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N.T. Satan

27th March 2011, hej

 

8) Satan's Seat: Revelation

19. Vision of John from Y'shua. From the letters to specific congregations

"And to the angel (messenger) of the congregation in Smyrna write: 'The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the diabolos is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:8-10)

Meaning: There were Christians claiming to be Jews but were not and caused problems, Contemporary ecclesiastical writing from Ignatius shows that those of Smyrna rejected the false doctrine that came from Ephesus. Even now Jews face great issues with those Christians who claim to replace the Jews. The diabolos was different as they were Pagans who made false accusations to the authorities (so many that it is recorded that Roman authority began to reject accusations). Ten days is ten years from latter part of Trajan's rule 107-117CE.


To the location of Satan's seat..... which was Pergamos

And to the messenger/angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which has the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and thou hold 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 dwells. But I have a few things against you, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (Revelation 2:12-15)

Meaning: A seat is a place of rule, and Pergamos was at that time the centre of Christian apostasy, with Christians already compromising with paganism (denying the faith). Pliny notes that in Pergamos “temples once almost desolate, begin to be frequented.” (letter to Trajan 106CE) . Pergamos from 29 BC was a centre of the imperial or Roman state religion. This eventually combined with Christianity, but the compromise with Paganism was begun in John's day.


To those of the city of Thyatira


I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (Rev 2:19-25)

Possible Meaning in context: Jezebel forced Jews to worship a pagan god. Those in Thyatira who accept pagan ideas are equated with knowing 'the depths of satan', or 'the depths of the adversary'.


The final reference in the letters,

And to the messenger/angel of the congregation in Philadelphia write; .. I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 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. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:7-10)

Possible Meaning in Context: This repeats the message to Smyrna. Not denying the name of Y'shua, is to not deny the teaching. Those of the assembly of satan say they are Jews and are not. Many Christians say they are Jews (having replaced them) and deny Jews are Jews. This was begun when John said 'they went out from us, but they were not of us” (I John 2:19) They formed their own 'synagogues' on the most rigid of Jewish models, having their own leaders who they equated to Rabbis or aping the Jewish preisthood. They made their own 'Sabbath', and holy days and replaced the Jewish ones, moving Passover and giving it the name of a pagan deity.


All five references equate satan to those with doctrinal impurity and practice, specifically of those calling themselves Christians (or pretending to be the 'true' inheritor of the Jewish hope). Satan was used in all 5 instances to refer to false Christians. These had a few characteristics: they were predicted in Daniel, loving their own glory God made them believe a lie and they are an enemy to true believers, more of an adversary than paganism as they say they are Christian. Lastly satan in this context is not an individual being but a group as it is written, “But unto..as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of the satan, as they speak.” (Revelation 2:24)


20. In the symbolic language of Revelation

Background: There are two sections of scripture which are arguably most misunderstood, they are the letters of Paul and Revelation.


Revelation has a structure. First the letters, which are just that, letters. Then prophecy of events shortly to begin to occur (from when the book was written) within events heralded by symbols of “7”; the 7 seals, thunders, vials etc. Then interspersed there are visions 'in heaven' which show the state of the hope of the servants. In addition there is a long vision of the fate of a symbolic woman who has a child and a dragon.


Isaac Newton followed Joseph Mede, who followed the Polish Brethren and the understanding was well known, despite persecution, and is still understood today, that 'heaven' stood for political rule on earth, 'the woman' because pregnant symbolises a corrupted congregation of Christians and her son was the most corrupt of all -Constantine who acted as if a god.

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his messengers/angels were cast out with him. And 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. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the diabolos is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:5-17)

This passage has done most to mis-inform people that the serpent is the diabolos and satan. But Firstly the subject is not the serpent – but the symbolic dragon which is a point many people miss. The dragon is part of a complete vision about complex events to occur with an interval and then 1260 years was to pass. The dragon (labelled a diabolos and satan) is cast out at the beginning of that time – from 'rule' in 'heaven” to be with the people “in the earth”. This was fulfilled with the rise of Constantine, when paganism was cast out and briefly there was celebration as the resistance to the death of a minority of true Christians to paganism had opened a way. But paganism 'the dragon' had a nasty comeback and so 'the woman', the minority of christians, who held to the original faith, had to flee and hide from both the false Christians (satans) and neo-pagans (diabolos). They were all cast from rule with the man child – Constantine who ruled all the Roman world taking absolute rule.


Revelation is a book full of symbols of the sort found in the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. If we were to ask “who is symbolised by the dragon?”, we might ask what was a dragon in the Hebrew scriptures

speak, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his streams, that says, 'My Nile is my own; I made it for myself.' (Ezekiel 29:3)

This is the same word 'drakon' used in the LXX as in Revelation. But if we are in doubt as who the dragon is after the power of Egypt is lost, we may identify it by asking what characterised that 'old serpent' greek opis. The LXX uses the same word of the serpent in Eden who lied, saying they would not die. This may not be enough to identify who was the dragon, so we are told that it is called 'the false accuser' of the servants (as the servants knew who and what it was that falsely accused them ) and 'the adversary' which in its Christian form, persecuted the true Christians. The dragon is any form of pagan religion, and it represented a body of ideas rather than individual people.


More symbols, the binding of the dragon,

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Y'shua, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the diabolos that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:1-15)

It is to be noted that in this passage satan is not destroyed only diabolos the false accuser. But satan as the adversary is bound for 1,000 years.

(Aside: This one passage plus the “one day as 1,000 years” equating the days of creation is the basis for Christian Millennial thinking.)


In any case people are judged according to their own works, so dragon, beast and false prophet are not individuals, but systems of thought or institutions.



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