We are continuing our study this morning of 1 Thessalonians and we will be looking at verses 17 and 18 of chapter 2. In these verses, Paul shared his deep desire to be with these people whom he loved very much. But due to reasons beyond his control, he couldn’t come to them. So, he sends his disciple Timothy to teach them and encourage them in their faith. After Timothy returned to Paul with good news about the Thessalonians’ faith and love, Paul wrote this letter rejoicing in their commitment to discipleship.
It was most likely through Timothy that Paul learned that there were enemies in Thessalonica who were attacking his motives with these new converts. They were saying things such as: "If Paul really loved and cared about you, he wouldn’t have left you so soon and his failure to return shows he doesn’t care about you." Paul refutes these charges in 2:17-20 using highly emotional language.
But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18 ESV
"But since we were torn away from you"—the "we" refers to Paul, Silas, and Timothy, all of whom departed Thessalonica because of intense opposition that had dragged Jason, one of the new believers, before the civil authorities. They had been forced to leave town quickly under the cover of darkness. Acts 17:10 says, "The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea."
The Greek word translated, "torn away from you," is aporphanizō which was used of being orphaned. This is its only use in the New Testament. Unlike the modern term, the word "orphan" could refer to the child who had lost his or her parents or the parents who had lost their child. The verb elsewhere in the Greek world refers only to orphaned children. It is likely that Paul is picturing himself that way here. If so, it continues Paul's portrayal of himself as a child from 2: 7 where he says, "yet we became infants in your midst." By using this term orphaned, Paul is saying that it was an emotionally painful ordeal!
"Brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart"—by calling them "brothers" he is saying, "We’re family! And I want to be with my family." "For a short time," is literally, "for a season of an hour." This expresses his intention and desire to return as soon as possible. Paul and his team have been absent physically from their Thessalonian brothers and sisters but not spiritually. They carried the church in their hearts.
"We endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face"—the word "endeavored" is from the Greek word spoudazo which means "to make every effort, to labor, be diligent." The verb speaks of intensity of purpose followed by intensity of effort toward the realization of that purpose.
The phrase "with great desire" is from the Greek word epithumia which is often rendered "lust," in its pejorative sense. Rarely, as in the context here, it is used positively. Paul's desire to see them is graphically portrayed in 3:10.
as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? 1 Thessalonians 3:10 ESV
They not only intensely wanted to see their Thessalonians brothers and sisters; they also made plans and put them into action. But they were unable to carry them out. Satan frustrated their plans.
"Because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again"—Paul uses "we" in verse 17 and 18, embracing Timothy and Silas, and now, all of a sudden, he says, "I, Paul." He wants to make sure that the church was clear about his own personal desires. He tells the Thessalonians that he tried to return on more than one occasion but that he and the apostolic team could not reach their goal because Satan stopped them.
This tells us that all of Paul's plans did not work out. Paul tells the Romans something very similar.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. Romans 1:13 ESV
Believers, don’t get frustrated when you plans don’t work out. Trust in Yahweh’s plan for you.
"Satan hindered us"—how did Paul know that it was Satan that hindered them?
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. Acts 16:6 ESV
Here Paul says it was the Holy Spirit that forbade them to speak the word. That doesn’t sound like something the Spirit would do. But it was. And now he says that Satan hindered them from going back to Thessalonica.
The Thessalonians were mostly Gentile converts, yet when Paul mentioned Satan here, he gave no further explanation. This shows that in the few weeks he was there, Paul taught the Thessalonians much about Satan and spiritual warfare. The Thessalonians might not have needed any explanation as to who Satan was but I’d say that the modern church sure does.
Let’s talk about Satan. When it comes to beings such as Satan, the devil, demons, and unclean spirits there are basically three positions held by believers today.
View 1 Some believers don't believe in a personal devil or demons; to them there is no such thing.
View 2 Some believe that Satan, demons, and unclean spirits are real beings that are still very active today.
View 3 Some believe that Satan, demons, and unclean spirits are real beings but were all defeated and destroyed in A.D. 70 at the return of Christ when judgment took place.
Those who hold to the first view, contend that Satan is not a real spiritual being but is merely a reference to a personification of sinfulness in the human heart or to wicked human beings.
They would say that Satan is merely our own internal sinful human nature or inclination to sin. How would that view fit with Scripture? Let's start by looking at a verse from the Tanakh.
They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. Deuteronomy 32:17 ESV
Here "demons" is the Hebrew word shed. They are called gods, Elohim in Hebrew. Here "no gods" is Eloahh. It should be translated "not God." The NASB has "They sacrificed to demons who were not God." So, demons are here called elohim. This is very important because I believe that ALL uses of elohim in the Tanakh refer to spiritual beings. Elohim is ONLY used of those in the spirit world, so if they are called elohim, they are not of the physical realm; they are spirit beings. Men are never called elohim unless they are dead.
Let’s look at what Scripture has to say about elohim. The term is used 2606 times in the NASB. Elohim is the plural of El, which comes from a root word meaning "might, strength, power." Elohim is plural, but it is what grammarians would call a morphological plural. Hebrew nouns that end in "im" are plural. But in most cases throughout the Tanakh, the meaning is singular. We know this from Hebrew grammar. Elohim is like the English words "deer" or "sheep." How do you know if "deer" is singular or plural? You know by the grammar of the sentence in which it is used: "I shot a deer" would be singular. "I saw a bunch of deer" would be plural. In the very first use of elohim in Genesis 1:1 the verb bara identifies the subject of the verb as masculine singular.
Many people think that elohim is another name of Yahweh, but elohim is used in Scripture for many others beside Yahweh. And again, it is only used of those in the spirit world. Yahweh is called Elohim over 2,000 times in Genesis 1:1. We know that Yahweh is called Elohim, but He is not the only one. Elohim is used of the gods of foreign nations.
because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did. 1 Kings 11:33 ESV
"Goddess and god" in this text are elohim. For those of you who think that Yahweh is the only God, look with me at Exodus 20.
And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:1-3 ESV
Verse two in the Hebrew uses "onokiy, Yahweh elohim." Yahweh is saying that He alone is Israel's elohim. Other nations had their elohim, but Yahweh was the elohim of Israel.
The angelic watchers/divine counsel are called Elohim.
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: Psalms 82:1 ESV
Here "God" and "gods" are both elohim; this is speaking of the divine counsel or the watchers.
I said, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; Psalms 82:6 ESV
Here "gods" is elohim. Yahweh said, "You are gods." But notice the next verse.
nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince." Psalms 82:7 ESV
If these elohim were men, why would Yahweh say, "You will die like men"? Yahweh is saying here that He will judge the disobedient watchers.
Elohim is also used of demons as we saw earlier in Deuteronomy 32:7. In 1 Samuel we find a verse that might surprise you. The witch of Endor is before King Saul.
The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." 1 Samuel 28:13 ESV
"I see a god"—here is elohim. All uses of "elohim" in the Tanakh refer to spiritual beings. In attempting to find a human use of elohim, several people have referred me to this verse in Exodus.
He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. Exodus 4:16 ESV
Here they say, "See, Moses is called elohim." Is he? No, he is "as God" meaning that Aaron was to speak for Moses, who was as God to Pharaoh. Aaron was Moses' mouth; he spoke for Moses. So, a prophet is someone who speaks for God. Aaron was like a prophet, and Moses was like a god. If Moses is an elohim, then Aaron is a mouth.
Another verse that is used to question that elohim is used only to refer to those in the spirit world is found in Exodus 22.
"If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the man's house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. "If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor's property. Exodus 22:7-8 NASB
Here the word "judges" is elohim. But the translators wrongly translated it "judges." How are human judges to determine if the man stole the money? The Faithlife Study Bible states:
The plural in this passage (and in 21:6) may indicate that "gods" refers to the human judges of Israel (chap. 18), but this is not supported by chap. 18 (where the judges are never referred to as elohim). All the uses of elohim in chap. 18 refer to the God of Israel. (Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Ex 22:8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.)
The English Standard Version translates it as "God" and not judges.
"For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, 'This is it,' the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. Exodus 22:9 NASB
Again, The Faithlife study Bible states:
The idea of God condemning the guilty party recalls other contexts where God's will was determined through the casting lots (1 Sam 10:16-26; 14:42; Josh 7:14). Though the method of discerning God's will is not outlined here, God often makes His will known during a decision-making process. Since the scenario here is very similar to the one that follows (v. 10), God's will may have been determined by an oath taken in the name of Yahweh (on the presumption that God would reveal and condemn the one who took His name in vain). (Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Ex 22:9). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.)
"If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, an oath before the LORD shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor's property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution. Exodus 22:10-11 NASB
So, for them to take an oath was to come before Yahweh. So, elohim is not used of humans unless they are in the spirit world. It is a place of residence locator. To make Satan a human and not a supernatural being is to go against the clear language of Scripture.
Let's move to the New Testament.
Then Yeshua was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1 ESV
Is this Yeshua being tempted by His own sinful nature? To go there is an attack on the deity of Christ. The Bible teaches that Christ was sinless.
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7 ESV
Here the word "likeness" is homoioma which suggests similarity but difference. Though His humanity was genuine, He was different from all other humans in that He was sinless. We see this same Greek word in Romans 8.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, Romans 8:3 ESV
Christ came in the "likeness" of sinful flesh. Again, likeness is from homoioma, meaning "similar, but different." The difference was that He wasn't sinful. Yeshua had real human flesh so that He felt pain and sorrow, and He wept and died. But He was sinless.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
Christ knew no sin.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 ESV
Yeshua can't be tempted by His own sinful nature because He didn't have a sinful nature. Is Christ being tempted by wicked human beings? Most would say that Christ's adversaries were the Jews. Could Satan here represent the Jews?
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Yeshua said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’" Matthew 4:8-10 ESV
Would the Jews ask Christ to worship them? No! Is Christ carrying on a conversation here with Himself? Throughout the context "the tempter" or "the devil" is given personal attributes and clearly distinguished from Yeshua as being another person. Nowhere in this context do we get the idea that the devil is merely referring to a sinful human nature of Christ. It's kind of ridiculous to think that a sinful nature within Christ demanded Christ to worship Christ, and if He did, Christ would give Christ the nations. Satan offering Christ the nations is not an empty promise. Satan was ruling the nations. Sinful human beings could not make this offer to Christ.
Those who deny the existence of Satan or demons want to make everything the result of natural occurrences. Bishop Lightfoot writes, "Unclean spirits and demonic possession seem to be no more than physical and mental illness."
And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. Mark 6:13 ESV
Here we see a contrast between demons and sickness. They were not casting out mental illness.
I think that the View 1, that denies a personal devil or demons, is unbiblical. Modern science has caused many believers to question or outright deny the spiritual. To those of the ancient Near East, everything was spiritual. To us, however, nothing is. If someone believes in God and angels, why is it so hard for him to also believe in Satan and demons?
View 2 contends that Satan, demons, and unclean spirits are real beings who are still very active today. As you read through the Gospels, you see many encounters with Satan and demons.
And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Yeshua of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God." Mark 1:23-24 ESV
"Unclean," is from the Greek word akathartos. In this sense, it refers to evil. "Spirit" is from the Greek pneuma and here refers to a spirit being; spirits don't have physical bodies.
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." Luke 24:39 ESV
Spirits don’t have physical bodies but they do have spiritual bodies.
Back in Mark 1, there was an unclean spirit in the synagogue, and he disrupted the service. Notice the possessive pronoun "their synagogue." This indicates that this man was not a regular member of the Capernaum synagogue. This unclean spirit is what we would call a demon. Demon comes from the Greek daimonion, which, according to Thayer, means "a divine power, deity, divinity."
"What have you to do with us, Yeshua of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God." Mark 1:24 ESV
Notice that this demon recognizes both Yeshua's humanity and His deity. "Yeshua of Nazareth" speaks of His humanity; "Holy One of God" speaks of His deity. It's interesting to me that here we are 2000 years later, and we're still arguing about who Yeshua was. The demons got it right; they knew who He was. This was God in the flesh. They knew that. And they also understood that there was nothing they could do to keep Yeshua from taking authority over them.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. Psalms 78:40-41 ESV
It is Yahweh who is called the "Holy One" or the "Holy One of Israel." Calling Christ "The he Holy One" is a clear reference to the deity, and He was called that by the demons themselves.
In the ESV it appears that this demon asks a question, but it is actually more of a statement in which he states the facts, the reason Yeshua has come to earth.
saying, 'Away! what to us and to thee, Yeshua the Nazarene? thou didst come to destroy us; I have known thee who thou art the Holy One of God.' Mark 1:24 YLT
This demon understood that Yeshua had come to destroy them.
And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. Mark 1:26 ESV
This demon obeys the words of Yeshua. Here Mark is demonstrating Yeshua's authority over the fallen spirit world. Yeshua will Himself later point out that this proved that Satan in his strength was being defeated, and that this could only be by the Spirit of God.
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Matthew 12:28 ESV
In order to really understand how these people would have processed this, you have to understand that in the first century people saw demonic spirits involved in everything bad. If you had a disease, it was a demonic spirit; if you had a tragedy, it was a demonic spirit; if you had a mental illness, it was a demonic spirit. The demons were under every rock. They were responsible for everything. The people understood that there was nothing they could do about it; they just had to live with it. This fear tortured them.
Their desperation is evident in their practice of "trepanning." If a person reached a point of torture where he couldn't stand the fear any longer, he would take a drill and actually drill a hole into his skull hoping that the demonic spirits would depart through it. Now that doesn't sound very pleasant. But it gives you some idea of the level of desperation they lived with.
Historians have dug up the cemeteries from the first century and found about five percent of the skulls had a hole drilled in them. This was a significant thing to them. But then along came Yeshua with the solution! At His command, the Demon gone. End of problem. The people were stunned by that. Yeshua identified Himself as the One who could solve their problems. He was the One who could remove the demonic spirits and deal with the unsolvable issues in their lives. Mark says that the word about Yeshua spread immediately.
What about demons today? Do we need to be worrying about demons? I'm sure that you understand that the answer to those questions will be different depending on whom you ask. I think that most of churchianity believes that demons are just as active today as they were in the Bible. One reason for this is that they don’t understand audience relevance. They don’t know that there was a transition period and that the ages changed in A.D. 70.
On the other hand, some people don't believe in the devil or demons at all. And then others believe that they are real and are still in battle with them. Then there is the view that I hold.
View 3 Satan, demons, and unclean spirits are real beings, but they were all defeated and destroyed in A.D. 70 at the return of Christ when judgment took place.
The view of many today is that whatever happened in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts is intended to describe Christianity as it ought to be in every age. So, is it normal for us to have problems with demons? I've been a Christian for 47 years, and I have never encountered a demon, not one. How "normal" is it to have problems with demons?
What about demonic possession today? We need to understand that most of the New Testament references to demon possession appear in the Gospels and represent the outburst of satanic opposition to Yahweh's work in Christ. We have no reference to demon possession after the book of Acts, in fact, we don't have much reference to it in the latter half of the book. We encounter occult practices, magicians, and others who dabble in dark power, but seldom do we find an account of an evil spirit that has taken over a life. We have no reference whatsoever to demon possession in the Epistles, not in any of them. We have no reference in the Old Covenant to demon possession either.
Demon possession seems to be something that happened only during the time of Christ and the apostles for the purpose of manifesting the power of Christ over the demonic world.
We saw in the text in Mark that the demons are to be destroyed. We see this same idea in Matthew 8.
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Matthew 8:28-29 ESV
The demons understood the mission of Yeshua to destroy them. Notice the final words in this verse. "The time" is presumably the time of judgment at the consummation of the ages. The destruction of Satan and demons was prophesied from the beginning.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15 ESV
This is a prophecy of Christ overcoming Satan. One of the aspects of Christ's earthly mission was to destroy the devil. Was Christ a failure in this mission? Most Christians act as if He was in that they're still worried about the devil. I think we want him to still be around so we have someone to blame for our sin.
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 ESV
The Greek word for "destroy" is luo which means "to loosen, destroy, dissolve, put off." Christ is said to have destroyed the devil and his works. Do you believe the Bible?
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:15 ESV
According to my Bible, Satan is a defeated foe. Yeshua the Christ has conquered the Devil.
All Christians believe that Satan and his demons will be destroyed, but when does it happen? Most Christians look for this event to happen at a future day when the earth and everything physical will be destroyed. Perhaps a review of the Scriptures will help clarify the matter.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Yeshua the Christ be with you. Romans 16:20 ESV
The Greek word used here for crush is suntribo. It means "to crush completely, i.e., to shatter." When is it that Satan is to be crushed completely? It was to happen at the end of the Old Covenant when the Lord returned in judgment on Israel. Paul told the Roman Christians that it would happen "soon." The Greek word translated "soon"' is tachos. According to the Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon, tachos is used in the LXX and certain non-canonical writings to mean "speed, quickness, swiftness, haste."
Do you think that the believers at Rome could have conceived of 2,000 plus years as soon? If it was to be some 2,000 plus years, how could He crush him under "their" feet? The people to whom this was written are dust now; they have no feet.
Paul told the first-century Roman Christians that Satan would soon be crushed completely. If Satan is still around, then we have a problem with inspiration. This is a huge problem because if the Bible is not inspired by God, it is of no value to us. I believe that Satan is a defeated foe. I believe this because I believe in inspiration.
The Bible talks about the judgment at the end of the age and not at the end of the world.
Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. Matthew 13:40 ESV
Yeshua is referring to something that was to happen at the "end of the age." He was living in the Jewish age when the wicked Jews were burned in the destruction of Jerusalem.
It is my position that Satan and his demons were real spirit beings who opposed Yahweh and His people. But through the ministry of Christ, they were defeated and destroyed in A.D. 70. The spiritual battle that the first-century Christians faced is over. Consequently, we are not battling spiritual forces today.
In light of all of this, let’s look at our text. "Satan hindered us"—"hindered" is the Greek word egkoptō This is a military term used for the destruction of roads and bridges in the face of the enemy's advance. Why didn’t Paul just say, "Satan I bind you by the power of the blood of Yeshua." Hadn’t Paul ever heard a charismatic preacher?
Those who hold to View 1 would say that when Paul said, "Satan hindered us," he was referring to the Jewish opposition he had encountered previously from Thessalonica. I agree. There is no question that the Jews were his enemy. In verse 14 he mentions the Jews and then talks about their opposition in verses 15-16. My agreement with those holding this view ends with their denial that there was also a supernatural being that opposed Paul. Though it was the Jewish people hindering him, I believe that behind the Jewish people was the supernatural being of Satan.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV
Is Paul saying that we have no struggle with rebellious men and sinful people? No! He is saying that behind the scenes and working through people and the world system are super powerful demonic forces. Notice what Yeshua says.
Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. John 12:31 ESV
Did Satan rule the whole world? No! The word "world" here is used of the Roman Empire. This is the world that he offered to Yeshua if he would worship him. Notice what we see in Daniel.
Then he said, do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. Daniel 10:20 ESV
Here we see the archangel Gabriel talking to Daniel. He tells him that these divine "host of heaven" are allotted with authority over pagan nations. They are depicted as spiritual "princes" or rulers battling with the archangels Gabriel and Michael. Some Second- Temple non-canonical Jewish texts illustrate an ancient tradition of understanding this interpretation of the gods of the nations as real spirit beings that rule over those nations.
(There are) many nations and many people, and they all belong to him, but over all of them he caused spirits to rule so that they might lead them astray from following him. But over Israel he did not cause any angel or spirit to rule because he alone is their ruler and he will protect them. Jubilees 15: 31-32
If Persia and Greece had a prince or watcher behind them whom Michael was fighting with, don’t you think that maybe Rome had a Watcher over it also? Whom do we see Michael fighting with in Revelation 12?
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation 12:7-9 ESV
Where is this war taking place? Heaven. In Revelation, Michael is depicted as warring on behalf of Israel (12:7). He is called, "Israel's protector" in Daniel 12:1. Michael is the patron angel of Israel. So "Israel's protector" is fighting Rome's prince, Satan. It seems as though Satan has moved from adversary in the Divine Council to the spiritual power behind Rome. Most scholars of Revelation teach that the Beast represents Rome and the Dragon that gives power to the Beast is Satan.
It seems as if this watcher, now known as Satan, has turned against Yahweh and is ruling over Rome and trying to destroy Yeshua and God's people. This is who the devil or Satan was. He was a watcher turned bad.
In many texts where Satan is mentioned, it can be talking about the people that Satan is using, but behind those people, is the spiritual power of Satan, the divine being.