All authority in heaven and earth – The binding of Satan



Revelation 20:1-10

NASB
Satan Bound

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain [a]in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of  [b]their  testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. 

Satan Freed, Doomed

When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the [c]seashore. And they came up on the [d]broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the [e]saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and [f]brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

[a] 20:1 Lit upon – [b] 20:4 Lit the – [c] 20:8 Lit sea – [d] 20:9 Lit breadth of the earth – [e] 20:9 Or holy ones – [f] 20:10 I.e. burning sulphur


Related passages

Mark 3:27

“But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.”

Matthew 12:22-29

22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to [v]Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. 23 All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by [w]Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”

25 And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, [x]Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and [y]any city or house divided against itself will not stand.26 If Satan casts out Satan, he [z]is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 If I by [aa]Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

[v] Lit Him – [w] Or Beezebul; i.e. ruler of demons – [x] Lit Every – [y] Lit Every –[z] Lit was – [aa] V 24, note 1

Matthew 28:16-20

The Great Commission

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”

[e] Or Having gone; Gr aorist part. – [f] Lit all the days


Thoughts

If you’re interested in this topic please take a look. Professor Anthony Hoekema was an amillennialist who addressed this within a larger article on amillennialism itself. His explanation makes good Biblical sense.

As Hoekema explains in the rest of the article, amillennialism isn’t replacement theology or antisemitic. Amillennialism also isn’t a heresy but the view of many Reformed churches, including the Dutch Reformed church of which both he and Corrie ten Boom were members. 

This teaching has been truly helpful to me. 


From

Amillennialism

By Anthony Hoekema

Monergism

What is meant, then, by the binding of Satan? In Old Testament times, at least in the post-Abrahamic era, all the nations of the world except Israel were, so to speak, under Satan’s rule. At that time the people of Israel were the recipients of God’s special revelation, so that they knew God’s truth about themselves, about their sinfulness, and about the way they could obtain forgiveness and salvation. During this same time, however, the other nations of the world did not know that truth, and were therefore in ignorance and error (see Acts 17:30) — except for an occasional person, family or city which came into contact with God’s special revelation. One could say that during this time these nations were deceived by Satan, as our first parents had been deceived by Satan when they fell into sin in the Garden of Eden.

Just before his ascension, however, Christ gave his disciples his Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19, NIV). At this point one can well imagine the disciples raising a disturbing question: How can we possibly do this if Satan continues to deceive the nations the way he has in the past? In Revelation 20:1-3 John gives a reassuring answer to this question. Paraphrased, his answer goes something like this: “During the gospel era which has now been ushered in, Satan will not be able to continue deceiving the nations the way he did in the past, for he has been bound. During this entire period, therefore, you, Christ’s disciples, will be able to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations.”

This does not imply that Satan can do no harm whatever while he is bound. It means only what John says here: While Satan is bound he cannot deceive the nations in such a way as to keep them from learning about the truth of God. Later in the chapter we are told that when the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations of the world to gather them together to fight against and, if possible, to destroy the people of God (verses 7-9). This, however, he cannot do while he is bound. We conclude, then, that the binding of Satan during the gospel age means that, first, he cannot prevent the spread of the gospel, and second, he cannot gather all the enemies of Christ together to attack the church.

Is there any indication in the New Testament that Satan was bound at the time of the first coming of Christ? Indeed there is. When the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan, Jesus replied, “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man?” (Mt. 12:29). Interestingly enough, the word used by Matthew to describe the binding of the strong man is the same word used in Revelation 20 to describe the binding of Satan. One could say that Jesus bound the devil when he triumphed over him in the wilderness, refusing to give in to his temptations. Jesus’ casting out of demons, so he teaches us in this passage, was evidence of this triumph. One could counter that the binding of Satan mentioned here is reported in connection with the casting out of demons rather than in connection with the preaching of the gospel. But I would reply that the casting out of demons is an evidence of the presence of the kingdom of God (Mt. 12:28) and that it is precisely because the kingdom of God has come that the gospel can now be preached to all the nations (see Mt. 13:24-30, 47-50).

When the seventy returned from their preaching mission, they said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Lk. 10:17-18, NIV). These words, needless to say, must not be interpreted literally. They must rather be understood to mean that Jesus saw in the works his disciples were doing an indication that Satan’s kingdom had just been dealt a crushing blow — that, in fact, a certain binding of Satan, a certain restriction of his power, had just taken place. In this instance Satan’s fall or binding is associated directly with the missionary activity of Jesus’ disciples.

Another passage which ties in the restriction of Satan’s activities with Christ’s missionary outreach is John 12:31-32:

“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself’” (NIV).

It is interesting to note that the verb here translated “driven out” (ekballo) is derived from the same root as the word used in Revelation 20:3, “He [the angel] threw [ballo] him [Satan] into the Abyss.” Even more important, however, is the observation that Satan’s being “driven out” or “cast out” (RSV) is here associated with the fact that not only Jews but men of all nationalities shall be drawn to Christ as he hangs on the cross.

We see then that the binding of Satan described in Revelation 20:1-3 means that throughout the gospel age in which we now live the influence of Satan, though certainly not annihilated, is so curtailed that he cannot prevent the spread of the gospel to the nations of the world. Because of the binding of Satan during this present age, the nations cannot conquer the church, but the church is conquering the nations.3


“Anthony A. Hoekema was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the United States in 1923. He attended Calvin College (A.B.), the University of Michigan (M.A.), Calvin Theological seminary (Th.B.) and Princeton Theological seminary (Th.D., 1953). After serving as minister of several Christian Reformed Churches (1944-56) he became Associate Professor Bible at Calvin College (1956-58). From 1958 to 1979, when he retired, he was Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Professor Hoekema spent two sabbatical years in Cambridge, England (1965-66, 1973-74) and has written The Four Major Cults (1963), What about Tongue-Speaking? (1966), Holy Spirit Baptism (1972), The Bible and the Future (1979) and was a contributor to The Meaning of the Millennium from which these articles were taken (1977).”


 

Ancient thoughts on the human will, and a contemporary portrait of genuine “Calvinism”

 


Matthew 1:21

NASB

21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

1 Corinthians 4:7

NASB

For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Romans 9:15-17

15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”


Thoughts

A blogger friend and brother in the Lord has been discussing the doctrines of grace, so here is my response. Not my own thoughts here – though I agree with those I’ve presented – just insights from two Christians who lived many centuries apart. Let’s praise God for the great cloud of witnesses who have testified to the love and grace of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!


Augustine’s Doctrine of the Bondage of the Will

Monergism.com

Augustine of Hippo

Quotes from Augustine

“How have you come? By believing. Fear lest while you are claiming for yourself that you have found the just way, you perish from the just way. I have come, you say, of my own free choice; I have come of my own will. Why are you puffed up? Do you wish to know that this also has been given you? Hear Him calling, ‘No one comes to me unless my Father draws him’ [John 6:44 p.].” – Augustine, Sermons xxvi. 3, 12, 4, 7 (MPL 28.172, 177, 172f., 174)

“Why then, do miserable men either dare to boast of free will before they have been freed, or of their powers, if they have already been freed? And they do not heed the fact that in the term ‘free will’ freedom seems to be implied. ‘Now where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ [II Cor 3:17]. If therefore, they are slaves of sin, why do they boast of free will? For a man becomes the slave of him who has overcome him. Now if they have been freed, why do they boast as if it had come about through their own effort? Of are they so free as not to wish to be slaves of him who says: ‘Without me you can do nothing'” [John 15:5]

“. . . the human will does not obtain grace by freedom, but obtains freedom by grace; when the feeling of delight has been imparted through the same grace, the human will is formed to endure; it is strengthened with unconquerable fortitude; controlled by grace, it never will perish, but, if grace forsake it, it will straightway fall; by the Lord’s free mercy it is converted to good, and once converted it perseveres in good; the direction of the human will toward good, and after direction its continuation in good, depend solely upon God’s will, not upon any merit of man [anything deserving in man]. Thus there is left to man such free will, if we please so to call it, as he elsewhere describes: that except through grace the will can neither be converted to God nor abide in God; and whatever it can do it is able to do only through grace.”

Excerpts from the author of the article

“Augustine argued that there are four states, which are derived from the Scripture, that correspond to the four states of man in relation to sin: (a) able to sin, able not to sin (posse peccare, posse non peccare); (b) not able not to sin (non posse non peccare); (c) able not to sin (posse non peccare); and (d) unable to sin (non posse peccare). The first state corresponds to the state of man in innocency, before the Fall; the second the state of the natural man after the Fall; the third the state of the regenerate man; and the fourth the glorified man.”

One thought here: Augustine’s explanation is helpful but incomplete because it doesn’t address the struggle involved in not sinning:

Romans 7:21-25

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

“There are times when Augustine uses the term ‘free will’ in a positive sense, as R. C. Sproul explains,

‘Augustine did not deny that fallen man still has a will and that the will is capable of making choices. He argued that fallen man still has a free will (liberium arbitrium) but has lost his moral liberty (libertas). The state of original sin leaves us in the wretched condition of being unable to refrain from sinning. We still are able to choose what we desire, but our desires remain chained by our evil impulses. He argued that the freedom that remains in the will always leads to sin. Thus in the flesh we are free only to sin, a hollow freedom indeed. It is freedom without liberty, a real moral bondage. True liberty can only come from without, from the work of God on the soul. Therefore we are not only partly dependent upon grace for our conversion but totally dependent upon grace.‘”


The Practical Implications of Calvinism

(pdf file)

Albert N. Martin

[Emphasis added]

“Matthew Henry, in his simple, homely, quaint way, says, ‘When God deigns to bless his people he sets them a-praying for the blessing which he desires to give them’. And so, if I believe the confession that God saves sinners, that he not only regenerates them, bringing them to repentance and faith, but that he keeps them and ultimately brings them into his presence — if that is his work then it will produce a consistent prayerfulness, not only a holy watchfulness and distrust of myself, but a constant application to him that he would perform in me that which he has promised. For what is prayer in the last analysis? It is a conscious spreading out of my helplessness before God. The true Calvinist is the man who confesses with his lips that grace must not only awaken him, regenerate him, but that grace must preserve him, and he Amens his confession by his prayer when on his knees he cries out, ‘Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil. I cannot even get my bread for today, Lord, unless you sustain my life and bless the labours of my hands: Give me this day my daily bread’. The doctrine of confession, God saves sinners, will produce in the heart of a true Christian the sane biblical pursuit of godliness, holy watchfulness, a consistent prayerfulness, and in the third place. . . A trustful dependence on God to fulfil all that he has purposed. . .

“For a person to claim to be a Calvinist, confessing the soteriological creed that God saves sinners, without this holy watchfulness, some measure of consistent prayerfulness, and a trusting dependence upon God in Christ to fulfill all that he, in grace, has promised, is a contradiction of terms. One of the great cries that is raised today, and some of it has justification, is that people, especially young men, who get hold of Calvinism, and seem to view it as an unanswerable, unassailable philosophical system, become proud, go back now to their secular schools and in ten minutes shoot holes in the views of their Professor of Philosophy. They become proud, cocky. That is a caricature, that is not real Calvinism.”

“What is the personal practical effect of the confession of Calvinism in the life of a man? If he sees God, it will break him, and if he understands that God saves sinners, it will make him a trustful, prayerful, watchful person pursuing practical godliness. Is that what these doctrines are doing for you right where you sit this morning? Some, perhaps, to whom these things are new have feared them and said, ‘Oh, that stuff will just lead to spiritual barrenness and dryness’. It is not so! For these are the truths of God’s Word; I am convinced they are. In their totality they are the truth which is according to godliness, the truth that sanctifies us in answer to the prayer of our great High Priest. May God grant that the truth will do that in you and in me!”


John 17:9-19

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.


 

Historical insights – Anselm alone

 


The History of Justification by Faith Alone up to the Reformation

Thomas R. Thompson

Monergism.com

In reading Church History it’s clear that apostasy happened early. Christians added onto the Gospel – “another gospel” was being taught, from leading a moral life, to being baptized, to believing the creeds, to maintaining unity with the Bishop of Rome. Only very recently have I learned that the Gospel of grace was absent for a long time. I thought it had to be there. But even the Waldensians didn’t include Faith Alone in their 12th century confession of faith; even the early reformer and martyr John Huss didn’t see this truth.

Anselm of Canterbury was a man who knew that we could not pay our debt of sin, and that only the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is both God and Man, could do this for us and did this for us. Hallelujah!

Man cannot pay the debt owed for his sins (c. 1050)

“Until Anselm of Canterbury it was rare for anyone to speak as if he understood that man has nothing to offer God in exchange for the forgiveness of sins. The dominant thought was being baptized, or performing some act of charity was sufficient to cancel sins committed. Anselm is his writing Why God became Man, explains why this is not possible. Anselm shows man has no capability to make satisfaction to God for even the smallest of his sins.

“Anselm starts by explaining what it means to sin, and how to make satisfaction for it. He notes all the thoughts and labors of a man ought to be subject to the will of God. This is the debt that all men owe to God, and it is sin to not give Him that. No one who pays this debt sins, and anyone who does not pay it sins. Should one sin against God, it is not enough to simply return what was taken. To make satisfaction one must return more than was taken. It is not enough for someone who has injured another to restore his original condition without giving some compensation for the pain and injury suffered. (Anselm, Why God became Man, Book 1, Ch. XI)

“When man sinned in the garden, and surrendered his will to the devil, he took from God whatever God planned for humanity. Therefore, according to strict justice in order to make satisfaction with God, man would need to conquer the devil to regain what was lost. Since man was conquered by the devil and stole what belonged to God, and God lost it, so by the fact of man conquering the devil, the devil loses and God regains it. In addition, man would also need to justify as many men as God had planned for the Heavenly City that was lost due to the fall. However, sinful man is incapable of this, because a sinner cannot justify another sinner. Therefore man has no capacity to merit any justice from God for the things he does. Anything man may consider offering to God is only giving to God what is already owed. (Anselm, Why God became Man, Book 1, Ch. XXIII)

“It would not be until 500 years later and Martin Luther, that many would understand the full weight of Anselm’s arguments. In the light of such convincing arguments, it makes previous church council matters on reinstating lapsed Christians and the like seem rather petty. Man has no ability to do penance for any of his sins, so it seems rather foolish to construct systems whereby satisfaction is made to God based on man’s so-called merits. If the church considered this bigger problem initially, they may not have invented so many things for one to do to obtain forgiveness of sins. They did not before Anselm, nor after him. As a result the church continues to develop its merits based salvational system, until the weight of this system brings about its own collapse.”

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