I recently attended a prayer meeting at which Satan was accused of being the perpetrator of everything from sickness to car accidents. Is that possible? I don’t think so. Here’s a summary of what the Bible teaches about the binding of Satan:
- Satan was BOUND at Christ’s first coming per numerous passages such as Matthew 12:28-29; Mark 16:17; Luke 10:17-19; 11:22; John 12:31; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14, and 1 John 3:8. For example, the Scripture says: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The devil was (past tense) subjugated to the authority Christ. Of note, this also marks the beginning of the millennium—Revelation 20:2 says that Satan would not deceive the nations any longer (at the beginning of the “thousand years.”) This clearly indicates that certain limitations were placed on Satan at the beginning of the millennium—that is, during Christ’s ministry on earth!
- Christ has been victorious! The binding of Satan suggests that he cannot reverse the expansion of the gospel and God’s kingdom. However, while Satan was “bound” at the First Coming, he retained some power during the millennium (Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5: 19). He was bound; he was not in the Lake of Fire.
- Satan was temporarily loosed for a short time (Revelation 20:3) near the end of the millennium (probably while Peter was writing about the influence of the devil in 1 Peter 5:8)—until Christ’s Parousia in AD 70. This is consistent with 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, which discusses the Man of Lawlessness, who would be revealed as an agent of Satan before the Day of God’s wrath.
- Satan was DEFEATED at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20:10). Paul (Romans 16:20) and John (Revelation 12:12) both anticipated that the crushing of Satan was near to them in time (“soon/time is short”). Therefore, the end of the millennium was near. At the Second Coming and judgment in AD 70, Christ fully implemented his power and reign (verses 10-15), fulfilling these prophecies. Satan was indeed crushed (“thrown into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:10). The fulfillment of these events is confirmed by over 30 passages in Revelation that tie the events to AD 66-70.
Some believe that Satan is still alive and may wield some power even today—that he tempts us and is able to blind the minds of some (2 Corinthians 4:4)—presumably those who are weak or not among the elect. But if Satan still exists today, he has no real spiritual power over us now. He has been cast out (John 12:31); he has lost “authority” over us (Colossians 1:13); he cannot “touch” a Christian (1 John 5:18). It seems more biblically correct to believe that we are tempted by our own desires rather than by Satan, per James 1:12-15. (Even in Bible times, it was not normative to be tempted by Satan. We remember that Jesus taught that it is what is on the INSIDE of us that defiles us per Mark 7:14-23). But the final crushing of Satan is consistent with the AD 70 institution of the eternal reign of Christ per Revelation 11:15:
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:15-18)
This passage is consistent with such passages as Isaiah 9:7 which speaks of the coming Messiah: “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.” We do not wait for an unfulfilled event for Christ’s victory. It is difficult to comprehend that a Christian would deny that Christ has already been victorious, and would deny that He reigns today, as many premillennialists do.
(This is taken from my book, CHRISTIAN HOPE THROUGH FULFILLED PROPHECY.)