THE HISTORY OF SATAN
Satan is a person and has a history. No intelligent believer in the Bible denies this, for the Bible teaches in both Testaments that such a being exists, and more than that, the history of this person is given in the Word of God. He is not a divine being, but a creature. His origin, his work and his final destiny are revealed in the Scriptures. Yet it needs to be stated that much in connection with this person is obscure and that certain facts can only be learned by inference. Questions are often asked concerning this being, which no one can answer. We mean these questions “Why God created such a being, if He knew that he would be His enemy and do the awful work he has done and which he is still doing,” or “Why does God still permit him to do this work and why does He not end his career?” In such matters it behooves us to confess our ignorance and also our faith in an all-wise God, whose wisdom, sovereignty and justice are perfect. Some day these unrevealed mysteries will be all cleared up for the Saints of God.
What Person He Was
The conception, which originated in the middle ages, in connection with the gross perversion of the truth of God, that this person is one of repulsive and grotesque countenance, with the figure of a monstrosity, is an invention and cannot be verified from Scripture. The Bible knows nothing of such a being with a horrible face and figure. The very opposite is the teaching of the Word of God. He was originally the greatest and most marvelous creation of God. Though now fallen and the enemy of God, he still retains much of his original beauty and wisdom. In Isaiah xiv:12 the word “Lucifer” (lightbearer) refers to him. He is called “Son of the Morning.” That must have been his name when unfallen. Still more striking is the description of the same person in one of the great prophetic utterances of Ezekiel. In chapter xxviii:11-19 we read the following:
“Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so; thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”
These words are words of lamentation over the wicked king of Tyrus. While this king is mentioned the description does not fit him at all, but must be applied to the one who was the unseen power behind the throne of the Tyrian king. The great city of Tyrus, once so glorious and now forever gone, is a type of the commercial glory of the world, its wealth and its prince, foreshadowing the final great world-city and world-system Babylon. Satan controlled Tyrus as he will also control the coming, final Babylon. We have therefore here a description of Satan in his original condition as an unfallen creature. He was full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. He was in Eden the garden of God and every precious stone was his covering. He was the anointed cherub that covereth, perhaps an archangel like Michael. He was in the mountain of God and perfect in the day of his creation.
We quote another passage from which we may learn by inference his original greatness and majesty. Jude predicts the final apostasy of this present age, which culminates in man despising dominions and speaking evil of dignities. He then makes a statement in which Satan is mentioned: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee” (verses 8-9). It is a unique revelation nowhere else found in the Bible that when Moses’ body was to be laid away, the devil appeared on the scene. Perhaps Michael was commissioned by the Lord to bury the body of Moses. The devil evidently laid claim to the body of God’s servant. Perhaps he wanted the body to be preserved in an embalmed condition as an object of idolatry. When Michael faced him he durst not bring a railing accusation against him. He still recognized in him, though fallen, the greatness of his original being. This is sufficient to show that Satan was once a mighty, glorious, majestic being, full of wisdom and beauty. Being a creature he is not omnipotent, nor is he omniscient or omnipresent.
His fall and how he became the great enemy of God is also revealed. We find it in the two chapters already quoted, Isaiah xiv and Ezekiel xxviii. He said in his heart “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah xiv:13-14). Ezekiel’s prophecy tells us that iniquity was found in him. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou has corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezek. xxviii:17). In the beginning of this chapter a similar statement is made, which also must be applied to Satan. “Thus saith the Lord God, because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God and sit in the seat of God.” The New Testament also bears witness to the fact and reminds us of the above revelations in 1 Timothy iii:6. Speaking of the qualifications of an elder, we read, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” The word condemnation has the meaning of “crime” in the Greek. He revolted against God; he was not satisfied with the position and place the Creator had given him and aimed to occupy the throne above the stars and be like the Most High. Then he fell and became the enemy of God, which he still is and ever will be. In his attempt to become like the Most High other angels sided with him and shared in the fall likewise.
Where Was His Original Dwelling Place
If this being attempted to put his throne above the stars, then must he have had a throne somewhere else. If he aimed to ascend into heaven and be like the Most High, he must have had some dwelling place which God had assigned to him. There is no positive Scripture concerning this place. Yet by inferential evidence the knowledge can be gained that our earth in its original condition was the domain of this great creature of God.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We do not know when this was. In certain Bible editions the date 4004 B. C. is placed in the margin over against Gen. i:1. But that is incorrect. It would make the earth not quite 6000 years old. Science has demonstrated the fact that our globe is of a very great age. No human being can tell the exact time when God created the heavens and the earth. It may have been 2 million or 20 million or 200 million years ago. We know, however, that the human race became a recent tenant on this earth. The human race is not older than about 6000 years.
In that distant past before man was created the earth was in a different form. At that time there was a gigantic animal creation and an equally gigantic vegetation in existence. It has been brought to light through the fossil beds; but in none of these fossils is found a trace of a human being. This great original creation was plunged at one time into an awful catastrophe. Death and destruction came upon it, every living thing was extinguished, while water covered everything and all was enveloped in darkness.
This is exactly the condition of the earth as described in the second verse of the Bible. “And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” If we turn to Isaiah xlv:18 we find a significant statement: “For thus saith the Lord who created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain; He formed it to be inhabited.” The word vain (tohu) is the same word used in Gen. i:2 and translated “without form.” From this we learn that God did not originally create the earth as without form and void, enshrouded in darkness. It became this through a judgment which fell upon it. Between the first and second verses of the first chapter of Genesis is therefore a long, immeasurable period of time. Now, if this original earth was ruined and passed through a judgment, why did this ruin and judgment take place? This question must remain unanswered unless we bring that first judgment in connection with the revolt and fall of Satan, who had his dwelling place on this earth. This explains not only the ruined condition of the earth in Gen. i:2, but throws a great deal of light on Satan’s successful attempt to get back his lost dominion through man and his tenacious hold on the earth, as the prince of the world and god of this age.
Man Upon The Earth
In God’s own time this earth was put into the condition to become the habitation for the human race. Of this we read in Genesis i:3-31. God then created man in His own image, and said, “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. i:26). “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over everything that moveth upon the earth.” Thus the earth, which was originally Satan’s habitation, was given to man.
The Fall of Man
When all this took place this great fallen being was no doubt an eyewitness. He beheld God working in rearranging the chaos of the original earth produced by his revolt. He saw how God created man. He heard how God spoke to man and gave him to possess his former estate which he had lost by his rebellion. He beheld God putting man and woman into the garden of Eden. He listened when God said “Of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. ii:17). Then he must have been moved with envy and jealousy. He sees another in possession of his past domain. Something like this must have come into his mind—if I only can get man ruined and turn him against God, if I can make of man a rebel and lay hold on him, I shall get back the place which once was mine and then defy God.
The third chapter in Genesis shows how he succeeded in carrying out this plan. Through the serpent he approached the woman and said, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” God had spoken; the first word to man had come from His lips. Satan’s first work was to make God’s creature doubt God’s Word. The first destructive critic who denied that God hath spoken was Satan. Every man, no matter what learning he may claim, who denies the inspiration of the Bible, and that the Bible is the revelation and Word of God, is the mouthpiece of Satan. Emboldened by the woman’s answer he said “Ye shall not surely die,” an out and out denial of what God had said; and then adds the lying promise, “Your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods.” He wanted to be like the Most High, and now he injects his own character into man. The transgression followed; sin came into the world and death by sin, the moment God’s commandment was disobeyed. What a sneer and laughter, what a triumphant shout Satan must have uttered when the deed was done! And with the fall of man he laid hold again on this earth and became its prince.
Satan’s Doom Announced
Then the Lord sought that which was lost, the guilty pair, and addressed the serpent. The words the Lord then spoke contain the first prophecy of the Bible. It concerns Satan, how God will deal with him and his final doom. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. iii:15). Without fully explaining this prophecy, which may well be termed the germ of all subsequent prophecy, we but point out what it means. From the woman there is to come a seed, an offspring who is to bruise the head of the serpent (Satan), that is, overcome the serpent, and that the serpent is to bruise the heel of the seed of the woman. Furthermore, there is to rage a conflict between the serpent and the woman and between the serpent’s seed and the seed of the woman. There can be no question whatever that the seed of the woman means the Son of God in His incarnation. Paul writes to the Galatians, “But when the fulness of time was come God sent forth His Son made of a woman” (Gal. iv:4). He is the seed of the woman, the virgin-born Son of God. His death is mentioned in this first prophecy as the bruising of His heel. Then the final victory over Satan and his final doom, his head is to be bruised. And till that is accomplished there is to be conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, a conflict between those who side with God, believe on and wait for the promised One, and those who side with Satan and his works. Satan heard then from the lips of Jehovah that the seed of the woman would conquer him and seal his doom.
His Work and the Conflict Begins
The predicted conflict began at once. Two sons are born to Adam and Eve. Satan watched them. He is interested to see if one of them might be “the seed.” He saw Cain bringing an offering of the fruit of the ground (the labor of his hands) unto the Lord. Satan must have been delighted with Cain, as he beheld him, as a self-righteous man, rejecting God’s provision for him as a sinner. He knew Cain was his man and belonged to his seed. It was different with Abel. Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock and of the fat thereof. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts” (Heb. xi:3). He was a believer, who owned himself as a sinner and because he believed, God accepted his offering. As Satan beheld this scene he must have imagined that Abel was “the seed of the woman.” Then he filled Cain with wrath and moved him to slay his brother Abel. Thus Satan manifested himself in the beginning of the human race as the liar and the murderer. Our Lord testified of this character of the enemy when He spoke to those who conspired to kill Him and who belonged to the Devil’s seed: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it” (John viii:44). But the murder of Abel was unavailing. Eve bore another son “and called his name Seth, for God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew” (Gen. iv:25). Satan was defeated for the first time.
An Interesting History
An interesting history follows. The Old Testament history is the history of conflict between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Satan continually worked to oppose God, attempting to prevent the coming of that promised seed of the woman. He knew if he succeeded in this he would not again be dispossessed from this planet and his own doom would never come. Besides trying to prevent the coming of the promised One, his aim is to control the nations, have dominion over them, and to deny the truth of God made known to man by revelation. He corrupted the human race before the deluge so that the earth was corrupt before God and filled with violence (Gen. vi:11). This great being knew well that God is holy and cannot tolerate evil. He plunged the race into great wickedness in the hope that God would destroy the whole race and leave him possessor of the earth. But Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord.
When Satan received the knowledge that the seed to conquer him and seal his doom would come through Abraham, he then opposed the seed of Abraham to frustrate God’s purpose. The land which was promised by Jehovah to Abraham and his descendants was settled by the nations which were Satan-controlled and were his willing instruments. Satan’s power in wickedness and vileness was manifested in the Canaanites. That is why the Lord commanded their utter extermination. So that in the land itself there was a steady conflict between the seed of the serpent, the Canaanites, and the seed of the woman, godly Israelites.
When Pharaoh gave the command to kill all the male children born to Israel in Egypt, it was another attempt of Satan to make the coming of the promised seed impossible (Ex. i:16). But God took care and used the Hebrew midwives, the weaker vessels, to bring to naught the wicked plan. Pharaoh brought up in his own palace one of the Hebrew boys, whom Satan would have killed; and that boy became the great leader and deliverer of Israel. All the persecutions of the people Israel in Egypt were Satan’s work. When at last they had left the house of bondage, Satan in impotent rage stirred up Pharaoh to attempt their destruction; but Pharaoh and his army found their graves in the Red Sea.
Afterward Jehovah announced that the promised seed should be of the house of David. Then Satan watched David and his descendants. Through Saul he persecuted God’s anointed, but failed to touch his life. Immediately after the Lord had made the covenant with David (2 Sam. vii) promising him a son whose Kingdom shall be established (the seed—Christ), Satan led David to commit his awful sin. Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, belonged to the seed of the serpent. This wicked son of David slew all his brethren. It was Satan’s attempt to exterminate the descendant of David (2 Chronicles xxi:4). Then the Arabians came and slew all his sons except Ahaziah. Still greater was Satan’s attempt to end forever the house of David through wicked queen Attaliah. She was the mother of Ahaziah. When her son had been slain “she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah” (2 Chronicles xxii:10). Satan had made the awful suggestion to her and when the seed royal was destroyed he thought he had triumphed at last. “But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the King, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from the King’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram, the wife of Jehorada the priest, hid him from Attaliah so that she slew him not. And he was with them hid in the house of God six years” (2 Chron. xxvii:11-12). Satan was defeated.
Through Haman he made still another attempt to have all the Jews, men, women, and children, killed. God watched over His people again and Satan’s plan was frustrated. And how much else might be added! Throughout Old Testament history he had his chosen instruments, like Nimrod, the kings of Babylon, the Pharaohs, the Assyrian, the Persian Kings, Alexander and others through whom he attempted world dominion. He instigated the cruel and terrible wars. Israel, the people of God, were led by him into idolatry and apostasy. In all this and much besides his aim was the defiance of God and to keep God from carrying out his plan of redemption though the promised seed.
The Promised Seed and Satan’s Opposition
The promised seed came. The Son of God took on the creature’s garb and became man, the son of David and son of Abraham, according to the flesh. All Satan had done for 4,000 years had been in vain. God had kept His promise. King Herod was the seed of the serpent and when the child was born, Satan moved him to seek the young child to destroy him. Herod, inspired by the murderer from the beginning, “exceeding wroth, sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof from two years old and under” (Matt. ii:16). But God had watched, and the young child was on the way to Egypt when Satan’s suggestion was carried out by the Roman soldiers.
And how many more times he must have made the same attempt! When Satan had taken him on the pinnacle of the temple and suggested “cast thyself down,” he tried it once more. The people of Nazareth were the serpent’s seed and under his control when they rushed him out of the city and attempted to cast him headlong down a precipice. The storms on the lake were Satan’s work to take His life. Little did he know that the ship in which the Son of God slept peacefully, though it filled with water, was the only unsinkable ship which sailed the seas. He could not touch the seed of the woman, for He was holy, without sin, and death had not claim on Him.
Yet He had come to die “that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” He knew that the Lord Jesus would get the victory and the dominion over this earth by the way of the Cross. That is why he took Him on the exceeding high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. He offered all to the Son of Man, if He but would fall down before him. He wanted Him to keep away from the cross for he knew then and knows now, far better than many a so-called theologian, that redemption for the individual and redemption for this earth, the nations and groaning creation has its blessed source in the work of the Cross. He was defeated in all his malice and cunning. And finally the Cross, preceded by the agony in Gethsemane. Satan was there; with unspeakable hatred he planned His death. He entered into Judas; he used the Pharisees and Sadducees, the priests and elders, which were all Satan’s seed, to have Him put to death. The cry “Away with Him! Crucify Him!” was inspired by himself. He used man to dishonor the Son of God, to revile Him, spit in His face, to scourge Him and finally to nail Him to the Cross. Did he think that he might yet get the victory and keep the Lord Jesus from finishing the work the Father gave Him to do? We do not know if such was the case, but we know that while the Son of God gave Himself, Satan had also his part in His rejection and His death. Our Lord conquered. He won the victory and those blessed never-to-be-forgotten words, “It is finished” tell of the final doom of Satan and the coming glories of a new heaven and a new earth. The thorn-crowned Man of that cross of shame will some day be the glory-crowned Man who claims His inheritance, and because he wore the thorns and paid for all sin’s curse, He will rid this earth from the works of the devil.
The tomb was closed with the big stone and then sealed with the Roman seal. A watch too is set. How careful Satan is! What a good memory he has! Yet how blind! He wanted to prevent His triumphant resurrection, as if he had more power than God! On the third day the stone was rolled away. He came forth. Death and the grave are conquered. He is the resurrection and the life. Then the man-child, whom the dragon wanted to devour (Rev. xii) was caught up to the throne of God, destined to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Like another Joash, He is hidden in the house of God. He fills the throne there and awaits in that place of glorious exaltation the time when Satan will be dethroned and He, the Son of Man, will receive His own throne.
The Conflict Continues
As stated elsewhere, Satan by having succeeded in getting the Jews and Gentiles to reject the Prince of Life and the Lord of Glory, became what he has not been in previous ages, “the god of this age” (2 Cor. iv:4). And so the conflict continues. Satan can no longer attempt to prevent the coming of the promised seed or attack His Person, for He is in glory as the glorified Man. He knows, however, that He has a seed on this earth, a seed which has the promise given that he, Satan, “is to be bruised completely” under their feet. This seed is the church. The enmity and conflict during this present age is therefore between the seed of the serpent and the seed of Christ, those who are in Him and in whom Christ dwelleth.
All students of Prophecy know that the seven church messages in the book of Revelation (chapters ii and iii) contain a prophetic forecast of the history of the church on earth, from the apostolic age to the time when the true church is taken to glory and the apostate church disowned by the Lord. In these prophetic messages Satan’s work in opposition to the church is made known. In the Apostolic age he acted in introducing error; he sowed the tares. After the Apostles had passed away a time of great persecution set in which is indicated in the message to Smyrna. The Roman emperors were the serpent’s seed. They claimed divine honors and worship. As Satan’s instruments they persecuted the church, and thousands upon thousands of believers died the martyrs’ death. The cruel tortures and horrible forms of death were Satan’s work by which he attempted to exterminate the church. When he found that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church, and that the church increased in spite of these persecutions, then he began to corrupt the church. The professing church settled down where Satan’s throne is, that is, she gave up the place of separation and became a world institution. Gradually the Gospel and the doctrine of Christ became perverted, heathenish customs were introduced and finally the culmination was reached in the Romish apostasy. These developments are described in the messages to Pergamos and Thyatira. When the Reformation set in the fires of persecution were kindled again; once more Satan, as the murderer, tries to prevent the victory of the truth of Christ and the Gospel. Satan’s work can thus be traced in the history of the church down to our own times. The destructive criticism of our own times, the so-called “new theology,” the different systems, which deny the Deity of our Lord and which reject His atoning death, like “Christian Science,” belong to the seed of the serpent. And so does Spiritism, Theosophy, Mormonism and other cults. In these systems and cults he appears as an angel of light, blinding the eyes of them that believe not. “And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. xi:14-15).
Why He Hates the Church
He hates the true church because he knows its members are the blood-bought hosts of the Son of God, destined to rule and reign with Him over this earth, which Satan still holds in his grasp. There is another reason why he has tried to exterminate the true church or to corrupt it. Satan has knowledge concerning the future. When our Lord was on earth the demons cried out “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matt. viii:29). From this we learn that the demons know the difference between the first and second coming of our Lord. They know when He comes the second time their doom will be sealed and they will no longer be permitted to torment and ruin the bodies and souls of men. Satan unquestionably knows his doom and that it is linked up with the Return of our Lord. He also knows that the church, as the body of Christ, must be completed before He comes again. This must be a leading reason why he hates the church and attempts to corrupt it by evil doctrines and persecutes those who are Christ’s. All his efforts are unavailing for the Lord Jesus Christ keeps His people.
World Dominion Satan’s Endeavor
Throughout this age this enemy of God also endeavors to control the earth politically and rule the nations. The Roman emperors mostly all aimed at world-dominion and did the devil’s bidding to obtain their object. What horrible things were done and the depths of wickedness history makes known to us. Throughout the centuries of our age, again and again, he raised up instruments and inspired them to great deeds in bloody wars to control nations and kingdoms. Napoleon is a notable example. His ambition was to become the head of a great European empire. A cartoonist of 1812 pictured Satan holding Napoleon in his lap and saying to him, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” If this was true of Napoleon that he was of the seed of the serpent, doing his will, how much more is it true of the Hohenzollern, William II. His deeds and the deeds of his associates in this war of all wars surpass the deeds of Nero, Attila and Napoleon. The devil’s bait was swallowed by this Prussian emperor and he hoped to gain world dominion, but has now found out that the devil is a liar.
Nor must we forget the popes with their spurious claims of being Christ’s vice-regents on earth and their attempt to exercise temporal power. Behind their claim there stands the same dark shadow.
Satan’s Final Opposition
When this age ends Satan will make a final effort in opposing God. He will be permitted to succeed for a brief time and do what is in his heart to do. This takes place after the true church has left the earth. Satan will then be cast out of heaven and coming down to this earth once more in person, he manifests great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time (Rev. xii:12). The mystery of lawlessness, which has been at work from the beginning will break out fully and find a consummation through the power of Satan. The thirteenth chapter of Revelation gives the future history of Satan’s seeming success and triumph. He will succeed in forming a great empire, which is the old Roman empire in a revived form. This empire, which is called a beast, will receive Satan’s power, and will have over it a wicked leader, whom Daniel saw as the little horn on the ten-horned beast. The dragon’s plan to control the earth has seemingly been realized. He then institutes the great tribulation. But there is a second beast mentioned in Revelation xiii. He has two horns like a lamb but speaks as a dragon. This is the Antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition. Like the little horn, the political leader, this second beast is Satan’s man. He leads the religious apostasy and tries to stamp out what is left of the truth of God on the earth. He himself claims to be God and takes the place in the temple of God (in Jerusalem), and by lying signs and wonders backs up his claims. His work is described in Rev. xiii:11-18 and 2 Thess. ii:3-12. Fearful will be those days when the true church is gone and when God, as a judgment, lets Satan rule over those who rejected the offers of His love in His blessed Son. Another work of his is seen in the final Babylon and the scarlet clad woman, who rides the beast (the revived Roman empire). And finally when the hour approaches of Christ’s visible and glorious return, Satan summons “the kings of the earth and their armies, gathering them together to make war against Him that sat on the horse and against his army” (Rev. xix:19). But then his defeat has come. The King of kings and Lord of lords appears in glory. The glory-flash, the brightness of His Coming strikes down the beast and the false prophet (Antichrist). The battle of Armageddon of short duration is over. Satan and all his hosts are utterly defeated. In Revelation xx we have the record of what will happen to the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan. He will be chained and cast into the pit of the abyss for a thousand years so that he can seduce the nations no more. He is dethroned and Christ is enthroned. Christ and His Saints reign over the earth. During this millennium righteousness and peace will reign. Wars will be no more, for the supreme war-lord is chained in prison. Armies will be unknown, for he who is behind it all has no more power. Idolatries and its degrading immoralities are no longer known, for he who deceived the nations has been arrested. Nor will there be any more cults which deny the Lord, His virgin birth, His resurrection, for the liar can lie no more and the visible presence of Christ stops every mouth.
After this millennium of indescribable blessing and glory, Satan will be permitted to get out of the prison for a little season. His first work is to begin another war encompassing the camp of the Saints. A swift judgment follows. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophets are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. xx:10). His eternal dwelling place will be the lake of fire, not to be destroyed, but to live on forever and ever. There too will be the beast and the false prophet and all who are not found written in the book of life. (Rev. xx:15).
And then what? “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was no more sea. And John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away” (Rev. xxi:1-4).
Such is the history of Satan. It is the history of the earth, and a marvellous history it is.
The original earth, once Satan’s domain, then judged and covered by water and darkness on account of his revolt. The earth as it is now is given to man and Satan through the fall of man laying hold of it again. Then the long history of the conflict for well nigh 6,000 years. The Son of God, the Creator of all things, appearing on earth to procure the needed redemption; Satan defeated every step of the way. And after Satan’s power manifested to the full, Christ appears and rids this earth, for whose redemption He paid by His blood, of the dark shadow. And finally this earth becomes in its eternal state, as a new earth, surrounded by a new heaven, the eternal dwelling place of God in the midst of His redeemed people.