|It is a curious
fact: the commentaries for the
historicist and futurist views have very little to say directly about these
verses. I believe this is because the
poetic view has tumbled to the truth:
these verses begin with a flashback, a literary technique almost
unknown in the 19th century (and thus unsuspected by the writers). We shall deal with the question of “when”
at the end of the page.
course, refers to blood and murder (most appropriate for Satan).
|Seven Crowns (the
word means diadems, or kingly crowns) may be taken to mean seven kingdoms or
kings. Side note: one way to tell the dragon from the beast
(it can get confusing) is to note that the dragon has seven crowns -- the
beast ten. The distinction will
shortly be important.
has been taken by the poetic to refer to the wisdom given Satan at creation
(he was a cherub, evidently). Lindsey
(alone, and without reference I can find) says that this and the ten horns
imply a league of seven willing and three reluctant nations. In his earlier work this was identified as
the Common Market.
brings quickly to mind a select set of images. Unlike the number seven, which has many
associations, the number ten does not.
The first image we bring to mind is the ten toes of the statue in
Daniel; recall, however, that Daniel’s
beast (from the sea) had seven horns.
From its interpretation we see the first direct indication of Rome. We thus conclude that this dragon (which is
later identified as Satan) is somehow associated with Rome. By its association with Satan, we can say
that it is the spiritual, diabolic power behind Rome. But which Rome? The historicist says first the Roman
Empire, and later the Roman Catholic Church.
The futurist says some future reincarnation of the Roman Empire. (Hence Talbot’s fascination with Mussolini
timing becomes somewhat of a difficulty, especially for the
historicists. The most flamboyant of
them, Miller, skips chapters 12 through 15 altogether. As we have seen, they insist that the woman
is the church; the 1260 days the 126
years. The problem comes with the
pregnancy and the attempt to “devour the child”. If we extend the concept of the woman to
include both Israel and Church -- the true Israel, and heirs of the promise
-- then the problem can be solved with flashback. John is simply introducing us to the
characters; we see in the devouring of
the child the slaughter of the innocents by Herod. (Others have seen Roman persecutions here).
dangerous; if used too much, it can
seriously distort the chronology. The
timing can be seen if we can determine when Satan fell. Does the Bible tell us? There are two places where Satan is seen as
“falling” outside of Revelation:
Isaiah 14:12 and Luke 10:18. In
the first of those, we are dealing directly in prophecy. It is not clear that Satan is fallen to
earth; the statement may be in the
future (though not usually taken that way).
It may also be taken that he is fallen from his first estate. Certainly throughout the Old Testament he
presents himself before God.
|In Luke, however,
Jesus is clearly speaking in the present tense, and not in a prophetic
passage. “I saw Satan fall like
lightning from heaven.” When did he
say this? When the seventy-two
returned from preaching the Kingdom of God.
If we accept this as the time that Satan falls (or close to it) the
timing makes great sense for the historicist view. Satan falls when the Kingdom is established
on earth -- and his time is short, as we will see. Some additional evidence for this can be
found in Jude 1:6, where angels (i.e., demons) are spoken of as already being
bound in chains for judgment.
|The futurist view is
simpler and more dramatic. This is the
start of the Great Tribulation -- Satan arrives on earth, with no more access
to heaven(?), and now the trouble really begins.
|(By the way -- how
do we know that Satan is bound by time?
He had a beginning).