Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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December 2, 1998
Last Updated :
September 25, 2012
Trampling On The Trail Of Satan! The Truth Of The Beast Of The Book Of Revelation Revealed?
As I thought on the above, the Lord gave me a whole new understanding of world history. Instead of looking at it on the surface, we need to look behind the scenes in the Spirit World. Because he is the King of Empires, Satan will use a certain world power or individual as long as it or they serve his purpose. Eventually, it gets to a point where God has to step in and destroy that power because they pass the point of no return in their iniquity. While in one regard it is God using these nations to fulfill His purposes, such as in punishing rebellious Israel, it is still their choice to do evil and to follow after Satan. The Lord doesn't force them to do that. When Pharaoh of Egypt was destroyed, Satan simply moved on to Assyria. When Assyria had fulfilled its purpose and was destroyed, Satan moved on to Babylon. And so it goes. All we see on the surface is one empire warring against another down through history, but it is really Satan and his minions making sure that they stay close to their target by having an evil influence on those leaders and nations who can do the most damage to the Lord's children. The war in the physical world is just a manifestation of the greater war taking place in the Spirit World. The Daniel chapters clearly demonstrate this.
To give you another example of this idea, consider again the example of Paul. Satan realized that Paul was a major threat to his Kingdom of Darkness, so he stayed hot on Paul's trail. When Paul had to flee Jerusalem after stirring up the Grecians there, do you think Satan stayed behind at Jerusalem? There seems to be evidence that he didn't. Notice what we are told after Paul had left:
"Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
Acts 9:30-31, KJV
Why did the churches have rest? Only because that fireball Paul was gone? Partially. It may have been because when Paul left, Satan left with him as he knew that Paul was a major threat due to his vision for carrying the Gospel far and wide, while the Apostles were still preaching primarily in Jerusalem and around other parts of Israel. This doesn't mean that the Disciples in Jerusalem didn't have their problems. Peter and John were thrown in prison a number of times, and both Stephen and James were martyred in Jerusalem as well. Jesus exposed the bloody sins of Jerusalem when He said:
"And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Matthew 23:30-38, KJV
After killing James, King Herod realized that it had pleased the Jews, so he then went after Peter as well and had him imprisoned:
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
Acts 12:1-4, KJV
Fortunately, the Lord sent one of his angels to free Peter before Herod had a chance to kill him. It was shortly after this that the Lord decided that Herod had gone far enough. One day, just like Satan, foolish King Herod was all lifted up in his pride thinking himself to be a god, and look what happened to him:
"And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost."
Acts 12:21-23, KJV
So, Satan lost another one of his pawns to the wrath of God! If you take the time to read "A Biblical Cafeteria, or the Whole Course?", you will see that Satan incited the Jews against Paul and his companions wherever they went. He was constantly on their trail stirring up trouble! Paul not only preached to the common people, but he also witnessed to many educated people like Governors Felix and Festus, and King Agrippa and Queen Bernice. Paul was a powerhouse for the Lord, and Satan didn't like it one bit. Eventually Satan followed Paul all the way to Rome where he made sure that Paul was eventually beheaded, but not before he had won some to the Lord in the very household of Caesar! While Paul was in prison awaiting his trial, he wrote his Epistle to the church at Philippi. Notice how Paul ends this letter:
"All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household."
Philippians 4:22, KJV
There is no doubt that Satan likewise controlled and worked through the pagan Emperors of Rome. He most certainly used the crazed Emperor Nero as one of his tools. In the translator's notes at the end of Paul's second Epistle to Timothy, we are told that it was written from Rome when Paul was brought before Nero again after his second arrest. Based on Paul's estimated year of martyrdom in 67 A.D., it seems quite probable that it was the crazed Nero who ordered his execution. It was shortly after this that Nero burned Rome! So right up to the end of his life, Paul continued to witness and win souls to the Kingdom of God, despite all of Satan's attempts to stop him.
So far we have traced Satan all the way to Rome; but what happened after Paul's death? From the scriptural evidence I have found, it seems that for a time ole Lucifer still hung around the general area of Rome, Greece and Asia Minor. After all, this was the center for the Early Church. Towards the end of the first century, the Apostle John is exiled to Patmos, a small island in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Asia Minor. From what I have read, an attempt was made to boil him alive in hot oil, but because the Lord wasn't through with him yet, John's life was spared, and he ended up on Patmos where he received one of the greatest revelations the world has ever known: the book of Revelation! In the first few chapters, under the Lord's guidance, the exiled John writes letters of admonition to the seven churches which were in Asia Minor at the time:
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;"
Revelation 1:4, KJV
Just as in the prophecies we covered from the Old Testament where we see Satan attempting to sit in the seat of God, we discover in one of John's letters to the churches that Satan has now planted his earthly throne right in the middle of Asia Minor in Pergamos!:
"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth."
Revelation 2:13, KJV
And exactly where is it in Pergamos where Satan might have had his throne set up? While in Jerusalem, it was obviously the very seat of the high priest in The Second Temple of Solomon! In a letter to one of the other churches in Asia Minor, John gives us a hint that this is probably where it was located in Pergamos as well: in the Jewish synagogue!:
"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
Revelation 2:9, KJV
This same idea is repeated in the very next chapter in another letter written by John"
"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
Revelation 3:9, KJV
Notice the difference in terminology. In two letters we are told that they are the synagogue of Satan, meaning that Satan's influence is there, probably through his demons. However, in the very first verse it is actually referred to as "Satan's seat". For this reason, I tend to believe that towards the end of the First Century, Satan had his Earthly throne set up in Pergamos. Based on this evidence, it is apparent that Satan continued to fight against the Early Church by stirring up the Jews, by introducing false brethren and false doctrines such as gnosticism, by killing some of the Disciples -- such as Antipas in the above verse -- and even by raising up false prophets. The Epistles are full of warnings concerning false brethren who had crept into the midst of the Early Church. This is an issue which I discuss in quite a few of my articles, such as "Exposing the Tactics of the Enemy!" and "Christian Witnessing: Winning the Sheep and Waging the Warfare", to name a few.
Basically, what we have seen so far in this study is that since the dawn of human history, Satan has had free reign over civilization. After all, as stated previously, he is the god of this world. He is the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. What we have also seen is that in the Old Testament, from the book of Genesis to the book of Zechariah, he closely followed Jewish development and expansion making every attempt possible to deter or hinder the Work of God, that being the birth of our Saviour. In the New Testament, we see that despite his defeat at Calvary, Satan did not relent in his attack against God's plan of salvation. This is, after all, God's primary work on Earth as Jesus Himself stated:
"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
John 6:29, KJV
From the moment Christ's death on the Cross gave birth to Christianity, Satan followed its development throughout Israel, the Middle East and Mediterranean countries hoping to thwart the spread of the Gospel of the Kingdom. In essence, Satan has been extremely busy moving from one place to another hoping to prevent God's ultimate plan of Universal Reconciliation from occurring. He has been walking to and fro in the earth as is revealed in the Book of Job:
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
Job 1:6-7, KJV
We have now followed Satan, also known as the King of Tyrus, the King of Empires, all the way up to almost the end of the First Century. At this point, the trail becomes blurred because we have no more Scriptures to work with. However, we still haven't quite fully discussed everything which we can discover from the Biblical evidence that is available to us.
Please go to part five in order to discover a few reading resources which will help you to learn a bit more about the Devil's machinations during the latter part of the First Century.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .