Where is Satan now?
Even non-Bible students are aware of Satanís influence, all the way back to the Garden of Eden. However, many Bible scholars are not in agreement regarding Satanís role today. Some believe Satan has already been cast out of heaven and no longer appears before the throne of God to accuse the saints. While others believe, despite the evidence to the contrary, that Satan has already been bound and is no longer able to deceive the nations.
Scripture reveals many interesting things about the great dragon, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan. Some is history, some is about what is going on today and still more is about Satanís future.
In the Old Testament we observe Satanís attempt to disrupt Godís plan from the Garden of Eden through Christís First Coming. These passages provide a picture of the Devilís work history. Notice, that Satan has had access to Godís throne in heaven.
Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are" (1 Chronicles 21:1-2).
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in itĒ Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12).
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ďThe LORD rebuke you, Satan!Ē (Zechariah 3:1-2)
Also, recorded is Satanís effort to disrupt and frustrate the plan of God. Satan even tried to tempt Jesus from His purpose.
"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him (Matthew 4:9-11).
Below Jesus implies that Satan will be continuing his efforts to frustrate the plan of Godís to the end of the age.
He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels (Matthew 13:37-39).
Satan continued his work all the way through the ministry of Christís First Coming.
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve (Luke 22:3).
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat (Luke 22:31).
At the close of His First Coming ministry Jesus said,
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Christís victory is accomplished and the Devilís defeat is ensured. However, in the world today Satan still prowls around seeking who he can devour. That Satan is operating much the way he always has is clear from what is written in the New Testament. Here are some examples.
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Corinthians 11-15).
For we wanted to come to you--certainly I, Paul, did, again and again--but Satan stopped us (1Thessalonians 2:18).
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul indicates that the power of lawlessness (Satan) is already at work. Paul also tells us that the work of Satan will continue until Christ's return.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10).
John states that the work of Satan has continued from the beginning and remains the same even after the Cross of Christ. Therefore, while Satanís defeat is assured, he was still at work years after the New Covenant was established.
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning Ö This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother (1 John 3:8).
If Satan has been operating the same way from the beginning, does that mean Satan still has access to the throne of God in heaven today? As we examine Scripture, we will see that Satan still has access to the heavenly throne accusing the saints as he has from the beginning. We see that Satanís access to heaven will remain until his is cast out of heaven as described in Revelation chapter 12, which will view shortly.
Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God (Job 16:19-20)
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (Romans 8:33-34).
From the time of Job to the New Testament someone has been accusing the saints and someone has been interceding for them. ďIf God is for us, who can be against us?Ē (Romans 8:31) Satan is our accuser and Christ is our advocate.
Therefore, when does Satan get thrown down from heaven as prophesied? We know that God has prophesied Satanís fall in the Old and in the New Testaments.
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit (Isaiah 14:12-15).
He replied, ĎI saw Satan fall like lightning from heavení (Luke 10:18).
Satan's future fall from heaven is written in the book of Revelation. Lets read it, and understand what will happen.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman [Israel] who had given birth to the male child [Christ]. The woman [Israel] was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman [Israel] and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring [Church]--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:7-17).
Satan will be defeated by Michael and thrown down to earth. Based on the timing presented in this passage, Satan will be thrown down when he has only ďa time, times and half a timeĒ left. This places Satanís fall to earth in the middle of the last seven years of this age.
The last seven-year period is called Danielís 70 'seven'. In the middle of Danielís 70th 'seven' the Ēthe Abomination that causes desolationĒ will occur, see Daniel 9:27.
Then at the end of Danielís 70 'seven', Christ will return to earth. When Christ returns, He will defeat the Antichrist and have Satan bound in the Abyss for the 1,000-years.
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-2).
After the 1,000 years, Satan will be released to deceive the nations one last time. Then Satan and those he has deceived will be destroyed and thrown into the Lake of burning sulfur.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Revelation 20:7-10).
In summary, Scripture reveals that Satan is operating much the way he has since the beginning. He will continue until he is thrown down to earth 3Ĺ years before the completion of Danielís 70th 'seven'. After the last 3Ĺ years, called the Great Tribulation, Christ will return and Satan will be bound in the Abyss for a 1,000 years. At the end of the thousand years Satan will be released for a season after which he will be thrown into the Lake of burning sulfur forever.
Note: Satan is currently being restrained. Satan has been partially restrained from the beginning. Michael is the one who now holds him back. However, there will be a time when Satan will no longer be restrained by Michael, and that time is called "the Great Tribulation."
For more regarding Satan and the Restrainer who now holds Satan back, click here - He who now holds back the Secret power of lawlessness.
Richard H Perry