Satan’s sphere is now restricted, and his time is short, Part 2 of 2

This is a continuation of the last blog post. I’ll say now, if you haven’t already bought a copy of Don Carson’s book Scandalous, then you need to. 🙂

A few verses to start with:

Revelation 12:7-9

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Luke 10:18

I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

In Revelation 12:7-9 we hear about this ancient battle involving Satan and Michael and other angels (Michael shows up in Daniel 10 of course — are these two passages related in some way?) In Luke 10 Jesus describes the manner in which he has seen Satan cast out of heaven.

Interestingly Don Carson draws a parallel between Revelation 12:7-9 and Luke 10:18. Here’s what he says:

With the onset of Messianic ministry, Satan is banished from heaven. When Jesus says this during his ministry, he does so in connection with the preaching and displays of power of the gospel itself as it is promulgated through his own appointed disciples–all of this in anticipation of the cross and resurrection that are just around the corner. “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” So also hear “The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray (Rev. 12:9). The decisive turning point has taken place; he is defeated in principle. That happened at the cross, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus, at the dawning of the kingdom of God.

This is a major theme in scripture. In Job, for instance, Satan appears in the presence of God along with “the sons of God”–other angelic beings. It is almost as if Satan has access to God at that point precisely because the redeeming work of Christ is not yet done. Satan is “the accuser of our brothers” (12:10) …

But now Satan is cast out of heaven. The accuser of the brothers and sisters is gone. Why? There has been war in heaven, and he has been cast out. The reason he has been cast out is the triumph of Christ. Satan has no basis for such accusation anymore. Why? Because a redeemer has arisen.

So we see that Satan’s situation has fundamentally changed since the cross, resurrection, and ascension. We understand how complete Christ’s victory is, and what a brutal, total defeat has been inflicted on Satan. He has no access to Christ and cannot contend with him. And he no longer has access to God as our accuser. This gives us some insight as to what lies behind the rage of the red dragon in Revelation 12.

Satan is furious, and he is attacking the church with astounding ferocity. However, he is doing this, not because he thinks he can gain the victory, but because his sphere is now restricted, and he knows his time is short. (Rev. 12:12).

This is reason to rejoice in Christ. Satan is ultimately defeated. But it is also a reminder not stray from the refuge of Christ, and not to be complacent (as is my tendency).

Ephesians 6:10-18a:

10Finally,be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

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