Wrested Scriptures

Satan, Devil and Demons

  The Truth
   About Satan
  Every Satan
  Every Devil
  Edenic Covenant
  Satan Prelim
  Demon Prelim
  Genesis 3:4-5
  Genesis 6:2
  Job 1:6
  Isaiah 14:12-14
  Ezekiel 28:13-16
  Matthew 4:1-11
  Matt. 12:43-45
  Luke 10:18
  Luke 22:3,31
  John 12:31
   14:30; 16:11
  John 13:2,27
  2 Cor. 11:14
  James 2:19
  1 Peter 5:8
  2 Peter 2:4
  Jude 6
  Jude 9
  Rev. 12:7-9

British Israel
of Christ

Carbon Dating

& Inaccuracies

Revelation 12:7-9
"And there was war in heaven . . . and 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."

This passage is a stock proof text for those who argue that the devil is a rebel angel. A J.W. publication puts it this way:

"In Eden, Satan used the serpent. And so the Bible identifies the Devil, or Satan, as 'the original serpent,' hence the one who really introduced rebellion and wickedness into the universe. - Revelation 12:9".1

"Christ would then oust Satan from heaven {1914}, the seat of government, hurling him down to the vicinity of the earth, in preparation for putting him completely out of action. In the heavens the grand announcement would then be made: 'Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.' But for the earth, what? 'Woe . . ., because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.' (Revelation 12:5, 7-10, 12)"2

  1. Rev. 12 is the chief text on which J.W.'s and S.D.A.'s build their doctrine that the devil is a fallen angel. Since the devil is associated with the serpent (vs. 9) it is argued that the devil used the serpent to obtain the fall of man (Gen. 3). It is further argued that the devil must be a fallen angel since his cohorts are called angels (vs. 9). At the outset the weakness of the total argument should be indicated: Why would the disclosure of the devil's identity be reserved for the last book of scripture, and in a symbolic setting? (Even the most ardent fallen-angel devil expounder must concede the symbolic character of the dragon. A seven-headed, ten-horned red dragon isn't the kind of description one would ordinarily associate with an angel - fallen or otherwise.) Many passages describe in detail, warnings to Israel about apostacy (e.g. Exod. 32; Lev. 26; Num. 16; Deut. 28), but none of these narratives contain a warning about what would, according to J.W. and S.D.A. teaching, be the real instigator - Satan the Devil. Similarly, in the New Testament comprehensive attention is given to sin and the nature of man (e.g. Rom. 7) and just where one would expect the devil of J.W. and S.D.A. teaching to place prominently, the narratives contain no hint of such a creature. It can be expected, therefore, with such poverty of evidence in contexts where evidence is most to be expected, the recourse must be taken by S.D.A.'s and J.W.'s to the symbolic language of Revelation.

  2. The devil of Rev. 12 is nowhere stated to be a fallen angel. Satan in the narrative is a red dragon, not a fallen angel, and if the red-dragon is symbolic of a fallen angel, then proof that the symbol should be interpreted this way is required. The argument that Satan is a fallen angel is therefore inferred, since it is not stated that such is the case in the passage.

  3. For those who teach that Satan was cast out of heaven before the creation of man, it only needs to be pointed out that this is an anachronism since the Revelation was written about A.D. 96, and its contents are expressly stated to be about "things which were shortly {to} come to pass" (i.e., future to about A.D. 96). (Rev. 1:1).

  4. A discussion on Rev. 12 requires that a clear distinction be made between the literal and the figurative and that a criterion or reason by which to make the choice be established before the discussion. By a fast-and-loose treatment of the figurative and literal in a predominantly symbolic book, one can make a passage support nearly any presupposition.

  5. Failure to distinguish the literal and the figurative is at the root of all arguments which press Rev. 12 into service to prove that the devil is a rebel angel. This is indicated in the following approach in which the aim is to establish step by step that the dragon, heavens and war are all symbolic and are not to be taken literally:
    1. Since the devil of this passage is a "great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth" (vs. 3, 4), is or is not this a literal description of the fallen-angel devil?3
    2. Assuming that it is conceded that the dragon is figurative, is the heaven of vs. 7 also figurative? (the answer is inevitable, "no"). The use of the word "heaven" in the preceding verses must then be examined to show whether or not there is consistency in this reply (remembering the distinction between the literal and figurative set out at the commencement of the discussion). Is the heaven of vs. 1 figurative? (the reply must be "yes" since the woman is clothed with the sun and the moon is under her feet, which would be a literal impossibility). Is the heaven of verse 3 the same heaven, or a different heaven from the heaven of verse 1? (Consistency demands that the answer again be "yes", but if the answer is "no", then it must be shown by the non-Christadelphian on what basis he decides between the literal and the figurative. Is this the same criterion as set out before the discussion began? Assuming that it is conceded that the heaven of verse 3 is also figurative, it only remains by the same reasoning to establish that the heaven of verse 7 is the same heaven, and therefore, is also figurative.
    3. Since the dragon and heaven are figurative, then the war (vs. 7) must also be figurative, since one cannot have a literal war when the locale and one of the combatants are figurative.

  6. Jesus did not believe the heavens to be the seat of angelic rebellion and subsequent war, since he taught his disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." (Matt. 6:10).

  7. If Satan had access to heaven until 1914 as J.W.'s teach, how did the devil manage to last so long since God is of "purer eyes than to behold evil"? (Hab. 1:13; Psa 5:4).

  8. If the devil were a rebel angel4 against the will of God, what guarantee is there that believers be glorified with Christ, "made equal unto the angels" (Luke 20:35, 36) will not similarly rise against the authority of the Almighty once they have tasted the blessings of immortality?

  9. The issue is - Does or does not this passage teach the existence of a fallen-angel devil? Although an exposition of the chapter might be attempted, it frequently allows too many red-herrings to be dragged into the discussion without settling the main issue.

  1. The Truth that leads to Eternal Life, (Brooklyn, New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of N.Y., Inc., Int. Bible Students As., 1968), p. 57. Return

  2. Ibid., p. 83. Return

  3. If any should argue that it is, the impossibility of casting one of the literal stars to the earth can be shown. Return

  4. It should be noted that the Greek word "aggelos" translated "angels" (vs. 7, 9), can refer to either human or divine angels. The word means "messenger, agent". Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965). Aggelos refers to human messengers or agents in the following passages: Matt. 11:10; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52; and James 2:25. Return