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Thank you for your question.

Only in Christian mythology.

The incident prophesied in Luke and Revelation is not intended to be understood literally.

Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Revelation 12:9 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.

Revelation is a book wherein religious/political events are prophesied using symbols.

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified (Greek – ‘semaino’ to indicate by signs) it by his angel unto his servant John:

Looking at Revelation 12.

Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder (Greek – ‘semeion’ sign) in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3 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.

4 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.

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

9 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.

Now all this is symbol.

None of the symbols, the heaven, the woman, the child, the dragon, the stars, Michael and his angels, the war in heaven, the casting out into the earth are intended to be understood literally. (Try to clothe a woman with the sun or imagine stars cast upon the earth by a dragon’s tail – stars are suns in their own right, just one would obliterate the earth).

It only makes sense if the symbols are describing a cataclysmic change in the religious/ political ‘heaven’ of the Roman Empire.

Do we find such an event in history?

Yes we do.

In the fourth century with the advent of Constantine, Christianity went from a persecuted church to the state church of the Roman Empire in a relatively short time.

The war that Paul described in Ephesians was finally won as far as the rulers of the Roman Empire are concerned.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Revelation tells us how the victory was literally won.

11 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.

It was won by the foolishness of men preaching and being prepared to die for their faith – these were represented by ‘Michael and his angels’.

Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Luke records that Jesus had sent his disciples out preaching.

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

They had had great success and returned with joy.

17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils (mental illnesses) are subject unto us through thy name.

After his resurrection he sent them out in earnest.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Jesus with the foresight of the holy spirit was able to see the success of the seventy as the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom of God which would eventually ‘turn the world upside down’ and bring the benefits of Christian teaching and morality into Government.

Hence his comment ‘I beheld Satan as lightning (ie quickly) falling from heaven’.

(Not something that had happened in the past but a vision of the future).

When the change came it was accomplished within 70 years.

Constantine legalized Christianity in AD313.

Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in AD380.

Moving on to Revelation 20

Revelation 20:10 And the devil 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.

Again the devil, lake of fire, beast, false prophet and tormented day and night for ever and ever are not to be understood literally. They are all symbols.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Death is not something that you can literally cast into a lake of fire.

Hell (Greek – ‘hades’ the grave) is not something that you can cast into a lake of fire.

Popular mythology makes hell a place of fiery torment. Does it never strike people as odd that hell itself is cast into a lake of fire?

Death and hell (the grave) being cast into a lake of fire is symbolic of utter destruction. Nothing else destroys as completely as fire, hence its symbolic use.The destruction is forever.

It is the fulfilment of Paul’s words

1Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

Revelation 20 describes the final judgment at the end of the millennial reign of Christ.

Those accepted will receive everlasting life.

Those resurrected and rejected will die again, that is why it is called the second death.

They will not literally be tormented forever because Solomon tells us.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing...

They will be utterly destroyed.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

In the thousand year reign of Christ, the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, is described as being cast into a bottomless pit.

Revelation 20:3 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.

If we understand this to mean that Christ will rule the earth with a rod of iron and that pagan philosophy and godless government will not exist during this time then the symbol makes sense and our understanding is intact.

At the end of the thousand years a final rebellion is prophesied indicating a relaxation of Christ’s rule and a re-emergence of godless government.

7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

8 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.

9 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.

When all that are left are immortal they will no longer sin because they possess the divine nature and it is not possible to sin. Therefore there will be no more death and no more graves (hell).

Incidentally they will be ‘equal to the angels’

Luke 20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Which of itself means that angels cannot sin and cannot die.

God will be all in all. There will be no more satan either individually or collectively.

We have seen then the symbolic fire prepared for ‘the devil and his angels’.

In the New Testament the Greek word ‘aggelos’ translated angel is not restricted to divine beings.

It is used of John the Baptist

Matthew 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger <aggelos> before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

It is used of John’s messengers.

Luke 7:24 And when the messengers <aggelos> of John were departed,

It is used of Jesus’ disciples.

Luke 9:52 And sent messengers <aggelos> before his face:

The devil’s angels can easily be understood as meaning men whose lives are evil.

Jesus says of the Pharisees

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil,

Not that they were literally but because their deeds were evil.

Matthew 25: 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Christ is speaking of Judgment and, when we compare it with what we have seen in Revelation, we can understand thatthe ‘everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels’ is a symbolic reference to the ‘second death’ meaning complete annihilation.

If you have problems with ‘everlasting fire’ I can refer you to Jeremiah 17.

Jeremiah 17:27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

The fire that burnt up the palaces of Jerusalem is not still burning so we must conclude that is idiomatic of the fire not being quenched until the palaces were completely destroyed.

It is similarly used in other places.

Can I suggest that you read:

Do You Believe in a Devil? (Click on the title)

If you have further questions, please ask.

I hope this helps.

Glenn Smith

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