As we proceed into part 2 of this study the material becomes quite meaty. Allow yourself to momentarily suspend your persuasion about demonology and eschatology. These are subjects after all, that require for our understanding to go through the necessary evolution stages to where it becomes an effective applicable skill set. With regards to “Spiritual warfare” and dealing with “Evil Spirits”, “Demons”, and or the “Devil”, we must now learn to take our rightful place where what we do is powerful and effective.
Lets again look at the verse, which spells the end of satan.
Revelation 20:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
I believe Part 1 of this study was enough to show how the Hebrew Symbolism’s in the book of Revelation must be understood to provide context and meaning.
Now when we look at Revelation 20:10 we see several symbolism’s. I will start with the most obvious ones.
It may be important to interject here that the name or title “Antichrist” never once is used in the Bible anywhere to identify just one person. The idea of a “One World Order” leader who would be “the Antichrist” incarnated by satan was coined by the futurist, or dispensational movement. It is purely a modern idea and is not congruent with the Apostle John’s theology on Anti-Christ(s). To him there was never one Antichrist, but in fact many.
1 John 2:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
John’s doctrine about the Antichrist is a theological concept related to an apostasy that was brewing and growing in his day. He never had one individual in mind, but rather individuals who taught that Jesus Christ was not whom Scripture says He is. We could therefore also easily say that there are currently many Antichrists in the world today. But for the first century Christian there were many candidates who fit the designation of an Antichrist, including the Apostle Paul’s Man of Sin 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10, which translates from the Greek as the Man of Lawlessness, who is the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
The beast in Revelation 20:10 is the first beast, which “rises up out of the sea”, as described in Revelation 13:1. Most theologians, who also study eschatology, agree that “the beast” here is a symbolic reference to the Roman Empire, the Roman emperors, the Roman invaders into both Judea and the land of Israel. To narrow it down even more the beast is more likely to be a direct referral to the evil emperor Nero and the Roman Empire during his reign. Even though, we can safely say that Nero was not physically present at the destruction of Jerusalem, because history tells us that Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. and the fall of Jerusalem occurred 70 A.D. The writing of the book of Revelation, in approximately 62 A.D., would concur with the historical data of when Nero authorized a state sponsored assault on the Christians 64 A.D.
Revelation 17:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
Here, John says the seven heads not only represent seven mountains on which the woman sits (i.e the city of Rome), but the seven heads of the Beast also represent seven kings. Five have fallen, one is still around, and there is still another one coming. John says that this king who has not come yet is only going to reign for a little while. Now, who are these kings?
Suetonius a Roman historian (His most important surviving work is a set of biographies of twelve successive Roman rulers, from Julius Caesar to Domitian, entitled De Vita Caesarum) wrote that Nero was the sixth king of Rome. The previous five were Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius. In another fulfillment of John’s words in his own day, the Caesar after Nero was Galba, who reigned a mere seven months. In other words, “only a little while,” just as John said he would. Dispensationalists often argue that because the word “kings” is used in this verse proves this was not literally speaking of Roman Emperors. However, they forget that in the Jewish mindset the emperor was understood to be a king, just like they themselves had many kings throughout their history.
John 19:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
Kenneth Gentry wrote “It is surely no accident that Nero was the sixth emperor of Rome. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish contemporary of John, clearly points out that Julius Caesar was the first emperor of Rome and that he was followed in succession by Augustus, Tiberius, Caius, Claudius, and, sixthly, Nero (Antiquities, books 18 and 19). The matter is confirmed just a little later in the writings of Roman historians: Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars and Dio Cassius, Roman History.
Philip Schaff, in his History of the Christian Church, Vol. 1 wrote: He [The Apostle John] describes the heathen Rome of his day as “the beast that ascended out of the abyss,” [Revelation 11:7 and 13:1] and as “a beast coming out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads” (or kings, emperors), – The seer [The Apostle John] must have in view the Neronian persecution, the most cruel that ever occurred, when he calls the woman seated on seven hills, “drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6), and prophesied her downfall as a matter of rejoicing for the “saints and apostles and prophets” (Revelation 18:2 and 6:9-11).“
“A “vast multitude” of Christians [were] put to death in the most shocking manner. Some were crucified, probably in mockery of the punishment of Christ, some sewed up in the skins of wild beasts and exposed to the voracity of mad dogs in the arena. The satanic tragedy reached its climax at night in the imperial gardens on the slope of the Vatican (which embraced, it is supposed, the present site of the place and church of St. Peter): Christian men and women, covered with pitch or oil or resin, and nailed to posts of pine, were lighted and burned as torches for the amusement of the mob; while Nero, in fantastical dress, figured in a horse race, and displayed his art as charioteer. Burning alive was the ordinary punishment of incendiaries; but only the cruel ingenuity of this imperial monster, under the inspiration of the devil, could invent such a horrible system of illumination”.
This was the „great tribulation“ that Christ and the Apostles had warned the saints to prepare for. And it was the very event which provoked Christ to cut short the days of that persecution, rescue His elect saints, and avenge His martyrs by pouring out His full cup of wrath upon their persecutors.
Gary Demar in his book “Last Days Madness” page: 257-258 – states, “The enigmatic 666 fits very well with the construction of Nero’s name, his beastly character, the time in which he ruled, and his anti-Christian edicts levelled against the Church. – The Roman emperor would have been the most likely political choice. ….ancient numbering systems use an alpha-numeric method. This is true of the Latin (Roman) system that we still use today: I=1, V=5, X=10, L-50, C=100, D=500, M=1000. The same is true of Greek and Hebrew. Since the book of Revelation is written in a Hebrew (Aramaic) context by a Jew with numerous allusions to the Old Testament, we should expect the solution to deciphering the meaning of 666 to be Hebraic. “The reason clearly is that, while he writes in Greek, he thinks in Hebrew, and the thought has naturally affected the vehicle of expression.” Is there anything in the Bible, especially in Revelation, that hints at this use of both Greek and Hebrew? The “angel of the abyss” is described in two ways: “His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11). – When Nero, Ceasar’s name is transliterated into Hebrew, we get Neron Kesar (nrwn qsr: Hebrew has no letters to represent vowels). “It has been documented by archaeological finds that a first century Hebrew spelling of Nero’s name provides us with precisely the value of 666. Jastrow’s Lexicon of the Talmud contains this very spelling.” When we take the letters of Nero’s name and spell them in Hebrew, we get the following numeric values: n=50, r=200, w=6, n=50, q=100, s=60, r=200 = 666. “Every Jewish reader, of course, saw that the beast was a symbol of Nero.,…Those who read John’s account of the beast probably had come to this conclusion even before they made their calculation.” Subsequently, Christian history supports the view that Nero was the beast. “All the earliest Christian writers on the Apocalypse, from Irenaeus down to Victorinus of Pettau and Commodian in the fourth, and Andreas in the fifth, and St. Beatus in the eight century, connect Nero, or some Roman Emperor, with the Apocalyptic beast.
As stated, Nero himself was not present at the great fires of the city of Jerusalem when it was utterly destroyed in 70 A.D. However, the beast, which rises up out of the sea (Revelation 13:1) is a symbolic reference to Nero, and the Roman empire, which initiated the persecuting of Christians, for three and a half years, followed by the three and a half years of the siege of Jerusalem. This involved the work of a military monster. Not just one person.
On September 7, 1940, 300 German bombers of the Luftwaffe raided London, in the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing. This bombing was nicknamed the “blitzkrieg” (lightning war) and would continue until May 1941. If we refer to the “Blitzkrieg” as Hitler attacking Britain, we do not mean that Hitler did this on his own. He was probably at his early “Felsennest” headquarters in Bad Münstereifel, Germany.
In the same way the beast was both a symbolic reference to the military monster of Rome as well as an indirect reference to Nero who initiated a widespread attack on Christians, I propose that “the lake of fire” is a direct symbolic reference to the fires that destroyed the city and its Temple, as well as an indirect symbolic reference to the wrath of God on the then apostate Israel.
Nero’s reign ended when he committed suicide at the age of 30. Ultimately, Nero’s murderous and debauched lifestyle caught up with him. In 68 A.D., after a turbulent 13-year reign, the Roman senate ran out of patience and ironically declared Nero a public enemy. Nero then fled, and on June 9, 68 A.D., at the age of 30, he committed suicide. Was his suicide an attempt to avoid a torturous death by his potential captors, or also the result of his maniacal insanity? Either way it appears that his own wickedness returned upon his own head and he could also not escape the vengeance of God for the blood of the martyrs. Was Nero the Antichrist? Yes, one of many.
The False Prophet
The second beast of Revelation 13:11-18 is correctly identified as the false prophet (Revelation. 16:13; 19:20, 20:10).
Gary Demar in “Last Days Madness” Page 259 states: “The Land Beast (Revelation 13: 11-18), Israel, promotes the efforts of the sea beast and can only operate under the direction and authority of the sea beast. We are told that the land beast “had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon” (13:11). The land beast is not the dragon, but he speaks as a dragon. We learn from Jesus that the religious leaders who opposed Him were in league with the devil, the dragon: “you are of your father the devil, and you meant to do the desires of your father. He was murderous from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is liar and the father of lies”. John 8:44.
The apostate Jews were described as the “Synagogue of satan”, (Revelation 2:9; 3:9). The land beast is in league with the sea beast against Christians of the first century. The land beast wants to protect its corrupt religion against the religion (faith) of the Lamb.*
The false Prophet is a referral to the apostate priesthood and religious leaders of the people of Israel who identified themselves by their Sinaitic Covenant. Yet, by opposing Christ and rejecting him they were ironically in direct rebellion to the law of Moses. The religious leaders spread throughout the land of Judea and the northern Kingdom of Israel were the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin were assemblies of either twenty-three or seventy-one elders appointed to sit as a tribunal in every city in the ancient Land of Israel. Because of their apostate condition they are collectively symbolized by John as the false Prophet because they communicated an Antichrist message.
Now you will understand that the first beast was not necessarily just referring to one person i.e., Nero. This beast symbolized the roman rule over the promised land of the Jews. The second beast correctly identified as the false Prophet was also not a reference to just one Priest or Elder who proclaimed an anti-Messianic message. Again, it was a symbol to a collective group of people who were in alliance with the Romans to betray their own Messiah.
The ”Hell” of Revelation 20:10
We find that the word “Hell” used in Revelation 20:10, is the same word “Hell” used in other verses in the New Testament. Nevertheless, here it is again taken from the Greek word Hades. Hades is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Sheol and simply means „realm of the dead“. Realm of the dead does not specify “fire and torment and eternal damnation”. It was the place where the deceased would dwell as they were waiting for their deliverance, the event which the Jews knew as the resurrection at the last day.
John 11 King James Version (KJV)
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
The Book of Revelation says that Hell (Hades) gave up its dead, so the realm of the dead was emptied.
It is symbolically described in the Book of Revelation as Hades being thrown into the Lake of fire.
So, if the Book of Revelation was fulfilled in 70 A.D, it would mean that Hades no longer exists. Let me say that in a different way. If “Hell” did exist, then it was cast into the Lake of fire and no longer exists if the Book of Revelation was fulfilled in the 1st century. For the futurist this poses a huge problem. If Revelation is still to be fulfilled in our future, then Hell, no excuse me, Hades, the realm of the dead would still exist. This would also mean that the resurrection of the dead is still in our future, and no one has yet entered heaven except Jesus.
The futurist eschatology puts many a fulfilled prophecy including the victory over Satan into to the future. This is also the reason why so many Christians still refer to the devil as the Prince of the power of the air, and the god of this world.
Ephesians 2:1-2 King James Version (KJV)
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course (Age) of this world (Cosmos), according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
The word “course” in the above verse is not an accurate translation at all. It is the Greek word “Aion” and means Age-enduring. It does not mean “course in the sense of direction”. It should be the word Age in the translation. If you read it like “the age of this world”, with the word “world” as the Greek word „cosmos“, it all becomes a lot clearer. The word “cosmos” can refer to the universe, our planet, and its inhabitants but it also means “order” as in constitution, or law. When you take context into account, then it can easily be a reference to the Sinaitic Order or Covenant. So, then the verse becomes even more clear.
“Where in time passed you walked according to the Age of this current Order of the Sinaitic Covenant”.
That age endured until it came to its end in 70 A.D. At the time the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Ephesians, the Sinaitic Covenant with its Law of Moses was still active running alongside the New Covenant, which was just in its beginning stages. That is why the Apostle Paul could refer to the Age of this order, the Order of the Old Covenant because it was still active at that point in time. The words “children of disobedience” is also translated as, “sons of rebellion”. Since the context determines that the prince of the power of the air was the object in the sentence, with the direct link made to the Age of the Sinaitic Order, the sons of rebellion would have been referring to those who lived under that Order i.e. the Jews but had become disobedient and rebellious to its Law (of Moses).
The point to be made is that the Apostle Paul is referring to an Age, which for us is long gone and disappeared. The Prince of the power of the air took advantage of the opportunities the old Sinaitic Order, provided. The reason why the devil could influence the children of disobedience is because when they were disobedient, they put them self under judgement of the law. The Sinaitic Covenant provided this open door to the devil with limited boundaries, only when the people sinned and stayed unrepentant. This does not apply to us today and it has not done since the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Since that day the devil has not been the Prince of the power of the air. He has just been a rebellious spirit.
2 Corinthians 4 King James Version (KJV)
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
In the verse above we see another issue, which is remarkably similar to the first argument I made. The Apostle Paul is referring to the devil as the god of this world. Yet, even though the devil is no longer the god of this world, he still attempts to perform the same type of influence described here. It is mainly due to the spiritual blindness of the minds of the general population that the devil finds opportunity. He tries to keep the light, which is synonymous to truth, the truth of the Gospel of Christ hidden.
What many Christians have not yet comprehend it is that the Apostles lived in the intermediate phase between the ascension of Christ and his coming (The Parousia) and the two covenants were still running alongside each other until the destruction of Jerusalem. The devil was the god of this world, but not since the destruction, not since 70 A.D. Look at the word “world” in the above verse and again it’s the word Aion, which means Age-enduring, which means that it would endure for as long as that Age would lasts.
That Age was the Sinaitic Age or the Mosaic Age and was abolished, finished, and lifted when the temple was destroyed. The problem begins where Christians claim that we are still subject to obey parts of the law of Moses. It is an oxymoron when they say that we are not under the law but then they claim that we must obey the 10 commandments including the commandment to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. These commandments are all part of the law of Moses. So, either we are, or we are not under the law. If we are under the law, which by the way was not given to all the nations of the world but only to the historic people of Israel, then we have a real issue. If you follow the thesis of that believe through, it would mean the devil is still the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air. This explains a lot of the confusion in the so-called spiritual warfare teachings. No, all the devil is just a rebellious spirit. There was an Age in which the devil abused his position and took advantage of people’s weakness to be disobedient to Yahweh’s holy commandments. The devil reigned supreme when he did get a foothold through somebodies’ guilt and fear of judgment. That Age was therefore designated by the Apostle Paul as an evil Age.
Galatians 1 King James Version (KJV)
3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
In this verse we see the synchronicity between the devil’s influence, sin, an age or period in which he had this type of influence, and how Christ came to deliver us from the devil, sin, and that evil age.
Matthew 8 King James Version (KJV)
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
Notice that question ending in “before the time?
The word “time” is the same Greek word Kairos used for the word “time” in;
Revelation 12 King James Version (KJV)
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Kairos means: A fixed definite period or season. Yes, as much as satan does not care about rules and obedience, he himself is subject to the laws of the universe in the spiritual and physical realms, (including the intermediate astral planes), which God put in place. He can not exercise his influence in any of these realms where we exercise the authority of the Christ our King and the Kingdom of God.
Man may not do it knowingly, but it is through a guilty conscience that man’s sense of his identity in Christ and confidence before God is compromised. This is how satan attempts to seize influence. The Age of the Law provided an open door every time the people of Israel sinned and transgressed against the law. That Evil Age came to an end at the destruction of the Temple. Since the establishing of New Covenant, forgiveness for all of humanity was poured out upon all unconditionally through Christ, and it shut the door to the devil from the perspective of a Covenantal legally bound contract. A New Covenant, which God Himself upholds.
John 12 King James Version (KJV)
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
At the cross Jesus set up the eternal New Covenant of forgiveness. From that moment, the prince, which means “ruler”, also refers to the god of that evil age, the prince of the power of the air, was driven out. Being cast out, means to be driven out. We have no dealings with the Old Sinaitic Covenant. We were born into this New Covenant Age. A world where satan only has influence where people give him opportunity. He is an opportunist, but powerless for the person who stands in truth.
This means that those who can believe they are forgiven, made righteous, unreprovable, and fully accepted in Christ can take their stands and effectively keep the influence of spiritual forces of darkness at bay. I pray you are one of them. I pray the truth will get to everyone on this planet. The more people know, and walk in this truth, the more we keep the devil’s influence out of our world.
So you see, unlike many of the Hollywood movies, and sadly also many of the dogmas of mainstream Christian denominations, this battle we are in is not a battle where God is fighting against satan. Christ came and defeated satan 2000 years ago by fulfilling the Sinaitic Covenant and establishing the New Covenant. It is only a battle against the deceptions of the devil, a battle between truth and lie. You incapacitate the devils ability to influence by standing in the truth.
In the next articles on this topic of „binding and losing“, we will discuss Revelation 20:10 more in depth.
I will also provide a more complete view from Rob Bell’s presentation on the „binding and Loosing“ principle, from his book „Velvet Elvis“, and many more ideas that may provide a powerful revelation of our glorious place in Christ and the already completed defeat of the devil.