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What is the Binding of Satan in Revelation 20?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
February 20, 2024 4:30 pm

What is the Binding of Satan in Revelation 20?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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February 20, 2024 4:30 pm

Episode 1428 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

  1. What does it mean to abide in Christ, and how can I do it?   2. What is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in Matthew 12:31-33?   3. Is it sinful to remarry if my wife divorced me without biblical grounds?   4. Why would God bind Satan in Revelation 20 just to let him loose again?     Today’s Offer: Why Would Anyone Get Married?   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.


What is the binding of Satan referred to in Revelation chapter 20? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on this edition of Core Christianity. Hi, it's Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Here's our phone number, and you can leave us a voicemail at this number any time. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, including our YouTube channel, where you can watch Adriel every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time, and you can always email us your question at First up, let's go to Jarus in Illinois. Jarus, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, in John 15, Jesus says, I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, and apart from you, you can do nothing. So I was just wondering, what is abiding kind of theologically, and then how do I do that practically?

Excellent question, my friend. And there's, I think, evidence throughout the Gospel of John, as well as in his first epistle, because that language of abiding is something that you see again and again and again, in particular, Jarus, in John's writings. And so let me just read some of the text to provide a little bit more context, beginning in verse 1. Jesus said, I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine. Now, already right here we're beginning to see evidence of what abiding looks like. It yields fruit. There's life.

There's growth. And so abiding in the vine leads to life. Jesus continues, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.

For apart from me you can do nothing. Now, it's interesting because a little bit earlier in this Gospel, in John 6, verse 56, Jesus said, whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. There it is again. So in John 6, verse 56, abiding in the vine looks like feeding on Christ. Eating his flesh, drinking his blood, which is essentially the Gospel.

Resting and receiving the work of Christ for us. And that's one of the things that's highlighted in John 6. Jesus says in verse 54, a little bit earlier, whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.

And then just before that, in verse 47, he said, truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. And the language of abiding, right? You think of living in, resting. Where we abide is where we rest, where we live. Jesus is saying, that's me.

Resting in, receiving. Those are the terms that we oftentimes use when we're talking about accepting or embracing the Gospel. And so here in John chapter 15, you have this picture of organic union with Jesus Christ, the fact that we are united to him by faith, and that as those who are united to him, his life flows into us and through him, we bear fruit. Now, I think one of the dangers is we say, okay, abiding in Jesus means I have to do all of these things. And so then we focus on the doing as opposed to the abiding. No, it's recognizing that abiding in Jesus looks like receiving his body and blood, resting in him, and letting his life, his grace, his goodness flow through us. And the life of abiding in Jesus is a life of prayerfulness, a life of following the Lord, obedience, a life of love.

But it's not that those things are what save us. It's those things are the fruit, the fruit of being attached to the vine, attached to Jesus. And so again, there really is so much beautiful imagery here, the reality that apart from him, we can do nothing.

We're lifeless. We have to be abiding in the vine, abiding in Jesus. And that abiding happens through faith in his name and receiving his gifts. And God help each and every one of us to receive that, to rest in that, to abide in the vine, so that through us, the Spirit of God, Jesus may, through the Spirit of God, create and bear fruit in our lives. And may the Lord bless you with that, my friend, and excellent question from John chapter 15.

Thank you, Jairus. Appreciate your call and your commitment to God's truth. We really do appreciate that when our listeners are serious about their faith and dig into God's word on a regular basis. This is CORE Christianity. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. You can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Douglas in Minnesota. Douglas, what's your question for Adriel?

Yeah, hi, Adriel. In Matthew chapter 12, verses 31 through 33, it says obviously, Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven, people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven, and whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. So the question is, because we all know that we will be forgiven for all of our sins and blasphemies, what are they referring to by blasphemy against the Spirit or speaking against the Holy Spirit?

Excellent question, Douglas. The answer is, the context is Jesus speaking to the religious leaders, and they were accusing him of doing miraculous works by the power of Satan. In other words, they were saying that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, operating, working on the basis of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Spirit, they were saying, no, that's the power of Satan. So they're calling the Holy Spirit and Jesus Satan, essentially. That's, I think, even more clear in the parallel account in Mark chapter 3, verse 28, Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin, for, and this is the explanation, they were saying he has an unclean spirit.

And so in the context of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is attributing the works of Christ to Satan, the work of the Holy Spirit to some evil, sinister force. And what it highlights is that the religious leaders in Jesus's day were so blind. I mean, they rejected, it's not just that they rejected Jesus in the gospel, there was a hatred in their hearts for Jesus in the gospel to the extent that they were even calling Jesus Satan, attributing his works to Beelzebub, the devil. And so there is no forgiveness.

If somebody dies in that state, they've rejected the gospel, they want nothing to do with Christ, they're so blind that they're attributing his works to Satan, then there is no hope. There is no forgiveness for that because it's a full-on rejection of the gospel. One thing, Douglas, that I'll say is, as a newer Christian, I struggle with this and I see a lot of Christian sincere believers struggling with this where they think, Have I blasphemed the Holy Spirit? Did I do something? I didn't mean to, I didn't want to, but boy, I fell into that same sin again, whatever that sin is. Or I thought something or I said something that just was so wrong, I can't believe, was that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

And they're worried, they're anxious, they're afraid. And I think one of the tactics of the evil one is to convince us that we are hopeless. He doesn't want us to rest in the free grace of God and live in light of the forgiveness of our sins. Instead, he wants us to despair and to think that our sin is greater than God's grace. Our sin is finite, but the mercy and love of God is infinite.

And so what we need to do when we're struggling with that, and I know I'm going beyond now your question, but I think that this is important because I know there are many people who wrestle with this, when we're having those thoughts, is to go to the Lord and believe and trust that there is indeed forgiveness for us, for whatever sins or blasphemies we may have uttered, because we trust in Jesus. And that's precisely what the religious leaders didn't do. They didn't trust in Jesus. In fact, they trampled upon him. They hated him.

They called him Satan. Thanks for that explanation. Thank you. And Douglas, thank you for calling in to CORE Christianity. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can email us anytime. Here's our email address.

It's And we do have listeners all around the world. In fact, we received an email from Cesar, and he says, I'm a longtime listener from the Dominican Republic.

I discovered this program listening to Michael Horton on the White Horse Inn podcast. My wife left me after 10 years together. We are both Christians. I don't believe there is a biblical reason because there was no adultery, abuse in any way or anything like that.

It's been over one year now, and she doesn't show any signs of wanting to get back together at this point. And I have no other choice but to accept it. My question is, speaking biblically, does God still see us as married under his covenant? Given the circumstances, can I continue with my life, or would I be sinning if I do so? Cesar, I'm so sorry to hear about this situation. And the first thing I want to do is just lift you up to the Lord and pray for you and ask that God would give you wisdom, and that in whatever decision you make, he would guide you by his Spirit according to his word and be with you. And so, Father, we come before you right now. And Lord, we don't know all of the details with regard to this relationship, but we know that so often, Lord, in marriage, when there is sin, when there is abandonment, how difficult that is. And so we pray for Cesar. We pray for your Spirit to be with him. Pray that your Spirit would be with his wife as well.

Lord, again, we don't know the details, but we ask that you would bring about repentance, healing, Father, that you would intervene and be at work in both of their lives. And for Cesar, would you grant him wisdom? Would you surround him with godly and wise counselors, Lord, who know his family, who know him, who can provide him with biblical wisdom in this time and walk alongside of him? And, Father, that you would direct his steps so that in every step that he takes, Lord, he would honor you and be faithful to your word. Lord, please be with Cesar, we pray, in Jesus' name.

Amen. Cesar, you know, so, the one thing I would say, you think of what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 with regard to abandonment. In there, in particular, he says if a brother, if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.

The same, you know, with the woman. He says if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. The unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But, verse 15, if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so.

In such cases, the brother or sister is not enslaved. And this is where it's so important for the church to be involved, because ordinarily, I don't know if both of you were, you know, members of a church together as a family, a good church, a solid church, and there was a process of discipline, you know, where you're working together with the elders of the church. But ordinarily, for Christians, that's how it should be, so that if, you know, one spouse abandons the marriage or commits some grievous sin, they're held accountable and they're called to repentance, and you're going through that process of church discipline. And if there is no repentance, then the church renders that judgment that we treat this person as a believer. They might say that they are, but they're rejecting the truth of God's word. They're abandoning the gospel and God's grace. And Jesus talks about that in Matthew chapter 18, but oftentimes, it's not that clear-cut. We're not in churches, or churches aren't exercising discipline, and so it's very difficult.

My hope would be that you are surrounded by godly counselors, that you're in a local church, and that they're really the ones who are giving you counsel in this situation and encouragement, and they know you, they know your wife, they've been able to observe the situation. And I think, over time, essentially what would happen is that that judgment would be rendered. There would be an excommunication, and so they would say, okay, this person is not a believer.

She's rejected the calls to repent. And in that situation, it doesn't mean that you have to divorce, but the brother, the believer, you, in that case, would not be bound. You'd be free to be married, I think is what the Apostle Paul is saying in that situation.

The marriage through abandonment has been dissolved. And that's why I wanted to pray, because this is not an easy thing at all, and there are so many different factors, and so this is where you're going to need the care and encouragement of a solid church that's on the ground with you. All I can say is what Paul said there in 1 Corinthians 7, and if that helps to illuminate your situation, then good.

I think, look at that, 1 Corinthians 7, 12 through 16. But may God give you that wisdom and the grace of His Spirit, and in the midst of everything, I just know that this has got to be so hard. May the Lord draw near to you, and may you draw near to Him as well, clinging to His promises. And let me just encourage you, and all those listening right now, especially when relationships fall apart, it's so easy for us in situations like that. I'm not saying this is true of you, Caesar, but it's so easy for us to get angry at God, and then to just ourselves begin to drift, and to justify that drift, that movement away from the Lord because of our frustrations.

Don't give into that. In this season, recommit and devote yourself to the Lord, to the study of Scripture, to prayer for your church, for your wife, to pursuing the face of the Lord and saying, God, guide me and help me to honor You in the decisions that I make and to be led by Your word. God bless. Really good counsel.

Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity. And speaking of marriage, you know, it seems that our culture these days views marriage completely differently than God views it, and we've created an excellent resource for you on that very topic. And the resource is called Why Would Anyone Get Married? And it's one of those booklets that we produce here at Core Christianity. It's about 50 pages, some helpful discussion questions at the end of the chapters. The chapters are titled Do You Know the Basic Realities of Marriage? And Bill, you highlighted it already.

A lot of people don't. And so chapter one, what is marriage? Chapter two, legitimate and holy sexual relationship. Chapter three, mutual help and companionship.

Chapter four, procreation and child rearing and the conclusion, so why would anyone get married? Just a helpful biblical resource for you as you think about these questions, and you can get it over at By the way, I want to mention we are a listener supported ministry, and we count on people just like you to make regular gifts to Core Christianity to stay on the air. You can do that by going to our website, and looking for that donate tab. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core on a regular basis, and you can call us anytime and leave your voicemail question.

833-THE-CORE is the number, and here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Matt. There's a period where seemingly defeated or bound, and then he's kept for a thousand years, and then the Lord returns again. I'm being real general with it, but I was just wondering what your take on that would be.

Why even have that one thousand year gap? Why not have Satan defeated in the instant? I know this goes back to ultimately not knowing the secret things or gods, but if you had a take on that, I'd appreciate it. Yeah, I mean Revelation chapter 20 is one of the most, if not the most debated chapters in all of the book of Revelation, maybe all of the New Testament, maybe all of the Bible, I don't know, but definitely in the book of Revelation there's a lot of ink spilled about Revelation chapter 20 and the binding of Satan in particular.

And when does that take place, or did that already take place? There are a number of views out there, but let me just give you mine. My view, we have to remember that Revelation is a book of apocalyptic prophecy and that it's full of symbolic imagery. Seven lampstands are seven churches and so forth. In Revelation chapter 5, John sees him as a lamb standing as though it had been slain. It's not that Jesus is literally a lamb in heaven, but he's seeing the sacrificial work of Christ standing. The lamb standing.

Why? Because he's risen from the dead. So you have all of this symbolic imagery and it's no different when we get to Revelation chapter 20. And so sometimes people think, no, that's a literal 1,000 years.

I don't take that view. I think it's a symbol for a long period of time where Satan is bound, and there's a purpose clause there. He's bound specifically so that he may not deceive the nations any longer, which is to say that the binding is limited.

There's a purpose there. So through Satan's binding, the gospel is going to go out to who? To the nations. That is, the Gentiles. Now, when was Satan bound?

I think it happened through the first advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus himself uses the language of binding Satan in reference to his earthly ministry. He says, what I've come to do is to bind Satan, bind the strong man. He says in verse 26 of Mark chapter 3, if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. There's a little parable that Jesus tells you.

He says, look, you can't plunder a strong man's house unless you bind him first. And that's precisely what Jesus did as he's walking around Galilee, casting the devil out through the cross. The powers and principalities have been defeated once and for all. And so there was this definitive defeat of Satan, binding of Satan, that happened at the cross through the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So that, why? So that the gospel might go out to the nations. And isn't that exactly what Jesus commanded the disciples to do, to go into all the world and preach the gospel? The nations are going to hear this message and are going to flock into the kingdom of God. And that's what's been happening for the last 2,000 years, for this great long period of time. The gospel has been spreading, not just among the Jews, but from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. That's what we read at the very beginning, or what we read at the very beginning of the book of Acts. So Revelation chapter 20 is the symbolic picture of Satan being bound so that the gospel might extend to the very ends of the earth, the Gentile nations might turn to Christ.

And that's what we've been seeing. Again, people from every tribe, tongue, and nation receiving the grace of God and being folded into the flock of God through faith in Jesus Christ. And so there are some people who think, well, that binding of Satan is going to happen later. Jesus is going to return at his second coming, and then Satan is going to be bound for a thousand years. That's one view.

That's just not the view that I take. I think that misreads Revelation. It doesn't properly understand the genre of the book of Revelation. And so what this should do, when we think about it practically, is give us confidence in the proclamation of the gospel and in missionary work. We can say, look, because of Jesus and the Spirit of God, those who are bound, those who are blind in darkness are set free through the gospel.

Jesus is plundering Satan's kingdom, and he's going to continue to do that through faithful gospel preaching. Now it's interesting, because there it says in Revelation 20, verse 3, until a thousand years were ended, after that he must be released for a little while. And then he is later released from being bound, and he gathers the nations of the world once again in rebellion. And they're gathered in rebellion, and what happens?

They're destroyed. There you have the final judgment. But again, it's this great hope that we have, confidence that we have, that Jesus is victorious over the power of Satan, and because of that, the nations are turning to Christ. Praise the Lord. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, let us know how we can be praying for you. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-22 14:17:27 / 2024-02-22 14:27:06 / 10

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