Satan’s Work

9:1-12            REVELATION “=

Hell on Earth: The Fifth Train is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon. The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things. (9:1-12)

Because our world is the theater where the glorious, God-honoring story of redemption is played out, Satan and his demon hosts have attacked the human race, turning the earth into the main battleground in their cosmic war against God, the holy angels, and the elect.

  • Satan launched his first assault in the Garden of Eden, where he successfully tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God. The disastrous consequences were that “sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
  • After the Fall, God graciously promised a Savior who would come to destroy Satan and deliver people from his power (Gen. 3:15) Satan countered by sending demons to cohabitate with human women, attempting to produce a hybrid demon/human race of people for whom the God-Man could not atone (Gen 6:1-4) In response, God destroyed that race and the whole sinful world in the powerful judgment of the universal Flood—the single greatest catastrophe the earth has yet seen.
  • Satan’s tormenting of righteous Job reveals his hatred for the Godly. Satan sought to destroy Job’s faith—to take him from God’s kingdom back to his own kingdom of darkness. With God’s permission, Satan destroyed Job’s possessions, killed his children, and ruined his health. Job was left with an embittered wife (Job 2:9), friends whose inept counsel drove him to distraction, and many unanswered questions about why God allowed him to suffer. But Job remained loyal to God, proving that saving faith is permanent and God holds on to His own, so that in the end God was vindicated, and Satan’s attempt to destroy Job’s faith, as it would with that of any other believer, was unsuccessful. As he did with Job, Satan continually accuses believers before God (12:10; cf. Zech. 3:1).
  • No nation has experienced more of Satan’s assaults than Israel. He has always had a special hatred for God’s chosen people, “from whom is the Christ according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:5). First Chronicles 21 records one of his many attacks: “Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel ….God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel” (vv.1,7). The Lord’s chastening took the form of a plague in which seventy thousand Israelites perished (v 14).Throughout its history; Satan lured Israel and Judah into idolatry, immorality, and disobedience to God’s law. As a result, God brought judgment on His people, sending them into captivity in Assyria and Babylon. In the future tribulation period Satan will once again attempt to destroy the chosen nation (12:1-6,13-17).
  • From the beginning to the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Satan fought with all his impotent fury against the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • He tempted Christ for forty days at the beginning of His ministry, futilely seeking to turn Him aside from the work His Father sent Him to accomplish (Matt. 4:1-11).
  • A long and relentless war was waged against Jesus by the Jewish leaders, whom He identified as belonging to the family of the devil (John 8:44). Satan never ceased from that effort, even attempting to use those close to Jesus against Him (Mark 8:32-33).
  • Satan tried to destroy the faith of the apostolic leader, Peter, demanding from God the opportunity to test him severely (Luke 22:31-32) with the intent of destroying his faith (as he had tried unsuccessfully to do with Job).The test was allowed by God and was severe. It brought Peter to fear and denial of his Lord on three occasions (Luke 22:34, 54-61), but Peter repented (Luke 22:62) and was restored (John 21:15-23) to become the great preacher of the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14ff.).
  • At the end of Jesus’ ministry, “Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve” (Luke 22:3),who then betrayed Christ into the hands of His murderers.

The church has also been a special target of satanic assault.

  • Shortly after its founding, Satan himself prompted Ananias and his wife Sapphira to corrupt the church by lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3).The couple’s foolish, sinful, and hypocritical attempt to impress others with their spirituality ended when God put them to death before the whole congregation (Acts 5: 5-11).
  • Satan also battled the apostle Paul, hindering him from visiting the Thessalonian church (1 Thess. 2:18) and tormenting him with “a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan” (2 Cor. 12:7).
  • Satan also attacks the church by bringing unbelievers into it, mixing in his tares among God’s wheat (Matt. 13:38-39), blinding the minds of unbelievers so that they reject the gospel (2 Cor.4:4; cf. Luke 8:12), and seeking to overwhelm believers with temptation, persecution, and discouragement (1 Pet. 5:8). God sovereignly allows and oversees all of Satan’s assaults and fulfills His purposes in spite of them and through them. Satan is the servant of God.

In the future, Satan will serve God’s purpose by being permitted to launch another deadly assault against the human race. That attack will come at the sounding of the fifth trumpet, during the time of God’s judgment in the Great Tribulation (7:14). For millennia the heavens have declared God’s glory (cf Ps 19.1 2), but in the future they will declare His wrath. The first four trumpet judgments will all involve either objects hurtling to earth out of the sky, or, in the case of the fourth trumpet, the heavenly bodies themselves will be affected (8:7-12).

While the destruction caused by the first four trumpet judgments will be catastrophic, the remaining three will be far worse.

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