When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

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When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#1 Post by Bobcat » 4 years ago

I had assembled some research on this topic a few years ago and have been wanting to post it here for reference. So what follows are Scriptural indications I have compiled with regard to when Satan was 'cast down to the earth.' (Rev 12:9)

To begin with, some preparatory information: On this post I have a number of links to informational posts regarding when Jesus began ruling. This information is important because in the account in Revelation 12, the "child" that the Dragon is trying to devour is 'caught away to God's throne' before the Dragon (i.e. the Devil) is warred against and cast down to earth.

From that point, if one accepts the idea that Jesus was enthroned as king when he returned to heaven in the 1st century then:

Satan’s ouster from heaven is depicted in Revelation 12 directly after and as a result of, 'the woman's child being caught away to God and to His throne (an oblique reference to the start of the 'child's' rule). This would tie Satan's ouster with the enthronement of Jesus, shortly after he returned to heaven. (Revelation 12:5-9, 10)

One might counter-argue that after Satan is cast out of heaven, he is "having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.” (Rev 12:12 NWT) So one might argue that if he was cast down to earth in the 1st century, how could it be said that he "has a short period of time" left? In response to that, one might point to Rev 1:3 and the fact that, "the appointed time is near," even though we are now 1900+ years from when that was said. (Compare also Rev 2:16; 3:11; 22:7, 10, 12, 20) Thus, one has to take "near," "short" and "quickly" in perspective. (See also this post for additional discussion of Satan's "short period of time.")

This view, that Satan was ousted shortly after Jesus returned to heaven, would correspond nicely with the fact that Jesus, while on earth, said that this would be an event then soon to take place, and he linked it with his death:
(John 12:31, 32 NWT) . . . Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And yet I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw men of all sorts to me.
Regarding “now” in John 12 (Greek nun, Strong’s #3568), AMG’s Greek WordStudy Dictionary understands it in this verse (as also with Acts 13:11; Phil 1:20; John 16:5; Acts 26:17) as meaning, “In reference to future time just at hand. . . As implying what is immediately to take place.” (p. 1019) Similarly, BDAG (Bauer’s 3rd Edition Lexicon) defines it as “a temporal marker with focus on the moment as such, now.” And with regard to John 12:31 (and the other passages referenced in the AMG reference) as “of time shortly before or shortly after the immediate pres[ent].”

Notice also how the "judging of this world" and its 'ruler being cast out' is linked by Jesus to his being "lifted up," a reference to his being killed. This ties together nicely with how the sequence of events are described in Rev 12:5-10 (when one accepts Rev 12:5 as a reference to Jesus' 1st advent and subsequent ascension).

Consider also John 16:11 -
(John 16:7-11 NWT) . . .Nevertheless, I am telling YOU the truth, It is for YOUR benefit I am going away. For if I do not go away, the helper will by no means come to YOU; but if I do go my way, I will send him to YOU. 8 And when that one arrives he will give the world convincing evidence concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment: 9 in the first place, concerning sin, because they are not exercising faith in me; 10 then concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and YOU will behold me no longer; 11 then concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
Verse 11 is the verse of interest. But I included from verse 7 for context. The verb “has been judged” (in verse 11) is “perfect,” a completed action. Alternate renderings of the verse at BibleHub bring this out also. (See here.) Although this verse is indirect evidence, it would make plain why Jesus would say in John 12:31, “now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” There was no reason to let Satan remain in heaven for another 1900 years. He had already been judged.

Also note that Satan’s ouster from heaven is connected to his having been an “accuser of our brothers.” (Revelation 12:10) Paul, in his writings, indicated that no one then was in a position to “accuse” Christians:
(Romans 8:31-34 NWT) . . .What, then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who will be against us? 32 He who did not even spare his own Son but delivered him up for us all, why will he not also with him kindly give us all other things? 33 Who will file accusation against God’s chosen ones? God is the One who declares [them] righteous. 34 Who is he that will condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, yes, rather the one who was raised up from the dead, who is on the right hand of God, who also pleads for us. . .

(Colossians 1:21, 22 NWT) . . .Indeed, YOU who were once alienated and enemies because YOUR minds were on the works that were wicked, 22 he now has again reconciled by means of that one’s fleshly body through [his] death, in order to present YOU holy and unblemished and open to no accusation before him . . .
These verses make a lot more sense if Satan has already been cast out of heaven in the 1st century, as described in Revelation 12:7-12. In effect, Jesus' sacrifice provided the legal basis for throwing Satan out of court.

See further discussion of the above points in this post.

And finally, from an historical perspective. Satan's ouster from heaven is linked to 'woe for the earth and sea.' (Revelation 12:12)

In the centuries that followed Jesus' return to heaven, the greatest empire up to that time broke up and Europe entered the Dark Ages which lasted until somewhere between the 8th and 11th centuries, according to who is doing the reckoning. Human population is thought to have declined during that period. Education basically stopped for all but a few. Wars, famines, and plagues (the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th horseman of the apocalypse, which follow the crowning of the 1st horse rider of Revelation 6) were rampant on a scale that make the 20th century seem downright tame by comparison. (As some here have pointed out.) The first video sums things up quite nicely. But the description of that video underneath it at the YouTube page provides a further good synopsis of the Dark Ages. The second video below also describes how Europe fell into the dark ages and some of its effects that match the "woe for the earth and the sea" of Rev 12:12.

Compare also the after effects described for the 'casting down of the burning mountain' in Rev 8:8-9 in this post.

On comparing life expectancies and the idea of Satan being cast down in 1914 (as per WT doctrine), and subsequent "woe" for the earth, compare that with this Wikipedia page on life expectancy. It shows a dramatic rise in average length of life in the 20th (& 21st) century in comparison with most of human history in this era. Not what you would expect if "woe for the earth" began in 1914.

On what may account for this rise in life expectancy in modern times, see this post and look for the section discussing Trumpet # 4.


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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#2 Post by Jerome » 4 years ago

This is all very interesting. I had long thought that the Kingdom was at its weakest point when it's king lay dead in the grave. Do you equate the birth of the child with Jesus resurrection? Who is the woman? The Christian congregation? It appears that she is on earth needing protection from the Devil (Rev 12:13)

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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#3 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Sorry for the late reply on this Jerome. For my view on your questions see my posts on this thread.


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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#4 Post by Bobcat » 2 years ago

Some discussion (and some speculation) on narrowing down when Satan is cast out of heaven ─ Here.

For comparison, here is a general timeline of events in the book of Acts. I was curious to see if anything might standout in relation to this thread. So far I see nothing dramatic enough to relate to Satan's ouster or a war in heaven.

I found some interesting discussion on Rev 12:7 (the war in heaven) in the NIGTC-Revelation commentary (G K Beale, pp. 652-55). This is a particularly thorough treatment of Revelation and the Greek language behind it.

Beale presents the fact that some of the language of Rev 12:7-8 seems to be drawn from the LXX of Daniel 2 and 10. The commentary states:
The heavenly struggle of Rev 12:7 depicts the beginning of the earthly and celestial battle predicted by Daniel for the last days (Dan 7:21; 8:10; 12:1), an expectation also featured in later Jewish tradition (Sib. Or. 3.796-808; cf. 2Macc 5:1-14, which may be related to Daniel).
The commentary also mentions Asc. Isa. 7:9-12 and Josephus War 6:297-99 as references.


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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#5 Post by Bobcat » 2 years ago

Below is a quote from The IVP Bible Background Commentary, NT on Rev 12:7-8 (Craig S Keener, p. 794-95):
One of two angels mentioned by name in the Old Testament, Michael was one of the chief heavenly princes, the guardian angel of Israel (Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1; each nation had its own angelic prince). In early Jewish literature and invocations, Michael was the chief prince of the heavenly host, God's main messenger (cf. Jude 9 [also Ex 3:2-4; Josh 5:13-15; Ac 7:38]); in the Dead Sea Scrolls, everyone was either in the camp of the Prince of Light or that of the Angel of Darkness. Mythical language from Jewish stories about a primeval, heavenly battle leading to the fall of the evil prince and his angels is here [in Rev 12:7-8] transformed: the ultimate battle was fought and won at Jesus' death and exaltation (Jn 12:31; 16:11). Because Michael was sometimes presented as Israel's advocate before God, and Satan was generally presented as Israel's accuser, the image of war here may be one of judicial as well as violent conflict.
The quote was of interest to me because it cited Jn 12:31; 16:11, as well as Jesus' exaltation, to help locate where in time the war in heaven is fought. I used these same verses in the first post on this thread, but was not aware of their use in this reference.

On Rev 12:5, the commentary opines:
Here he [i.e. Jesus] is kept at God's throne until he comes to destroy the dragon. In the light of Psalm 2:6-9, Isaiah 9:6-7 and Micah 5:3, the "birth" probably indicates Jesus' death, resurrection and messianic enthronement, not his literal birth (cf. Jn 16:21).
This comment about the child being caught away to God's throne and its application to Jesus' exaltation and enthronement after his death also helps locate the war in heaven in time. Footnote 20 in the NET translation at Rev 12:7 (here) helps show the flow or sequence of the action.

Also of interest, see footnotes 67 and 70 in the NET at Jn 16:21 here. And notice how Jn 16:21 uses the childbirth metaphor in connection with Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension, similar to Rev 12:5.

Note: Material in brackets in the quotes is Bobcat's for reference purposes or for clarity.


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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#6 Post by apollos0fAlexandria » 2 years ago

Hi Bobcat

John 16:21 notwithstanding, I personally think that Rev 12:5 starts at Jesus literal birth. My objection to it being the death and resurrection is a similar one that I have to the JW 1914 framework for this scripture. In v4 we read:
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. (Rev 12:4)
One of my earlier arguments against this happening in 1914 (immediately after the alleged establishment of God's Kingdom) is that it makes no sense that the the devil waits until Jesus is at his most powerful to strike. The v4 passage suggests that he's hanging around waiting for a vulnerable time, not for the time he's least likely to succeed. (Matt 28:18) And in the sweeping context of Rev 12 as a whole paralleled with the entire Bible story, we see Satan attempting to attack the child right at birth via Herod, and then he continues his attempts to thwart the seed right after Jesus' baptism and beyond (Matt 2:1-18; 4:1-11). And yes, as the narrative applies to the church I can see that the attempts to kill it off continue after the ascension but I think Rev 12 has different language for that when it talks of making war on those who "hold to the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 12:17)

There is certainly no argument from me that it's a first century fulfillment for these verses though.


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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#7 Post by Bobcat » 2 years ago

That's an excellent point(s), Apollos. The account in Rev 12 is taking a sweeping look at history. So it is probably best not to focus to closely on just one point in time.

"Then the dragon stood ("kept standing" ─ NWT) before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born." (Rev 12:4b) "Stood (or "kept standing") before the woman" is probably to be understood as meaning "in opposition to," similar to how the angel stood in front of Balaam when he was attempting to travel to King Balak on his donkey. Constable's Notes on this passage lists Ex 1:15-22, 1Sa 18:10-11, 2Ch 22:10, and Mt 2:16 as examples of attempts to subvert the known lineage of the promised seed. Other examples could probably be found also, showing that the Dragon was actively working to thwart the birth of the seed. And as soon as the seed is literally born, Satan goes to work to stop it/him. As soon as he is baptized, Satan is right there attempting to prevent any further advancement. (Mt 4:1) And the opposition continues throughout Jesus' ministry. (Lk 4:13)

Matthew 27:19 has Pilate's wife attempting to prevent Pilate from condemning Jesus due to a bad dream she has had. The WT has given the opinion that this dream was of divine origin. But I am thinking that Satan knows that Jesus has been faithful up to that point (the miracle of healing the slave's ear in Gethsemane would be proof enough), and as soon as he dies he goes out of Satan's reach. And so the dream represents a last ditch effort by Satan to prevent that. But the inertia of events that Satan has initiated makes stopping the execution of Jesus impossible. (Ac 2:22-23)

Incidentally, see footnote 9 in the NET at Rev 12:4 [here] that shows the chronological sequencing of events that is presented in Rev 12:4. After Gen 3:15 no information is given about the promised seed until after the flood, at the time of Abraham. (Gen 12:1-3; 15:4-5) This prevents Satan (in the pre-flood era) from focusing on a specific family, as he does not know anything other than what Gen 3:15 says. He then finds out that Enoch is foretelling a coming judgment. (Jude 14-15) Then he finds out that Lamech is foretelling something significant to happen in Noah's lifetime. (Gen 5:28-29) So Satan tries to corrupt the whole race of humans before the foretold judgment arrives. Although Satan might not think so, by means of God giving him only selective pieces of information, Satan is actually being driven along by God for the accomplishing of God's purposes. (Gen 3:14; See also this post as an example.) I would imagine that, as the flood waters began to fall, Satan and his newly found demon companions were waiting in terrified suspense to see what was going to happen to them.

If one takes the woman of Rev 12 as Israel (both natural and Christian ─ or collectively, "the people of God"), then, Rev 12:4, in just a few words, gives a brief synopsis of about four thousand years of history.


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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#8 Post by Bobcat » 2 years ago

Linking other threads on Satan for ease of reference:

Here on the origin of Satan.

Here on why Satan would want to kill Jesus. and a related thread here.

Similarities between Satan and Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 4: Here.

On Satan not being the invisible speaker at Endor: Here.

The AntiChrist: Here.

Gog and the land of Magog: Here.

The Magi and the Star of Bethlehem: Here.

The Evil One: Here.

On Satan and Democracy: Here.

(That uses up my ten-link allowance for this post. :D Oh wait. This post is about Satan. So . . . :twisted: )


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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#9 Post by Stranger » 1 year ago

Bobcat wrote:
2 years ago
Although Satan might not think so, by means of God giving him only selective pieces of information, Satan is actually being driven along by God for the accomplishing of God's purposes. (Gen 3:14; See also this post.)

Hi Bobcat,

I couldn't agree more with what you said here. Common sense proves it. Why else would he be around?

I think I've said this before, but if you look at the early days of Las Vegas, the city officials had to call in the Mafia just to maintain public order in their endeavors and purposes. No, Las Vegas doesn't compare with God's great city, but I do think it's a good example of why Satan has been the "Mayor" of it for such a long period of time.

Stranger, (Mal 3:7)

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Re: When Is Satan Cast Down To Earth?

#10 Post by Genesis » 1 year ago

(Luke 10:17, 18) . . .Then the seventy returned with joy, saying: “Lord, even the demons are made subject to us by the use of your name.” 18 At that he said to them: “I began to behold Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven.

Once the demons were made subject to Christ's disciples Satan was emasculated. His power was reduced to almost nothing. He no longer inhabits man as in the first century.

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