The other Epistles and Revelation

 

7.3) The Other Epistles and Revelation

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, we learn that Satan has the power of death, and that it was Christ’s mission to destroy him—or at least his power over death.  Perhaps this is the way in which Satan’s power over the World is to be lost or reduced.  But the Epistle of Jude commends the Archangel Michael for not speaking blasphemous or reviling words against Satan when the latter seeks to exercise authority over the dead by claiming the body of Moses.  Rather he treats him with the respect due to a fellow-advocate in court, and appeals to the Judge for a decision against him (5.3).

If we read First Peter and James together, we get the impression that Satan is “a cowardly lion”—fierce to those who fear him, but not to those who know how to stand up to his temptations and oppositions (5.5).

Finally, we see in the Book of Revelation that Satan continues his trials of Christians, by making use of false Jews, and through the exercise of civil authority in imprisoning them (6.1).  Later he is portrayed as an allegorical sea-monster, a combination of the many-headed Dragon (Leviathan) and the ten-horned apparition in the Book of Daniel.  He is clearly identified with the Roman Empire (the seven heads correspond to the seven hills of Rome), and now Michael is no longer polite to him.  He makes war upon him, as he warred against the Angelic Ruler of the Kingdom of Persia in Daniel.  In the midst of this tableau, we are given a realistic view of Satan in his old

 

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place in Heaven, where he continues to fulfill the role of Accuser of humankind, specifically the followers of Christ.  His ultimate disbarment, his loss of face and loss of power in Heaven, is predicted, echoing the predictions of Jesus in the Gospels.  After more allegorical activity on earth, Satan’s ultimate punishment is predicted (6.2).

But since Satan’s punishment is to be shared with personifications like Death and Hades, we must be cautious about making real predictions about Satan’s fate.  We note that there seems to be no place made for the other visionary personnel of Revelation, like the Seven Angels and their Trumpets.

We cannot avoid the conclusion that Jesus himself, as well as Paul and other New Testament writers, except perhaps for Jude, have a decided bias against Satan.  They dislike him intensely, they want him out of their lives, and whatever happens to him, once he ceases to perform his Divinely assigned duties, good riddance.

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We should also note what we do not find in the Old and New Testament.  There is no pre-mundane fall of the Angels.  There is no connection of Satan with the Serpent of Eden or the sin of Adam (3.4).  There is no connection of Satan with the Angels who fall at the time of Noah (2.1, 5.4).  There is no Antichrist, only anti-Christs, who are human and are not directly associated with Satan (6.3).  There is no rebellious Lucifer, only Jesus, the good Lucifer (6.4).