2 Corinthians 4:3-4
John Lennox “Against the Flow”
“Since we are now in the realm of things future, it would be well to remind ourselves that the fulfillment of biblical prophecy usually turns out to be much more complex than we might at first imagine.
Think of the well-known prophecies regarding the Messiah. Daniel spoke of him coming on the clouds of heaven, whereas Zechariah said he would come riding on a donkey. The apparent contradiction is solved by the fact that the ‘coming’ of Messiah turned out not to be simply a point in time, but two distinct comings separated by a very lengthy period during which the Messiah would be absent. His first coming, during which he fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy (among many others), was not a point in time but lasted just over thirty years, and his second coming has not happened yet. If we were asked to set all this out in a time-line, based only on our knowledge of the Old Testament prophecies, would any of us even have realized that the ‘coming’ was to be in two stages, let alone place the details in their correct sequence? Scarcely.”
“Even though the end time is likely to be more complex than we could ever guess, some of its broad contours are discernible. According to Daniel it will be a future end-time leader, not Antiochus, who will invade Egypt and the land of Israel, resulting in great loss of life. He will sequester the wealth of Egypt and gain control of a wider region of North Africa. He will eventually leave that region in fury, alarmed by threats from the east and north. On his way to neutralize those threats he will meet his end, between the mountains and the sea.”
David E. Aune in his commentary on Revelation 9 writes:
“The ‘star’ is obviously some kind of supernatural being, as this verse and the following make clear…..While the key to the abyss is mentioned again in 20:1, the notion of a shaft that could be locked and unlocked is implied rather than explicitly stated. In the other two references, in Rev 11:7 and 17:8, the abyss is the place from which THE BEAST IS SAID TO ASCEND…
The abyss is sometimes synonymous with the underworld, which is the abode of the dead and the place where demons are imprisoned into the abyss until the day of judgement.”
Dr. Michael Heiser in his book Demons, What the Bible really says about
The Powers of Darkness, has a chapter titled: The Devil – His Dominion and Destiny!
“Matthew also considered Satan ‘the prince of demons’, allowing us to see clearly that Matthew considered the minions of Satan’s kingdom to be demons. This notion makes good sense. Beelzebul derives from the old Semitic title for Baal, lord of the underworld, and Baal was also called ‘ruler of the earth’ in Ugaritic texts nine times. This aspect of an association with Baal dovetails with the Deuteronomy 32 worldview that was part of Second Temple Jewish theology. Each nation was under the dominion of demons, so it is logical to consider a figure associated with Baal, the ‘ruler of the earth,’ also the be the ruler of demons.
The Gospel writers understood the casting down of the original rebel as conceptually connected to the underworld home of Baal, lord of the dead.”
Senator Lindsey Graham took the microphone and said:
“This is hell, the most unethical sham I have seen in my decades-long political career. To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics.”
Michael Heiser “Demons”
“With the respect to the renegade sons of God, the Watchers of Second Temple Jewish tradition, it is clear that Second Temple texts have them imprisoned in the abyss for ‘seventy generations’ or ‘until the day of their judgment….until the eternal judgment is consummated’ (1 Enoch 10:11-13).Many scholars believe that the book of Revelation describes their release, a precursor to the return of Christ, the day of the Lord, and their ultimate punishment (with Satan) in the lake of fire. Specifically, the scene in Revelation 9:1-10 of the ‘unlocking’ of the abyss by a ‘star’ who is given the key is construed as the eschatological emancipation of the imprisoned Watchers.”
“Consider the imagery of the temptation. Jesus was in the wilderness forty days – a deliberate mirroring of Israel’s forty years of wandering in the desert after their failure to believe Yahweh would give them victory over the giant Anakim (evil spawn in Old Testament and Second Temple theology) reported by the spies.
The failure was especially shameful because it involved ignoring the earlier incredible deliverance at the Red Sea. This is consistent with the observation of many scholars that Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ early life and ministry cast him as the new SON OF GOD, the central figure of a new exodus.
We must not overlook the fact that the exodus is viewed as a victory over the gods of Egypt – evil spirits in rebellion against Yahweh in the wake of Babel’s allotment of the gods over the nations.
Jesus’ victory over Satan’s temptation in the wilderness is also a victory over the gods of the nations.
In effect, Satan was offering Jesus rule over the nations abandoned by Yahweh at Babel (Deuteronomy 32:8). That judgment was never intended to be permanent. When Yahweh raised up his own ‘portion’ starting with the covenant with Abraham, he told the patriarch that it would be through his offspring that all the nations would ultimately be blessed. Jesus was the specific fulfillment of that promise.
Had Jesus failed in the wilderness temptation, the plan to bring the nations back into the family of Yahweh also would have failed. The nature of this temptation and the implication of its outcome presume the Second Temple Jewish perception we discovered earlier; that the rebellious gods of the nations were affiliated with the original revel of Eden and, in some sense, under his authority. When the Gospel have Satan offering the kingdoms of the world to Jesus in exchange for worship, they presume this affiliation and authority.”