Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Bound Devil

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.   And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.  (Revelation 20:1-3)


 Just a few thoughts…

For years I sat on the fence in regards to prophetical teaching. Yes, I believed the fundamental truth that Jesus Christ is returning literally and physically to earth again in the future. However, it was the differing interpretations of many of the accompanying details that frankly bewildered me. I give my thoughts on some of this here which should help pull together quite a number of strands.

At the moment, I describe myself as an A-Millennialist. As a commentary on the depth of my adherence to this position, let me say that these are my beliefs as opposed to my convictions. I marvel at (but do not necessarily admire) those who have every last detail neatly interpreted and firmly nailed down to their own satisfaction.  Sometimes, I pity their simplicity. Time will tell whether I am right to do so.

Is the Devil bound today? I am basing my question on Revelation 20 where we read that the Devil will be bound for 1,000 years. Pre Mills deny, declaring this binding to be a future event. The Amills affirm.

With all the wickedness in what Paul calls “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4) surely, since the Devil is (as Peter affirms) "going about as a roaring lion" (a ferocious beast) "seeking whom he may devour" (1:1:5) you might wonder where the Amills are coming from. But consider:

1) In the PreMill version of the Millenium with its binding of Satan, there will still be sin in the world. The binding of Satan (the great tempter) is therefore relative and not absolute. Unless I am mistaken (Please see this article as me thinking out loud) there will still be unregenerate people on this earth being ruled by a rod of iron. They are therefore suppressed sinners whose heart is still desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) and who cannot produce the fruit of the spirit but rather the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-23). Their good works will still be filthy rags and obnoxious in the sight of God and men (Isaiah 64:6). While such reprobate sinners might not have the liberties that sinners have today with their abortion mills and Gay Pride marches and what have you, they will still be tempted by the Devil, will they not? Does man sin without the Devil tempting him? Fair enough, James 1:13-14 says that a man’s own lusts draw him away, but in 4:7 of his gritty little epistle, James would still have us to resist the Devil so that he will flee from us. Even in the PreMill Millennium, the Devil (though bound) will be doing his dirty work, if only to a lesser degree.

2) Has the Devil been given a free hand today? Was he ever given a free hand? Not absolutely. From the beginning of time, we have seen the Devil restrained from all that he wanted to do. Had he not been so, there would have been no church on this earth. Not only would Abel have been wiped out, but the whole godly seed. When the Bible says that God left not himself without a witness, this was not by chance. It happened because the Devil, ever the liar and the murderer from the beginning, knew the restraining hand of God upon him. Things happened to God’s people which the Devil meant for evil, but God meant them for good. David worded it well in Psalm 76:10 where he observed:
Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.

Even when Satan was roaring his loudest and had his sharp claws extended the furthermost, if God could not make such praise Him (i.e. work together for good) then He restrained the Devil. I think it was Calvin – or maybe Matthew Henry - who once observed  that the devil may go around as a roaring lion, but there is a bit in his mouth and God holds the rein.

3) If the binding of Satan is relative in both interpretations, then in what sense is the binding of the Devil greater today than before? Well, the Lord Jesus was manifest (1 John 3:8) that he might destroy the works of the Devil. In His wisdom, God has refrained from the single blow approach. He could but speak the word and Satan be no more. Satan owes his very existence to Almighty God. Like man, the one we now know as Satan was created a perfect being, but (like man) sought out many inventions (Ecclesiastes 7:29) He is suffered to do what he does because it fits into God’s overall plan. (This is basic theology.) Abstaining from the single blow approach, God instead either lengthens or shortens Satan’s leash as it best fits the eternal purposes. Ultimately Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

In the OT, Satan’s range upon this world was undoubtedly greater than it is today. With very few exceptions (proselytes) the only nation which God knew was Israel and the rest of the nations lived and perished in their sins. What a field day Satan had then. But then the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour, not merely of Israel, but the world (John 4:42). On the Cross, (among other things) Jesus defeated the Devil and in his triumph march (described in Col 2:15) we see that Satanic principalities and powers were spoiled and an open show made of them.  IOW – the Devil was bound. The fruit of this suffering of Christ increased when the gospel was (and it continues to be) preached to every creature in the world. Nations that lay under the Devil’s grip for many dark centuries in sin and unbelief became flooded with the light of the gospel. Who knows how the final story will unfold? Perhaps the greatest days are still ahead for us as far as the gospel is concerned. I certainly wouldn’t deny it.

The last days of this age will see increased Satanic activity. This is prophesied in 2 Thessalonians and elsewhere. Satan will be loosed – his leash extended again – and once more entire nations will be deceived. But even then, he cannot do what he will. As now, as it as it has ever been, he will not a loose cannon out of control. In the last days in some deceived country, there will be an elect soul that needs to be reached with the gospel. Other sheep I have, said Jesus, and them also I MUST bring (John 10:16). Somehow, that soul will be reached and brought to Christ. Perhaps the missionary who wins him will forfeit his own life in doing so. That will not be the first time that has happened. Five hundred years ago, William Tyndale gave his life to translate the Bible into English and prayed at the stake that the Lord would open the King of England’s eyes. Satanic forces were at work to keep England Popish, but soon the chain around the Devil's throat was graciously and powerful tightened by God. As the Satanic influence was restrained, God’s men moved in and Tyndale’s prayers (at least to a certain, though significant, degree) were answered. Such can and will happen again and again. The reason why the gates of Hell cannot prevail against the church in any age is because Satan is bound.

Just a few thoughts on this important subject.

The end





  1. If the devil is bound...are the sinful nations of the world no longer being deceived?

  2. Not to the same extent as in the OT era. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14) Thanks for dropping by...


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