He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years – Revelation 20:2
Satan needs to be bound. Satan needs to be tripped up, tied up, and shut up. Yesterday, February 25th, the United States Senate voted against a law that would protect newborn infant children from being killed (murdered). I don’t want to single out a political party and reduce this teaching to a mere political statement, but every one of the Democrats who have declared to run for the presidency, voted to allow for a live baby to be left to die if it survives a botched abortion. And there are many, many people who support their actions. At the same time, a movie coming out based on a true story of a former Planned Parenthood Director who saw the light concerning the abortion industry, was given an “R” rating for “violence.” Think about that.
On January 22nd, New York State, led by its infamous governor, voted to allow the murder of babies up to birth. They celebrated taking the lead in this new low of infanticide. The following day the governor of Virginia, (who apparently didn’t want to be outdone), discussed how a committee of a surgeon and parent could determine whether or not a viably born child would be allowed to live. The new CEO of Planned Parenthood actually had the audacity recently to make the statement that her organization did abortions because “it’s pro-life.”  What kind of convoluted, not to mention demonic confusion is that?
It would be easy for us to demonize those pushing such horrid laws and views. But we shouldn’t act on impulse. No matter how steamed and fired up in indignation and passion for the weak and helpless around us we become, we cannot allow uncontrolled anger and rage to overwhelm us and tempt us into a sinful response. Humanity is created in the image of God. The Devil hates God. The image of God, wherever he sees it, insights him to anger and vile viciousness. Truly, our struggle is not merely against flesh and blood people, but against the devil and his minions behind such barbaric activity (Ephesians 6:12). This is not to excuse the culpability of the human perpetrators of such sin. It is only to remind us to set our sights on the true root adversary. This is a spiritual war and we must fight it with appropriate weaponry.
I like what Abraham Lincoln once said, “No law can give me the right to do what is wrong.” I wish some of our legislators would pay closer attention to American history. I wish those running for president would look to the examples of great past presidents like Abraham Lincoln to form their platforms, not to mention their character. Better yet, I hope and pray the Lord will bring a conviction of such sin upon the leaders of our nation and bring them to their knees in repentance. I pray for that every single day.
The hypocrisy and willful blindness to truth was rampant at this years Oscars. I can’t speak firsthand because I would never waste my time or feed their ratings by watching. But what it amounted to was a lecture about carbon footprints by those who flew to the gathering in private jets and gas guzzling limos. It amounted to preaching a feminist agenda while a blind eye was turned to members of their crew who brutalize women. Gun control was a priority push while those in attendance make multiply millions off of movies that glorify violence and gun play, not to mention those vocalizing such shortsighted stupidity were all guarded by heavily armed bodyguards. Hypocrisy is a form of lie. Wherever you see lies or deception, you can be sure the father of lies is involved in some way (John 8:44).
A recent article opened with the fact that “Over 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2017, and the National Safety Council announced in January that Americans are now more likely to die of an accidental opioid overdose than in a car crash.” The article points out that overdose deaths are highest among wealthy nations. Where drugs in their various forms are abused, there can be little doubt that the devil is involved. Pharmakia, the Greek term translated into our English “Sorcery,” is associated with the use of hallucinogens to alter one’s state of consciousness in order to contact the spirit-world. While this is associated with being a work of the flesh or sinful nature, it is a device of the evil one to deceive and depress his victims. Satan is behind, underneath, on the sides, and in front of the drug crisis in America and throughout the world.
Yes, Satan needs binding. A time is coming when Satan will be bound. That’s as true and sure as the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies in scripture. That’s as true and sure as Jesus incarnation and resurrection. One day, (and we hope its soon,) Satan will be bound up and shut up tight.
A time of great Tribulation is in the future for many of the inhabitants of earth. There is going to be a time of God’s righteous outpoured wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. There will be seven years of hard cold justice from God to the rebellious sinner. It will be a time that makes anything the human race has experienced historically up to this point, like a picnic in the park. Despite the many attempts by God to reach the lost and offer them salvation during this difficult time, many if not most will persist in their sin. Over a half of the world’s population will be destroyed. Those who persist in sin will be deceived and manipulated by a central world leader referred to as Antichrist. Antichrist will rally the forces of the rebel-world and oppose God up to the end. But in the end, Jesus Christ will return with His Bride the Church, (just as He said He would). He will vanquish Antichrist and his followers. Jesus will obliterate His foes and establish His Kingdom on earth for a thousand years. But before He sets up His Kingdom Age, He will order the binding of Satan.
From this magnificent event of binding Satan, we begin to see how, in the power and provision of the Lord, we too can have Satan bound. That is what we will consider in this study, Binding Satan.
Revelation 20:1-3 – “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”
Notice, Jesus doesn’t lower Himself to binding Satan. Jesus delegates that privilege to “an angel.” He doesn’t even assign one of His better-known angels like Michael or Gabriel. Jesus sends just your run of the mill nameless angel to bind Satan. That will be humiliating for Lucifer who was once so prominent and close to the throne of God.
Jesus sends an angel with a key and a chain. And it says, “He laid hold of the dragon.” The Greek word translated here is krateo and means, to forcefully take hold of, to grasp firmly, to arrest. Can’t you just imagine that angel taking Satan by the scruff of the neck and binding him and throwing him into “the bottomless pit”? I can. Oh Lord, that will be the perp walk of all perp walks! Can’t wait!
“The Devil and Satan” will be bound for a thousand years. He’ll be cast into the “bottomless pit, and shut up” there. A seal is put on Satan, “so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. There will be no sinful shenanigans by Satan allowed until the end of the Millennium. Then, “after these things he must be released for a little while.” He will be released one last time at the end of the Millennium so that those born during that privileged time can have their faith and love proven by resisting the Devil’s temptations. A faith untested cannot be trusted. A faith tested and trusted, is true. The same is true of love.
SATAN IS NOT EQUAL WITH GOD
As we mentioned earlier, in the opening verses of Revelation 20 it is “an angel” that binds Satan. This “angel” who binds Satan is not even mentioned by name. An unnamed angel of regular, not exceptional ability, has enough power to bind Satan. This clearly shows that Satan is not equal with God.
Quite the contrary, Satan is one of God’s created beings and has always been under the authority of God. Satan was created as an angel and rebelled against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19). Satan has never had free reign on the earth but has always been under the restraint and authority of God Almighty (e.g. Job 1-2).
The Bible tells us that in Christ we have power against Satan:
- Romans 16:20 – “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
- James 4:7 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
- 1 John 4:4 – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
In Jesus we have what we need to resist the devil and press on victoriously. That doesn’t mean Satan and his demonic forces will leave us alone. We can expect them to attack us relentlessly. But in addition to Himself, God has provided spiritual armor for us to wear in the daily battle (Ephesians 6:10-18). With His armor on, and in the “power of His might” we can stand strong.
Notice also that “a seal” is put on Satan. Satan is never free to do what he pleases. Satan is under the authority of God. And a time is coming when God will seal him up. This seal stops him from having influence during the Millennium. This “seal” is the same word used to describe the “seal of the Spirit” that is put on believers (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). God’s seal cannot be broken. Satan cannot touch the believer without the permission of God (Job 1-2). Satan cannot do anything without the permission of God. Satan cannot possess a believer because God’s seal is on the believer and Satan has no claim on that person anymore. God does allow Satan to oppress believers and attack them from without, but not to take up residence within the believer as in the case of demonic possession.
I think of this this seal of God on Satan as like a big wide piece of duct tape over the mouth of the Adversary. That’s just my imagination, not necessarily what the actual seal will be. But Satan isn’t going to be permitted to say a tempting word. Any authority or influence he had before, is removed during the Millennium. Satan is rendered impotent. Satan is put out of commission for the majority of the Millennium. No wonder it will be such a glorious period!
Revelation 20:1-2 states that Satan is bound and put in the “bottomless pit” or abusso. Many Biblical scholars believe that the location of this “pit” is in the heart of the earth. During the twenty-four years of digging the Kola Superdeep Borehole project was ended. The project ended with having bored a hole into the earth that measured seven and a half miles! Over the years, there were accounts of sounds being heard with listening devices from deep within the earth. What was heard? Recordings of screams from people supposedly in hell have surfaced over the years.
Is there any truth to this? We don’t know. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to find out first hand. All we know is that Satan will be cast into a deep pit, so deep that he won’t show himself until the end of a thousand years. That’s pretty deep. But honestly, I’ll be happier when he and his cohorts are thrown in to the Lake of Fire permanently.
In Revelation 9 we considered a deep pit of an abode that was said to be where the worst of the worst demons are kept. It is here that Satan will be bound for a thousand years.
Jesus taught that Satan could be bound or neutralized now.
- Matthew 12:22-29 – “Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.26 “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?27 “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.29 “Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
- Matthew 16:17-19 – “Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.19 “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
These are powerful and practical words from Jesus concerning the spiritual warfare we have with Satan and his army.
HOW CAN SATAN BE BOUND OR NEUTRALIZED?
Revelation 20 gives the account of the binding of Satan. But in Matthew 12 and 16 Jesus speaks of binding that takes place in the present world. In Matthew 12 Jesus is speaking of freeing those bound by Satan in demonic possession. In Matthew 16, Jesus speaks of the power entrusted to His Apostles. The keys of the Gospel open up the means of binding the enemy on earth presently. There is a way to free up the possessed and plunder the enemy. When we insert the key of the kingdom into the Gospel lock of eternal life, it opens the door containing what we need to bind the enemy. There is a way God provides to “bind the strong man” Satan. How can Satan be bound and neutralized?
First, binding Satan involves prayer. There’s a reason why Jesus regularly spent time in prayer (e.g. Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12; 9:28). There’s also a reason why the disciples, of all the things they could have asked Jesus to teach them, asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). That’s because they saw the priority Jesus put on prayer. It’s also because they saw the effect and power Jesus’ prayer life led to. Without prayer we set ourselves up to be blindsided and beaten up by the Devil.
It’s in prayer that the Spirit is able to help is discern the lies of the Devil. The Devil is a liar (John 8:44). When we pray, the Spirit is able to help us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26). Prayer provides a holy environment in which the Spirit can help us discern truth from falsehood, the reality of a situation versus the works of the devil.
We should war on the floor in prayer. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). One of the prime weapons of such warfare is prayer. Prayer helps us to cut through the smoke on the battle fields of life.
Satan is effectively bound and neutralized when we pray to God for protection and help. In the book of Acts Paul testified Jesus had sent him in part to turn sinners “from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18). When we look at the book of Acts and see the incarcerations of the Apostles, prayers were the means used to free the Apostles. When Peter was imprisoned, “constant prayer was offered to God for him” (Acts 12:5). He was miraculously released. When Paul and Silas were imprisoned, they prayed, and the jail they were in was shaken by an earthquake and the prison doors swung open (Acts 16:25-29). And to top it off, the jailor and his family were saved (Acts 16:30-34). While Satan is not mentioned specifically in these two incidents, there can be little doubt he had his hand in these persecutions to some degree. Prayer breaks the chains and opens the doors the enemy intends to hinder us. Satan is bound by prayer.
Prayer is a declaration of dependence on God and therefore, when we pray, we call God to intervene on our behalf to protect us from Satan’s influence and strategy. We do not bind Satan, God does! Prayer binds the efforts of Satan because prayer is a cry from God’s child for the Father to protect and deliver us from the bully Satan. God never fails to protect His children in this way.
Second, binding Satan involves having the proper perspective based on God’s word. When we prayerfully go to God’s word, we discover the following about Satan:
- He is not all powerful – an unnamed angel from heaven laid hold of the Devil and bound him (Revelation 20:1-3).
- The Holy Spirit in us “is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
- Our struggle is not against people, but people under the influence of the Devil (Ephesians 6:10-12).
- We can stand against the Devil and his minions with the spiritual armor God has provided for us (Ephesians 6:13-18).
- Understand we can and should resist Satan. We should come near to God and resist the Devil (James 4:7).
- Understand the God of peace will crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20).
Third, binding Satan requires respect for our adversary. In Jude it states, “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” (Jude 9). The word “reviling” is translated from the Greek blasphemia and means evil speaking, railing, slander, impious, reproachful. The Devil is limited as we see in Revelation 20:1-3, but he still is not someone to be trifled with. He has advantages over us. He is a spiritual being and neither he nor his demons are not easily detected. We should not be lured into bringing accusations or boasting against the Devil or demons. We should not admire Satan, but we should respect our adversary. When we sense the presence or work of the Devil and his demons, the best thing to do is call on the Lord. The best thing to do is do what the angel Michael did, say, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Fourth, binding Satan should involve following Jesus’ example of knowing the word of God! When Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness, He responded to the Devil with the word of God (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Satan tried to use the word of God against Jesus (Matthew 4:5-6). Satan can use God’s word for his own devices. But Jesus was victorious because Jesus knew God’s word IN ITS CONTEXT so that Satan could not manipulate Him with the word of God.
It’s so important that we know, really know God’s word. With only a casual understanding of God’s word we set ourselves up to be manipulated with Satan’s scripture twisting. We need to be students of God’s word who know how to properly handle it (2 Timothy 2:15). God’s word is our holy “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” for spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).
Fifth, binding Satan should be a team effort. We are stronger with Jesus and in fellowship than merely on our own. I’ve seen so many people cry about difficulties in life only to find when I dig a little deeper that they aren’t praying, aren’t reading the word of God, and aren’t in fellowship. When that is the case you are effectively trying to fight the battles of life with no ammunition. In our devotions God provides warfare perspective. But in fellowship, in the church, God uses His gifted ministers to equip the soldier for battle (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Together we can bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Jesus (Galatians 6:2). Fellowship is where we find encouragement and strength as the Spirit uses us to help our brethren (Hebrews 10:24-25). Satan knows the oldest military tactic in the book, divide and conquer. We are weaker when we are alone. We are never alone because Jesus is with us (Hebrews 13:5), but He has also designed us to be a body, an army, not an army of one individually, but an army who is one in mind and heart in Him. If you’re going to bind Satan, don’t attempt it alone, call on Jesus, and call on your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sixth, binding Satan involves doing good. Satan is effectively bound and neutralized when by faith we act obediently and do the good that God directs us to do. We see this in the following Scripture:
- Romans 12:17-21 – “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Through Paul, God instructs to “overcome evil with good.” When we are presented with the choice to act in a devilish way, (e.g. seek revenge, take matters into our own hands, etc.) if we choose to act in a good way, we effectively bind Satan’s efforts in that instance. Whenever we abide by God’s word, we effectively bind the enemy. Remember, Satan is a liar. God’s word is truth. We neutralize the enemy by cutting through his lies with the truth of God.
But the most important part of binding Satan, is to make sure you’re right with God. Without a personal saving relationship with God in Jesus, you’re a victim waiting to happen. Without Jesus, Satan will deceive and manipulate you to his ends and you won’t even be aware of it. Without Jesus on your side, without you being on His side, you’re like red meat thrown to ravenous wolves. Not pretty.
How can you be prepared for Satan’s attacks? You need a Shepherd to protect you. You need Jesus. You must be “born again.” You receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord. You must know Jesus. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). The word “know” here is translated from the Greek term ginosko. The idea of this word “know” in the original language meant to become aware, perceive (as in “seeing is believing”), to understand, to be conscious of, to see something or someone as it/they truly are (not merely opinion or speculation).
When this word is used in the sense of knowing someone it means:
- To know someone personally
- To be personally acquainted with someone
- To trust someone
- To have a friendship with someone
- To have an intimate personal relationship with someone
It is possible to know personally the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ. In light of this the question arises, do you know Jesus?
The Good News is that we can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Entering into such a relationship is as simple as ABC: Admit/Ask, Believe/Receive, and Confess/Call.
First Admit your sin and ask God’s forgiveness for them. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). And we all have sinned and fall short of what it takes to enter heaven (Romans 3). We need to admit this truth before God. Once we admit our sin before God, we need to ask God’s forgiveness for our sins. This implies turning from our sins to God (i.e. repentance). This is humbling but necessary. We come to Him on His terms not our terms. We come humbly before God who is Awesome and Holy.
Second, believe in Jesus and His atoning work. Jesus and Jesus atoning work on the cross alone, not our efforts or works, is the basis for God’s forgiveness of our sins. The wages or consequences of our sin is death. Jesus died on the cross in our place, paying our punishment for sin. God offers us salvation from our sins freely as a gift of His grace through Jesus’ death on the cross (Romans 6:23). We are saved from our sins because of His work not our work. To believe, trust, or put our faith in Jesus as Savior is not a “work,” it is God’s grace working in us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we believe in Jesus and His atoning work, we believe and receive forgiveness for our sins based on Jesus and His work. God has a just basis to forgive our sins because of Jesus justifying work on the cross on our behalf. Jesus paid our death penalty on the cross for us. He’s the only One qualified to do that. Jesus took our sins on Himself on the cross and when we trust in Him and His work, He offers us His righteousness to be put to our account (cf. Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God did this for us in Christ because He loves us. God is Love with a capitol “L” (e.g. John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8 and 16).
Lastly, Confess and call. We confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). But we also confess Jesus to those around us; we tell others about Jesus; we call others to follow Jesus too. These are not a works that lead to salvation. This is a fruit or evidence that salvation has genuinely taken place in us. The Bible states, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
Once we know Jesus personally as our Savior, He becomes our Shepherd. “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Whenever the Devil comes knocking, we can simply turn to our Shepherd Jesus and ask, “Lord, will you answer the door for me?” As Shepherd, Jesus has a rod and staff. The staff is a pole with a hook on it to get the sheep out of crevices and dangerous situations they get themselves into. The rod is a weapon to ward of predators, like wolves, like the devil and his demons. Jesus, our Shepherd, will protect us from the enemy. Sometimes, in His sovereign wisdom, He will allow the enemy to approach and even allow them to chase us a bit to build our strength. But Jesus assured us, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
Yes, Satan can be bound. Yes. Satan will be bound. We, on our own, are powerless to bind him. But Jesus can easily bind the Devil. And one day He will. Until then, let’s stay close to our Shepherd. Until then, let’s practice in the Spirit the means we’ve learned in this study to binding the Devil in our lives. Let’s not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with His good.