Satan the Serpent
Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 are passages that describe the fall of Lucifer, how he became known as Satan or the devil. They tell of how he held a high position among the angels in service to God until his beauty corrupted his wisdom to the point where he planned to exalt his throne to be like the most high God. Itís reasonable to assume from those passages, and others, that he negotiated with other angels for their allegiance in exchange for positions of influence in this ďnew orderĒ he was planning to establish.
Those passages tell us that Luciferís scheme failed miserably and that He was immediately cast down from the mountain of God and will eventually be cast down to the pit. Matthews 25 tells us that the lake of fire was prepared for Satan and his angels and it is where they will ultimately exist for eternity and they know it. Because they know it, they are desperate to try and find a way to keep it from happening.
Itís likely that what motivated Satan to deceive Eve was that he saw the potential to thwart his demise. Getting Adam and Eve to obey him instead of God would make him their new master and he would then gain their dominion over the earth. He could then conceivably have a legitimate claim to remain within his domain and avoid being cast into the lake of fire. Regardless as to whether thatís accurate or would have worked, God had a plan to counter Satanís meddling.
Whenever God would reveal part of His plan, Satan would try to counteract it in an effort to keep it from coming to pass. When God declared that there would be a seed of the woman who would bruise his head, Satan sought to corrupt mankind, especially the reproductive functionality through angelic manipulation. This led to the catastrophic event of the flood.
When God further revealed that the seed would come from Abraham and subsequently Jacob, Satan narrowed his focus to the sons of Israel. This is why Satan is pictured in Revelation as a red dragon having seven heads. Each head represents a kingdom that subjugated or sought the destruction of the sons of Israel in an effort to prevent the prophecies concerning the promised seed from coming to pass.
These kingdoms were influenced into a place of exercising dominion by certain evil angels for that specific purpose. The first two kingdoms were Egypt and Assyria. The next four kingdoms are the subject of the prophecies in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. They are a succession of kingdoms that conquered Judah and the city of Jerusalem. They are Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The fourth kingdom has two manifestations in the natural realm but those two manifestations have a common supernatural origin.
The promised seed of the woman was born during the time when the Jews were being subjugated by Rome. Of course, this had Satanís full attention and derailing Godís plan was his top priority if he was going to keep his dominion over the earth. At first, he tried the same tactic that he used on Eve. Three times he tried to persuade Jesus to act on suggestions of his by appealing to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Three times Jesus rebuffed him. Realizing that trying to deceive Jesus into becoming his slave wasnít going to work, he had to switch tactics.
Satan was apparently conflicted about how to handle the situation. At one point, he influenced Peter to voice opposition to Jesus' death when He was telling His disciples that He was going to be killed and raised on the third day. Later on, he enters Judas for the very purpose of betraying Jesus to His death. I guess that in the end, he chose the option that he thought would get Jesus out of his domain.
By virtue of His sinless life and death on the cross, Jesus was found worthy to be given dominion. Satan failed at stopping the seed of the woman from bruising his head. The reason that Jesus didnít straightaway banish Satan and his angels to the lake of fire after receiving all authority in heaven and earth likely has to do with prophecies yet to be fulfilled to Abraham and Israel. Jesus echoes this when He says that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to all the nations and then the end would come.
The fourth and final world kingdom was interrupted during the first century when its evil angel prince was cast into the abyss. That prince was being restrained there until the gospel was preached to all the nations. He has since been released and is now exerting his influence worldwide to bring about the second manifestation of fourth kingdom. His purpose this time is to set the stage for the revealing of the man of sin. It is this evil angel who will cause him to exercise dominion and it is this evil angel that the image is of.
Based on what God has told us of Satanís future activity, he is fixated on destroying Israel, apparently in an attempt to derail God from keeping His promises to them. We know that his attempt to destroy them fails and he becomes infuriated. He then attempts to rid the world of those who are true to God by forcing people to either worship the image or be put to death. The mark is used to expedite the purging.