Q: Do you believe that Satan and the demons were cast out of heaven in 1914, and it's been woe to the earth since then, or will it be later and we will really see the anger of Satan, as he has a very short time left?

A: Was Satan, along with his demons, cast out of heaven in 1914? Does 1914 have any special significance when it comes to Bible prophecy? Looking back over the past century we can reflect on the fact that there has never been a time like it in human history. The Great War of 1914, as it was originally known, ushered in a new era in regards to the nature, scope, and conduct in warfare, with unprecedented technological advancements for waging war on the ground, in the air, on and even under the sea. The "Great War" soon came to be called World War I as it was quickly followed by an even greater war, World War II, with the consequent slaughter of soldiers and noncombatants on a scale the world had never seen before, generating the holocaust and other acts of genocide.

Events since 1914 have resulted in the "transformation of society," greatly influencing "social developments in Western democracies," including literature and the arts, women, entertainment, politics, etc. The relationships between this total war and social, cultural and geopolitical change has become a subject of research by many scholars. ("Total war and social change: Europe 1914-1955," Study course at The Open University)

Never before in history has man had the means to ruin this jewel in the universe, the earth—his home, adversely affecting his environment and endangering, yes, even wiping out entire species of plants and animals, and threatening his own existence. There is the urgent need for divine intervention. (Rev. 11:18) Many others besides Jehovah's Witnesses have come to the conclusion that we are living in momentous times. When we consider the enormous number of refugees who have had to flee their homes due to civil wars; the great number of deaths from new diseases in spite of modern medical advances; the extensive loss of life caused by natural disasters "in one place after another"; the millions who go without food every day; the countless victims of crime due to the increasing of lawlessness. Add to all that the breakdown in family relations with its accompanying high divorce rate; suicides due to hopelessness; and the popular acceptance of things that God condemns, we cannot help but wonder if all this is evidence of the foretold "woe for the earth and for the sea," which would result from Satan and his demons being ousted from heaven and hurled to the earth, "having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time." (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rev. 12:12)

This "short period of time" would evidently constitute the time of trouble that Jesus foretold would be the sign marking the nearness of his coming "in his glory." (Matt. 24:3-34; Mark 13:3-30; Luke 21:7-32) If this began in 1914 and has resulted in woe for the earth, does that necessarily mean that Jesus has been "present in kingdom power" since then? Regarding the sign he gave, in response to the question his disciples asked concerning his "presence and of the conclusion of the system of things," Jesus said: "'Now learn from the fig tree as an illustration this point: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and it puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors." (Matt. 24:32,33) Rather than these developments proving that Jesus was present and ruling as king, he said it would be evidence of the nearness of his arrival in kingdom power. That is why he cautioned his disciples, saying, "Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." (Matt. 24:42,44)

In view of this, it is clear that he did not immediately begin his rule when the sign first became apparent. It did not signify his "presence" as king, and yet, the events that have rocked the world since 1914 must mean that something significant happened. The book of Revelation, which was presented "in signs" to the aged apostle John, records the circumstances leading up to Satan being cast down to earth. There is "a woman" seen in heaven, "arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars." She is about to give birth, "to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod." A dragon is seen standing before the woman in order to devour the child as soon as it is born, but he fails in this for "her child was caught away to God and to his throne." (Rev. 12:1-5)

There are a couple of significant points mentioned: The woman's "child," or newborn infant, is caught away to God and to his throne. He "is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod," or, as the Amplified Bible translates it, "Who is destined to shepherd (rule) all the nations." This indicates that he, as an infant, is not yet ready to rule but is destined to. Therefore, an event has taken place in heaven that will result in the rulership of this "child." Preparations now begin for the day when he will receive the authority as king and "arrive in his glory." On one occasion Jesus said that "the kingdom of the heavens has become like a man, a king, that made a marriage feast for his son." The guests were invited with the words, "Look! I have prepared my dinner, my bulls and fattened animals are slaughtered, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage feast." (Matt. 22:4)

Just as there is a certain time of preparation for the marriage, which includes the marriage feast, and has a definite beginning and end, so a period of preparation is needed before Jesus returns with authority as the enthroned king. It doesn't all happen at once. (compare Rev. 19:7; Daniel 7:9, 11-14, 21-22) When all the preparations are complete, he returns:

"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." —Luke 12:35-40 (Today's New International Version)

Please note that Satan's ouster from heaven precedes Jesus receiving the kingdom of God and his authority. It is part of the preparation, because first of all, the heaven needs to be cleansed of all opposers of God and his kingdom. Satan does not vacate voluntarily what he has had access to up until then. (Job 1:6,7; 2:1,2)

"And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven." —Rev. 12:7,8.

It is Michael, with his army of angels, who battles with the dragon, "the one called Devil and Satan," and its angels. Who is this Michael? Insight on the Scriptures answers, "Scriptural evidence indicates that the name Michael applied to God's Son before he left heaven to become Jesus Christ and also after his return... In his prehuman existence Jesus was called 'the Word.' (John 1:1) He also had the personal name Michael. By retaining the name Jesus after his resurrection (Ac 9:5), 'the Word' shows that he is identical with the Son of God on earth. His resuming his heavenly name Michael and his title (or name) 'The Word of God' (Re 19:13) ties him in with his prehuman existence. The very name Michael, asking as it does, 'Who Is Like God?' points to the fact that Jehovah God is without like, or equal, and that Michael his archangel is his great Champion or Vindicator." (Vol. 2, pg. 393-4)

When the Israelites were poised to enter the promised land, Michael "had a difference with the Devil. . .disputing about Moses' body." (Jude 9) Michael also came to the assistance of the angel Gabriel in the time of the prophet Daniel; and it was foretold by Daniel that Michael would stand up "in behalf of the sons of your people" in the "time of the end." It would be during this time of distress that "your people will escape, every one who is found written down in the book." (Dan. 10:13; 12:1,4)

If the one who is battling with the dragon, casting him out of heaven, is the newly enthroned and crowned king Christ Jesus, as is commonly believed, then why is he still referred to as Michael? After all, when the time comes for him to wage war with "the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies" at Armageddon, he has upon his head many diadems (crowns worn especially as an emblem of royalty — Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary), and goes by the name, "King of kings and Lord of lords." (Rev. 19:11-19) Evidently, if Jesus is battling the dragon under the name of Michael, then it must be before he has received his "many diadems" and before he is called "King of kings and Lord of lords." And that is what the account in Revelation goes on to indicate:

"So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: 'Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! . . . On this account be glad, YOU heavens and YOU who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to YOU, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.'”
Revelation 12:7-12.

The announcement that "the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ" has "come to pass" is made some time after the casting of Satan out of heaven. The time between Satan's ouster and Christ coming as King is a time of tribulation, or suffering,  for mankind, especially for Jesus' faithful followers, as Jesus foretold: "Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all nations on account of my name. Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another. And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off. But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved." (Matt. 24:9-13)

This period of tribulation, resulting from Satan having been hurled down to the earth, is not to be confused with the "great tribulation," which will be brought on by the newly enthroned king, Christ Jesus, at his "revelation from heaven with his powerful angels," at Armageddon, when he repays tribulation to those who made tribulation for God's people, and "brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, at the time he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith." (Matthew 24:9-10, 21; Romans 8:35-39; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)