How Satan Deceives the Whole World
By Gerald Flurry • April 9
Revelation 12 discusses God’s one true Church and its relation to Satan. This is significant to all of us.
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (verse 1). A woman in the Bible is a symbol of a church. God clothes His Church with all kinds of brilliant light! A moon is only light because it reflects the sun. Likewise, we as God’s royalty are reflecting His light to the whole world. God’s face shines like the sun at full strength, and He wants us to shine that way too.
The 12 stars in this verse are symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel. God’s Church is spiritual Israel. We have a job from God. But so does physical Israel. It isn’t God’s favorite; it simply must fulfill a purpose. But it has failed badly at completing its commission. God is upset with three descendants of ancient Israel in particular: America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East. These are the two birthright nations and the scepter nation, respectively. (Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to understand the significance of the biblical blessings bestowed upon these nations by God.)
“And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads” (verses 2-3). God’s Church and the devil will clash in the near future. This dragon symbolizes all the world-ruling empires throughout human history, with a particular focus on the Holy Roman Empire. Satan uses this empire in a devious way. It is extremely powerful and has always caused a lot of problems for the true Church. Satan hates Israel and the world, but he hates the Church most of all.
“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 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” (verses 4-5). Satan, formerly Lucifer, turned a third of all the angels into demons—every one of the angels under his command on Earth. That’s the power of the devil!
Satan was ready to murder Jesus Christ as soon as He was born of Mary, after being begotten by God the Father Himself. The baby Christ’s family fled to Egypt with Him to escape from King Herod, who was inspired by Satan to slaughter all children age 2 or younger in Judea in an attempt to kill Christ. Herod was desperate to end the life of the coming King, who was wrongly considered a threat to Herod’s rule at that time.
The next verse returns to the topic of God’s Church: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (verse 6). Applying the day-for-a-year principle from the book of Numbers, this verse discusses God’s Church running for its life for 1,260 years due to intense persecution, mostly by the Holy Roman Empire. (Another 1,260-day period talked about in Revelation is 1,260 actual days, or 3½ years of punishment soon to afflict the world. God will punish physical and spiritual Israel especially for their sins and for not heeding His warning message.)
The story gets more horrifying: “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 deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (verses 7-9). Satan tried to overthrow God and rule the universe through violent spiritual warfare! He possesses tremendous power and has caused huge damage to the universe in his rebellion. Is it any wonder that he has deceived the whole world? God hurled him down to Earth, where he and the demons are trapped to this day.
Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 describe Satan’s rebellion. Before being struck down, he had a lofty goal: “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). He “made the earth to tremble”! (verse 16). What can a vicious being with this kind of power do to humanity? What has he done to us throughout the ages? How many people really understand the devil as he is described in the Bible?
“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” (Revelation 12:10). The word brethren here is dual, referring to both physical and spiritual Israel. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Remember the 12 stars of verse 1, which represent the 12 tribes. Satan does all he can to destroy them. But he hates God’s spiritual Family even more.
The word accused is important here as well. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines it as “to speak against in court, in assembly of the people.” It’s about vehement judicial accusation. We fought an evil force in court for six years. Satan is publicly hostile toward God’s Church, just as he repeatedly accused Jesus Christ and the apostles.
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (verse 12). When Satan and the demons were cast down and confined to Earth, the heavens rejoiced. Satan is full of wrath knowing his time is running out! He’s about to be banished to outer darkness and will be stuck there during the Millennium.
How many people really think about this verse and are fearful? All of us should fear the devil. Satan is a powerhouse! What can he do to a human who doesn’t have God’s protection?
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). God doesn’t tell us exactly when Satan was cast down. We can only discern when by the fruits. This verse says Satan’s first action after being cast down was to attack God’s Church. He turned 95 percent of God’s people away from the truth in about three years after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1986. Satan is not a joke! It’s a big mistake to think of him that way.
Worldwide Church of God income in 1986 was $182 million. The Church brought in $192 million in 1987, $201 million in 1988, and $212 million in 1989, before finally leveling off with $211 million in 1990. That’s almost $1 billion in five years! The money poured in as a result of God speaking through Mr. Armstrong, yet his successors destroyed all of that good work and abolished Church doctrine—and hoarded the money.
“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” (verse 14). So much trouble is coming on the world, but God says He will protect His loyal people who are committed to His Work.
“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” (verses 15-16). Escaping the devil is never easy. We must wake up and see what God is doing, learning the truth before it’s too late.
God’s Church is filled with the glorious light of His truth, a message that would bring happiness, joy, peace and prosperity to all mankind—if not for their rebellion.
So how does Satan deceive the whole world? He keeps them ignorant of his mighty power! We must overcome him as Christ did (Revelation 3:21) to be protected and rewarded like no one ever will be again!Read More