“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:8-11).
The ravishes of sin and the evidence of Satan’s dominion of this world are all around us. War and hatred come at us from all directions as proof that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4). This is a time in God’s plan of salvation to not let our guard down as to the reality that Satan is roaring as a lion in search of prey. Satan is also called the “prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2. He is the “ruler of this world” in John 12:31. He is not to be ignored.
Satan constantly seeks to undermine Christ’s Church and His people. Satan uses the temptations of this world cunningly to entice the believer into rebellion with God. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:1`5-17). And who does Scripture say is “the god of this world” is? There is no question who the tempter is!
“Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 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. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:7-10).
Within Christ’s Church, both the leaders and the members of the congregation are vulnerable to Satan’s attacks within the church. Paul instructed Timothy to choose well-qualified men as shepherds (1 Timothy 3:1–6), lest they be subject to “the snare of the devil” (verse 7). Satan also seeks to destroy the church’s unity, render its spiritual power ineffective, and confuse its purpose (1 Corinthians 1:10–13; 6:1–6; 11:17–34; 14:20–38). Any teaching that lessens the awareness of Satan’s designs on God’s people is heresy!
Because Old Testament prophecy and the book of Revelation contain numerous symbols, and because at any given point in God’s plan of salvation all revelation may not be revealed and clear, this portion of God’s Word has undergone a great deal of abuse due to allegorical interpretation. The end result of allegorical interpretation is to bring into question why God would hide the meaning of His Word from His people. Why would God leave the real meaning He intended open to the interpretation of the human imagination and speculation? One case in point is the binding of Satan in Revelation 20:1-4. Following is Chapter 19 flowing into Chapter 20:
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great. Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 19:11-21 through 20:1-6).
The early Church would not have read Revelation with chapter and verse notations. They would have read Revelation as you see it presented above. As it reads these verses flow naturally together as one continuous message. The early Church would have understood it as it was meant by the Holy Spirit to be understood. With Christ’s Second Coming the kings of the earth gather to defeat Him. The beast is then captured along with the false prophet and both are thrown into the fiery lake of fire. The rest of the opposition to Christ are then killed. Immediately following this John tells us that he saw an angel coming down out of heaven. This angel has a key to the Abyss and holds a great chain in his hand. John then tells his reader that the Angel “seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” He then proceeds to describe that which was revealed to him. The righteous would be resurrected and reign with Him for one thousand years”
The chapter break, if you haven’t already noticed, is between the second and third paragraph above. The break between Chapter 19 when Christ returns to claim His kingdom and Chapter 20 when Satan is bound and Christ reigns for a thousand years is an artificial break that was not in the original text. You can see from a clear reading of the text that in the millennial kingdom Satan is bound except for a short time at the end of the kingdom.
Those holding to an allegorical or spiritual approach to interpreting Scripture have a great deal of difficulty with the binding of Satan. They hold to a view that Christ’s Millennial Kingdom does not follow His Second Coming as Scripture clearly attests to. They hold to a view that the Church Age is the Millennial Kingdom and that there will be no physical kingdom after Christ’s Second Coming as God’s Word teaches us. Herein lies the problem for them. Scripture and reality tells us that Satan is certainly not bound in this age. Amillennialists have developed a convoluted doctrine called Progressive Parallelism to try to explain why Chapter 20 of Revelation is meant to proceed Chapter 19, but they can’t quite figure out how to explain why we should accept the concept that Satan is currently bound.
The following passages do not depict a being who has been bound and shut up in a pit. Jesus’ casting out of demons in Matthew 12:22-29 is evidence that He has the authority to bind Satan. But as these multiple New Testament passages affirm, this binding did not take place during the Church Age as amillennialists contend. These passages were divinely inspired during the Church Age. These passages clearly reveal, as God intended, that Satan is loose in the Church age. If that is so it becomes clear that the Millennial Age is not upon us. Remember – Scripture interprets Scripture and the following Scripture attest to Revelation 19 and 20 following in the correct order of revelation.
It Can’t Be Anymore Plain – Scripture Interprets Scripture
“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”
The primary distinctive of amillennial theology is the belief that we are currently in the millennial kingdom. The clear meaning of the text in Revelation 20:1-3 is that Satan is bound in the millennial kingdom. It follows, therefore, that amillennial teaching is that Satan is currently bound during this present age. As I look at the history of the Church age, what amillennialists consider the millennial kingdom, I do not see evidence that Satan is in anyway bound. The twentieth century alone can attest to the very fact he is free to roam the earth. So what does Scripture actually say about whether Satan is currently bound as Revelation attests to in the millennial kingdom.
1 Peter 5:8-9
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 – Paul in this passage refers to Satan as the “god of this world”.
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Ephesians 6:10-17 – In this passage it seems Paul didn’t get the memo about Satan being bound.
The Armor of God
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
1 Thessalonians 2:18 – Paul continues to just not get it.
“For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.”
For a more thorough study of this please follow the links below:
Is Satan Bound Today? by Michael J. Vlach, Ph.D. a Professor of Theology at The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, California
Progressive Parallelism, by Jim McClarty and Grace Christian Assembly
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