What in Hell Happened to Satan?

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In the last post, I explained how the nations had been allotted to the fallen Watchers (“Sons of God”) as territories over which they ruled (Deut. 32:8-11). The satan, as the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), was most likely the Watcher of Rome, because Rome ruled the known world at the time, AND it was the oppressor of Israel.

So how are we to understand the Biblical tension of the satan being “cast down” (Jn. 12:31) and without power (Heb. 2:14), while simultaneously having the ability to prowl around and devour people (1Pet. 5:8)?

Through the entire Chronicles series, I have used a concept called “binding” of angels, demons, and Watchers through either supernatural restraint or imprisonment in the earth or Tartarus.

This binding notion originates theologically from the binding of the satan in the ministry of Christ as noted in Matthew 12, as well as the binding of angels in Tartarus in “chains of gloomy darkness” in Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4.

And these New Testament Scriptures are paraphrases of the Enochian narrative of the antediluvian Watchers who, at the Flood, were “bound” “for seventy generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of their judgment” (1 Enoch 10:12).

Ad300x250-BookofEnochBinding spirits is a common idea in ancient religion and magic. Michael Fishbane notes that in the ancient Near East, incantations and spells were used by sorcerers and enchanters to bind people and spirits in spiritual “traps, pits, snares, and nets,” using venomous curses from their lips like serpents.

In response to some of these verbal sorceries, the Biblical Psalmist himself calls upon Yahweh in similar utterances to reverse the spells upon his enemies that they would be trapped, ensnared and bound by their own magical devices (Psalm 140; 64; 57:4-6).[1] Reverse binding!

Exorcists of the first century used incantations to cast out demons in Jesus’ name (Acts 16:18), the same incantation used by Demons against Jesus before being cast out (Mk 1:27).[2]

Ezekiel 13:18 refers to a specific form of hunting and binding spirits in a practice of women “who sew magic bands upon all wrists…in the hunt for souls!” I reversed this pagan version of using magical armbands by creating a heavenly version of the archangels with armbands of indestructible Cherubim hair for their hunting and binding of evil spirits. The hair is wrapped as bands around the arms of archangels and used like a rope to bind the Watchers’ hands and feet. A fantasy genre incarnation of a spiritual reality.

Scholars have pointed out that the binding of Satan that occurs in Matthew 12 during the ministry of Christ is evidently not an exhaustive or absolute binding, since he is still active after the ministry of Christ and even into the New Testament era (Acts 5:3; Rom. 16:20; 2Cor. 12:7; 1Thes. 2:18; Rev. 2:13).

Satan as he appears in the novel Jesus Triumphant, as Belial.

But then how does this continuing satanic activity fit with the notion that the satan “was thrown down to the earth” (Rev. 12:9), “fell like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18), was disarmed and overthrown in triumph (Col. 2:15), destroyed along with his power of death (Heb. 2:14), and all of this accomplished through the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ (Matt. 12:28-29; Heb. 2:14)?

Revelation 20:2-3 provides a theological solution to the dilemma. It says that the satan is bound and thrown into a sealed pit for a thousand years, “so that he might not deceive the nations.” Deceiver of the world is a Biblical epithet of the satan (Rev. 12:9; 20:7), ever since the beginning in the Garden (1 Tim. 2:14; John 8:44).

So perhaps the binding of the satan is the muzzling of his deception over the world, as Jesus now has all authority, so that the Gospel can go forth into all the nations as it is now doing (Matt. 28:18).

This binding is also a legal restraining order on the satan. In the Old Testament, the satan is a divinely ordained legal role as a kind of prosecutor within God’s heavenly court. He would test God’s law and righteousness through accusation against God’s people (1Kgs. 22; Job 1, 2; Zech 3). He is not some kind of unanticipated evil, but rather part of the supernatural system of spiritual law justifying the righteous, and condemning the guilty.

In Rev. 12:10, it describes the satan’s fall from heaven as “the accuser of our brethren being thrown down,” also at the inauguration of God’s kingdom. With the advent of Christ, the satan/Accuser has effectively been exiled from the divine council of Yahweh and no longer has any legal power of accusation against God’s people (Rom. 8:1-4).

Ad300x250-ChroniclesNephilimThis notion of the satan’s binding is a problem for those who interpret that act as occurring in the Millennium, which they interpret as not having occurred as of yet. Revelation 20 is notoriously difficult to conclude any eschatological view. But we don’t need Revelation 20 to make the connection, because Jesus does in Matthew 12:

Matt. 12:26–29
And if the satan casts out the satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?…But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Jesus said that his ministry on earth of casting out demons from the Promised Land was a binding of the satan. The satan could not stop the kingdom of God (ie: the Gospel) from inaugurating on earth.

Yes, many nations are still in the lap of the evil one, but whereas the Kingdom of God under the Old Covenant was exclusively located in a small patch of land in the Middle East, surrounded by pagan Gentile nations, now under the glory of the New Covenant, people from every nation are getting saved from all over the earth. The Good News of Christ is currently drawing all nations into heavenly Zion (Isa. 2; Heb. 12:22). The kingdoms of man are right now becoming the kingdoms of God through the proclamation and victory of the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Heb. 2:8-9).

The satan’s power to keep the world blinded and enslaved to sin has been bound.

For additional Biblical and historical research related to this post, go to www.ChroniclesoftheNephilim.com under the menu listing, “Links” > Jesus Triumphant.

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[1] Michael A Fishbane, Studies In Biblical Magic : Origins, Uses And Transformations Of Terminology And Literary Form (Dissertation) Brandeis University, 1971. See also Edwin M. Yamauchi, “Magic In The Biblical World,” The Institute For Biblical Research Lecture, 1981, Tyndale Bulletin 34 (1983).[2] Graham Twelftree, Jesus the Exorcist: A Contribution to the Study of the Historical Jesus (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2010), 95, 139, 159-60.

8 comments on “What in Hell Happened to Satan?

  • Leviathan's Dad says:

    Love the binding plotline in your novels! Really appreciate how you got the idea from such an obscure text. Watch out,Watchers!,

    Reply
  • Uriel's Camel says:

    So was the satan bound in AD 30/33 upon Christ’s desth and ressurection or in AD70 when Jerusalem was destroyed(start of millenium)? Maybe it was it a cumulative process.

    Reply
    • I currently think that the binding was a result of the death/res/ascension but historically occurred in AD 70, because Paul’s letters talks about Satan roaming about like a lion, and that he was the god of this world at the time, which means to me that he was not bound until the final destruction of the OT temple. My understanding is that the coming of Messiah as prophesied by Malachai and the prophets involved both atonement and judgment as a complex set of events, but that the judgment was separated by 40 years, just like in the wilderness. So that is where I think the Now/Not Yet factor comes into play. The 40 years was a transition period between covenants so it was a messy overlap.

      Reply
  • Leviathan's Dad says:

    The reason for my avatar was that I was kinda wondering why in the novels Leviathan’s dad wasn’t present since Rahab was its mother. Although both monsters aren’t physically really-they’re personifications of chaos. But hmm…if we were to go by Mesopotamian mythology it would be Abzu,the personification of the Abyss who was the mate of Tiamat/Rahab. Just my creative license on your characters.

    Reply

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