Additional Thoughts on Satan

A final thought on Satan’s progression in Revelation. I noted in my last post that the destruction order of the Satanic corruption a reversal of the creation order.

Creation Order                                  Destruction Order
Dragon                                                       Land Beast
Sea Beast                                                   Sea Beast
Land Beast                                                Dragon

This is an interesting parallel to the judgment order in the Garden of Eden. God questions the man, woman and serpent in a different order than the judgment, which reverses the order.

Question Order                                    Judgment Order
Man                                                                Serpent
Woman                                                         Woman
Serpent                                                         Man

There are parallels between the books (Revelation picturing a new creation and a new Eden), but they are not precisely identical. That is, we cannot simply run down the list and apply them to one another, the Dragon and the Man, the Sea beast and the woman, etc. Rather, the corruption order begins with Satan, who does not poison the Bride (Eve) first. Rather, he assaults the symbolic man first. He corrupts the protector beast of Rome and provokes it against the Bride (Israel, the Land Beast). Just as Adam’s duty was to guard the garden and the woman, so too were the protector beasts, which culminates with Rome. Satan poisons this guardianship role of Rome’s, and the Roman influence corrupts the Temple and priests of Israel, as well as the Herodian rulers.  So the order presented seems to be:

Corruption Order                                  Judgment Order
Satan (Dragon)                                             Woman (Land Beast)
Man (Sea Beast)                                           Man (Sea Beast)
Woman (Land Beast)                                 Satan (Dragon)


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.

“Land” and “Sea” in Revelation

Frequently commentators take the reference to “earth” in Revelation to mean the whole world, or at least the whole inhabited world. It is better, however, to see the meaning of “earth” in Revelation as “land,” that is, the land of Israel. Specifically, the “earth” refers to the Circumcision party, the Judaizers that plagued the first-century Church with their heresy, drawing away many and creating a crisis in the churches of the time. It isn’t until the Circumcision is destroyed with the False Harlot/Babylon that the term “earth” comes to refer to the whole world (Rev. 21-22). Continue reading ““Land” and “Sea” in Revelation”