinless human so He could save the world by replacing the devil on the throne of the earth, is seriously flawed! Jesus did not have to qualify over the devil for anything (putting God in an inferior position to the devil). Rather, He came to live a life in complete submission to the Father and to die for our transgressions. Only then could death be swallowed up in victory. In this way, He would destroy the works of the devil, the one who once had the power of death (Matt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:54; Heb 2:14-15).
Just prior to his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (pictured), Jesus’s soul was exceedingly sorrowful and distressed. In prayer to his Father in Heaven he asked– not once, but three times – if it were possible to remove the great burden that was to be placed on him. And it is no wonder he uttered these words. The Romans had designed crucifixion to be the most humiliating, torturous and painful form of death known to man.
They used a flagrum, which is a type of whip, to rip off ribbons of flesh. Muscles turned to pulp and arteries and veins were laid bare. Sometimes the flagrum would connect to the abdomen, ripping it away so the intestines would spill out. The nails for the cross would go through the median nerve on the arms, holding up the body and incapacitating the hands – and much more.
Jesus, our Creator, knew intimately how much every fibre of his body would suffer. Not only that but Scripture tells us, “His appearance was marred more than any man” and his form was beyond human likeness (Is 52:14). What person would not want to avoid such a death?
“I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. … For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” (Ps 22:14, 16-18)
Nevertheless – and this is the whole point! Jesus did not seek his own will but that of his Father’s (Matt 26: 39, 42, 44), because there was no other way to pay the price for human sin to redeem mankind from the curse of death. That is why God takes sin so seriously – and why we should, too!
JESUS BECOMES the epitome of sin
What happened on Calvary is inconceivable to a mere human being. When Jesus – the last Adam – hung on the Cross, the Father would transfer onto him the impossible weight of every single sin – great and small, past, present and future – committed since the creation of man and to the return of Christ!
Jesus was literally going to be made sin for us. He would suffer emotional, spiritual and mental agony, and he would experience physical horrors and the moral guilt of being the embodiment of all sin before a holy God.
Furthermore, at the time of Jesus’s greatest need, the Father had to turn away – because Jesus became the epitome of sin, the curse and unrighteousness (2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13). Thus total separation entered their relationship and became a reality for the first time ever, as there can be no unity between the holy and the profane (Eze 44:23; Eze 22:26).
At the crucifixion, Jesus, who was sinless, took all the sins of mankind and became sin for us, so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to our Creator. And all because God loves us more than we could imagine and wants us to spend eternity with him:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)
(Painting: What our Lord saw from the cross, by James Tissot.)
After Jesus’s death, the devil’s office as the ruler of this world was overturned. He would no longer have power over death, and the time would come when he would have no subjects to rule and thus no kingdom (spiritual realm) to govern. But until Christ returns, the “world” would remain under the “prince of this world“; the “prince of the power of the air” (John 14:30; Eph 2:2 ).
Without a doubt, learning of these events would have enraged Satan more than any other event in the history of creation.
Knowing he had lost his throne of power (death) and his time was short, he would have been furious! So did he ascend into heaven to do battle with God at this time? Interestingly, there is no Scripture, which I can find, that says Satan actually ascended into heaven and engaged God in battle; rather it was in his heart and mind – “in his dreams” or “imagination”, so to speak:
“For you have said in your heart; ‘I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most High’.” (Is 14:13-14)
“I saw Satan fall like lightning”
As Satan never actually exalted his throne above the angels of God, nor did he sit on the mount of the congregation in the north, where God’s throne is, nor did he ever become like the Most High, this may well have been in his mind but not have happened at all, because that kind of power was out of his domain and authority, which was restricted to the earth. (Remember, the devil could not even lay one hand on Job’s oxen without God’s permission; Job 1:9-12.) This limitation of the devil’s rule, authority and powers is confirmed in Psalm 24:3. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein … Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?” It is also confirmed in the Book of Revelation, which tells us that it is Christ who rules over the nations – not Satan. “… Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth…” (Rev 1:5).
And in Jeremiah 27:1-8, God sends messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon and Judah that he has “given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him.” God then says He will punish any nations that does not serve Nebuchadnezzar for His appointed time.”
In contrast what we do read about the devil is: “On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life” (Gen 3:14). “Your pomp is brought you down to Sheol… you are fallen from heaven… you are cut down to the ground… you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit” (Is 14:11-15). “I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; I cast you to the ground” (Eze 28:16-17). “Now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
This would also see the fulfilment of God’s curse upon him– that he would “eat dust all the days of his life” (Gen 3:14). That is, all his plans would never come to fruition, so he will never be satisfied.
“A great fiery dragon… His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth… A war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan… he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev 12)
There seems to be a lot about casting the devil out but nothing about him actually ascending.
Also, many Scriptures tell us, “The time has come” (John 12:23-24; 1 Pet 4:17; Mark 1:15), and that it is God – not Satan – who determines appointed times and boundaries (Acts 17:26). Considering all this – and knowing God is in total control, but the devil likes us to think he is – the only conclusion I can come to is that Satan never ascended into heaven in a coup d’état at all. Rather, he was in complete subjection to God and everything was going to the Almighty’s plan. After all, when Pilate told Jesus he had the power to crucify him, “Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above’” (John 19:11).
The devil’s fury
During the time of the Old Covenant, the devil still had access to heaven (Job 1:6) but God now determined the time had come that he should be cast out, never to return (Rev 12). And Jesus said he saw it happen, not long before his death (John 12:1-31).
This scenario would mean the devil was already in heaven at the time and it was God who took the initiative to remove his freedom/command to visit the heavenly realm, and He banished him for good, by casting him to the earth, where he still had jurisdiction for a time.
And God tells us how it happened, in Rev 12:7-9. The devil did not ascend and attack God and the angels – rather, “War broke out IN heaven”. And it was Michael and his angels who began the expulsion and “the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven” (NIV).
The devil seemed astounded by this turn of events, because “when the dragon saw he had been hurled to the earth” he was furious (v12-13).
As for the fallen angels, they may have all been with the devil at this time, although that would mean that none were on earth. So it makes more sense that they were all cast out by decree, whether they were there or not. God gave the order for the devil and his angels to be thrown out of heaven, “because Satan was overcome with the blood of the Lamb”.
As a consequence, a great battle erupted in heaven, because the devil did not want to lose that privilege, where he could vent his opinions and accuse God’s people.
Now Christ’s followers were to come under a new jurisdiction – a new covenant with a new King – and thus no place in heaven was found for the devil any longer (Rev 12:8). That privilege had now taken away from him. Clearly Revelation 12:7-13 is not a description of Satan ascending into heaven to attack God but of him being thrown out.
The devil’s expulsion from heaven appears, from Scripture (Luke 10:18; John 12:31), to have occurred just prior to Christ’s death and resurrection, and before the devil understood what was going on. After all, God often makes pronouncements prior to an event (because He has already decreed them), so Christ’s death and man’s salvation had already occurred in this sense (Is 53).
After Satan was cast out, he was banned from ever returning to heaven again.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down’.” (Rev 12:9-10).
No longer could he appear before God’s throne with his lies and accusations against His people
He could accuse God’s people on earth, through his human subjects and human authorities, but not before God in heaven. (These people were to become citizens of a new kingdom – His kingdom; Phil 3:20; Matt 12:28).
Now, Jesus Christ the righteous would be sitting at the right hand of the Father, continuously, as their Intercessor and Advocate – intervening on their behalf for their sins to be pardoned, because He is the Atonement for their sins.
Not only that but one day all the nations of the earth would be the Lord’s inheritance and citizens of His kingdom, too (Ps 82:8).
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:1-3)
Satan enters judas
The devil’s fury at being thrown out of heaven would have been intense and so he turned his attention to destroying Jesus (the Messiah). Satan began by “entering Judas” who “went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains how he might betray Him to them” (Luke 22:3-4). No wonder Jesus poured out his heart to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, “praying in agony” so that “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Jesus knew full well what was coming – an event like nothing else in the history of the world.
The Son of God would be given into the hands of the devil for a short time. Jesus would be betrayed, scorned, abused, accused, tortured, beaten beyond recognition and horrifically murdered. On top of this, he would have all the sins of the world placed upon his shoulders. The devil had never before been granted such a level of power and he used it to the full – and God’s anguish had never been greater.
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Mark 15:33-34)
After Christ voluntarily fulfilled his mission on earth, great supernatural activity sent by the Father broke out – the sky turned black, there were earthquakes, the temple veil was rent from the top to the bottom, graves opened and the sleeping bodies of believers awoke and went into the city and appeared to many (Mark 27:51-54).
At some point, probably at the resurrection, the devil came to the realisation that Jesus had not planned to set up his kingdom over all the earth at that time, at all. Rather, the kingdom of God was a spiritual kingdom, commencing with the first century church – beginning as small as a “mustard seed”. Now, perhaps, the devil became aware for the first time of the incredible plan of God – that mankind could be forgiven and saved from their sins. Killing Jesus had not destroyed God’s plan at all; it has facilitated it!
The devil had been outwitted and now he turned his wrath against God’s people to “make war with the saints”. (The twelve apostles pictured.) These people, who were no longer part of Satan’s kingdom, were spreading the gospel message, which would bring even more people into God’s kingdom (Dan 7:21; Rev 13:7).
The devil knew his time was short and he was enraged (Rev 12:12)! And so his persecution against Christians began.
Stephen, a disciple full of faith and power, was one of the earliest martyrs (Acts 6:5). And by 64AD, the first state-sponsored terror campaign directed against Christians was conducted by one of the most debased of all emperors, Nero.
Over the last 2000 years, millions of believers have died for their faith (and are still suffering, being imprisoned and tortured, and dying today in many parts of the world). And the devil’s masterstroke has been to utilise the power not only of governments but also certain church organisations to inflict this persecution. (Refer to Resources section on this website.)
The Book of Revelation is about the end times – the last 2000 years after the birth of the church and the beginning of the kingdom of God. It explains the devil’s continued wrath against God’s people, and the escalating events of the latter days as his reign draws towards the end. That is why Satan hates the ekklesia, because they are not part of his kingdom nor subject to his rule any more, as the world is (1 John 5:19).
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Rev 12:12)
But in the midst of persecution, the Lord would be with his people, to comfort and sustain them. He promised to never test them more than they could bear and their reward for enduring would be great (1 Cor 10:13; Rev 5:10).
Nevertheless, the devil is so corrupted and twisted, he still thinks he can win this battle and retain his position on earth (Rev 17:14), but he will be totally vanquished.
With regard to Isaiah 14, much seems to be prophetic, about the millennium: “The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing” (v 7). And verses 12-15 also fit into the beginning of the millennium setting:
“How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you have been cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations. For you have said in your heart:… ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” (Is 14:12-15)
In other words, Satan desired to be like God, however, he was cast down to the lowest depths.
In gap creation, these verses are said to refer to Satan being thrown out of heaven after he declared war against God during the (unbiblical) “initial creation”. But what possible “nations” could Satan have “weakened” in the context of a previous earth? Especially when we consider that the Hebrew word for “nations” (gowy) means “People, usually of non-Hebrew people, of descendants of Abraham, of Israel”. Also, “you shall be brought down to Sheol” is written in the future tense. This is confirmed in the Book of Revelation, which describes the devil’s condemnation and sentence.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” (Rev 21:1-3)
My explanation of when and how the devil was cast to the earth is not set in concrete, and I may go back and change things over time, as my understanding grows. But it does show how a biblical event line, including all aspects of Satan, his rebellion, sin and evil, fits more easily into a young earth creation worldview than a convoluted gap theory narrative that relies on terms not found in the Bible.
I have asked several gap creationists for a similar creation narrative or event line, supported with Scriptures, but no one has been willing or able to do so. I wish they would, because they would immediately see it is utter confusion, as I did myself when I attempted to put all the bits together.
THE DEVIL’S POWERS EMBELLISHED
In short: gap creation attributes Satan with imaginary powers over a great period of time, in which all his devilish achievements are said to have taken place. Not only that but it is Satan who is the initiator of war against God – at least twice.
And, according to some gap creationists, the gospel message is to proclaim that Christ had to “qualify” as a human (so as to replace the first human, Adam, who failed) in order to take over Satan’s position as ruler of the earth – rendering the redemption of mankind as secondary.
Not all gap creationists believe this, but it all goes to show just how far a seriously flawed doctrine can lead a believer away from the heart of the true gospel message and into fables.
In contrast, young earth creation exposes the devil as a liar, murderer and coward from the beginning of creation, not having the capability to do anything outside of God’s supreme jurisdiction. At the heart of this gospel message, God has always held the title of Lord of heaven and earth (Acts 17:24) and he didn’t have to qualify for anything – especially for a seat of devilish power. Rather Jesus voluntarily came to earth for one purpose – to humble himself in obedience to the Father, live a righteous life, and take upon himself all the sins of the world at the Cross. Thus he would pay the price for man’s sins and redeem him from the sentence of death.
As Christ has claimed victory over sin and death, the devil’s office as god of the evil systems of this world will eventually have run its course and he will be disposed of.
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” (Gal 1:3-4)
If this is what happened, it would mean that God’s sovereignty reigns unabated and supreme, and Satan’s power and authority have always been limited, because he is unable to do anything outside of God’s purpose and will – on earth or in heaven – something else the devil doesn’t want us to know.
the crucifixion changed everything!
God divorced the nation of Israel when they were sent into Assyrian captivity. His covenant with the nation of Judah continued for another 740 years. After the death of Christ on the Cross, this old covenant ended. On the death of a spouse one is free to re-marry (according to God’s law). Now, after his death and resurrection, Christ could legally make a new covenant with a new people – not restricted to a particular people group this time, but based on the promises made to Abraham. Christ was the “seed” through whom all the nations would be blessed (Gen 22:18).
Thus the new covenant had begun – a better covenant with better promises (Heb 8:6-8,13). The accuser of God’s people, the devil, was cast out and banned from visiting heaven ever again. Instead God’s people would have a Mediator and Advocate – Jesus Christ, the righteous – who would bring their petitions to the Father (Heb 12:24; 1 John 2:1).
God’s people were now freed from the ruler of this world and his [spiritual] kingdom, to become citizens of a new kingdom – the kingdom of God, under their new King – Messiah (Phi 3:20).
The old covenant delivered an external set of regulations, observances, sacrifices and laws to a called out people – the children of Israel. God was their Benefactor. Following these ordinances made the people holy in his sight and he blessed and protected them accordingly. But it was an inferior covenant that could not change their hearts of stone (Eze 36:26; 11:19; Jer 31:33;
Heb 8:10). Under the new covenant, however, faithful believers would be governed internally by God’s Holy Spirit and the law of love and righteousness would rule their hearts of flesh.
(John 13:34-35; John 14:15).
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. … Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.” (Rom 13:8,10)
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“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” (Is 53:7)
“For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.” (Ps 22:16-17)