Isaiah 14: 12 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
Revelation 12; “7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night”
The War in Heaven
Most often what we see is the linking of these two passages of scriptures together to prove that, the fall of Lucifer (what they called Satan) was pre historic. That is to say, that the above passage is talking of what happened some years back when Satan rebelled against God.
But how does this relate to Isaiah 14 Lucifer? Are they speaking of the same event somewhere then in heaven pre-historically? Can they be tied together? Are the personalities here the same?
Let us take a look;
Firstly, I will want to address the issue of the Book of Revelation as per the dates of its writing and modes of interpretations.
Some said that John wrote Revelation about A.D. 95-96, during the reign of the Roman emperor Titus Flavius Domitian who demanded that he be worshiped as “Lord and God,” and the refusal of the Christians to obey his edict led to severe persecution.
Domitian was believed to be the one who sent John to the Isle of Patmos, a Roman penal colony off the coast of Asia Minor. The SEA is used 26 times in this Book, perhaps because of the location of John’s exile.
But again we have those who say, it was written before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.That makes mystery Babylon the harlot the Old Jerusalem that killeth the Prophets.
Modes of Interpretations
There are four schools of interpretation.
i.”The Preterist”: This describes in veiled language events of John’s own time, and until the end of the Roman Empire or at least the conversion of Constantine in AD 33. Here the Beast is seen only as the Roman Empire and Babylon is Rome or Jerusalem.
Making the book of no relevance to us today as it is a fulfilled Eschatology.
However there are clear references to Rome of John’s time and it is helpful to know the circumstances of John’s time in interpreting the book.
Now, if Paul’s letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians and Thessalonians are still being used today, in a similar manner, these letters written to the seven churches in Asia then (Revelation 1:11) are still very applicable today.
In both John’s and Paul’s letters, God has chosen these to be preserved for His church throughout the centuries. Just as the letter to the Corinthians addresses specific problems they had then, it also deals with these problems for future centuries.
In the same vein, the Book of Revelation deals with the problems faced by the seven churches in Asia, but it also has a great deal to say to future generations.
Since John used symbolic imagery, Revelation is not tied down to only the Roman Empire but may also be used to describe successive persecuting tyrannies down through the centuries.
The next three methods of interpretation deal with the value of Revelation to future generations in different ways.
ii. “The Historicist”: this is the chart of the whole of human history from Christ’s first coming to what is termed his second coming, and beyond. In this method people will try to make sections of Revelation fit in with specific historical events. The beast is seen as the current manifestation of the beast such as the papacy in the time of the reformation. This position is untenable because there will be a wide variation of interpretations through the ages. But because the principles are valid to all generations, as the idealist would suggest, each generation should be able to identify the characters portrayed by Revelation.
Therefore the historicists view should not be disparaged; it has provided comfort in times of persecution throughout church history.
The most important of the historical interpretation from the 12th century to reformation times makes the papacy the beast and Rome or the Roman church is Babylon.
However to make Revelation a chart of the whole of human history and therefore to use it to predict when the end will come is wrong and is not how John intended Revelation to be read, but if it is used to strengthen God’s people undergoing particular trials, then it becomes a valid use.
iii. “The Idealist”: Is seen between the messages for the first century and prophecies of the far future.
It deals chiefly with principles that are always valid in Christian experience. The beast is the Roman empire of John’s day but also a succession of ungodly empires leading to the last empire from which the antichrist will come, they postulate. So since Christians have been persecuted throughout the generations, each generation should be able to identify who their beast is, the idealist says.
iv. “The Futurist”: This is largely a prophecy of events still to come, especially just prior to the return of Christ.
This is the normal interpretation of someone reading the book for the first time because its imagery looks so fantastic. It means that the book will be especially relevant for those in the last generation. The beast is seen as the antichrist that emerges from a revived Roman empire. To the futurist, that which is called the second coming features prominently throughout the book. But this view tends to overlook spiritual truth that is of value today.
However note that John is told not to seal up the book (Revelation 22:10) because the time is near, while Daniel was told to seal up the vision until the end times (Daniel 12:4), this means that the book is about to start its fulfillment. Not necessarily just future.
The book of Revelation was written initially to the seven churches in Asia, and hence the preterits view. However the book will reach its final fulfillment when the last antichrist appears and Christ returns this is the futurist view.
Ladd divides the futurist views into two kinds, the moderate and the extreme view known as dispensationalism.
The latter makes a sharp distinction between Israel and the church. The letters to the seven churches deal with seven ages of church history, chapter 7 onwards concerns Israel because the church has been raptured at this point, so that it does not suffer in the great tribulation which occurs during the last 3-1/2 years of history. This view is widely held in America, the best exponent of this view is Walvoord.
The futurist will argue that the preterist interpretation is wrong because Revelation concerns the end times, but during the time of the Roman empire the preterist interpretation was the end time. A similar comment could be made of the historicist interpretation during the Reformation.
The idealist interpretation is probably the most relevant today, to meet today’s needs during hard times when Christians are under pressure and it certainly does not discount a future fulfillment either. One would strongly question the idea that Revelation only has a future fulfillment.
The futurist and idealist viewpoint of interpretation will be most useful to the church in this generation in the West. While the church in the West is not undergoing persecution, war is still being waged against it in the form of false doctrine and the seduction of worldly values.
But under what I called “Kingdom Eschatology”, the Book is both, past, present and future, this is so because the Author is of yesterday, today and forever until the consummation of human history. It cannot just be fulfilled at specific times in the past when humans are still being born into the world that He might still come into as they open their hearts. Like we said, if Paul’s letters are useful to us today, then this letter to the seven churches is relevant to us today.
“Things which must shortly come to pass”
In Wetstein’s modes of interpretation, if the book were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and the prophecies in it relate to that destruction, with the civil wars among the Romans, which lasted but three or four years, then it might be said that the Revelation is of things which must shortly come to pass.
But if we consider the book as referring to the state of the Church in all ages, the words here, and those in Rev 1:3, must be understood of the commencement of the events predicted; as if he had said: “In a short time the train of these visions” and that will be before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, which will be more of the thoughts of the preterits.
But John’s prophecy is primarily the revelation of Jesus Christ, not the revelation of future events.
You cannot separate the Person from the prophecy, for without the Person there could be no fulfillment of the prophecy “Jesus is surely as the chief Subject of the Book.”
In Revelation 1-3, Christ can be seen as the exalted Priest-King ministering to the churches.
In Rev 4-5, He is seen in heaven as the glorified Lamb of God, reigning on the throne.
In Rev 6-18, Christ is the Judge of all the earth;
And in Rev 19, He returns prophetically to earth as the conquering King of kings.
The book closes with the heavenly Bridegroom ushering His bride, the church, into the glorious heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God (Hebrews 12:22-23).
With this background laid, we shall proceed to the WAR IN HEAVEN (Revelation 12).
To be continued…