Thoughts on the Role of Satan in Revelation

In my work on Revelation, I have noticed an interesting chiasm with regard to Satan’s role and activities within the book (particularly in ch. 12-20)

Within this section of Revelation, Satan falls from heaven to the land, and from the land raises up the sea beast, which raises up a land beast in its image. When evil is destroyed in the book, the land beast falls first (Jerusalem), the sea beast second (Rome), and the Dragon (Satan) third. The destruction reverses the order of their creation. Which looks like this:

Creation Order                                          Destruction Order

Dragon                                                          Land Beast (Jerusalem)
Sea Beast                                                      Sea Beast (Rome)
Land Beast                                                   Dragon (Satan)

This same section of Revelation (12-20) forms an interesting chiasm with regard to Satan’s activities and the vertical progression of his story. His motion is up and down the heavenly scale, a descent from heaven to the land to the sea.

Satan’s Vertical Progression

A. Heaven (falls from)
–    B. Land (falls to)
–         C. Sea (raises beast)
–    B. Land (raises beast)
A. Heaven (judgment from)

Once Judgment is provoked from heaven, we move back down the cosmic structure to the abyss.

A. Heaven (judgment from)
–    B. Land (judgment upon)
–          C. Sea (judgment upon)
–                D. Abyss (judgment – thrown into)

Thus we can see that Satan’s activity is a descent from heaven and corrupting various institutions within the land and sea, which provokes judgment from heaven. The heavenly judgment then moves back through each of these zones clearing them of Satanic influence, and finally hurling those influences and corruptions from the earth into the abyss.


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