WHY WILL SATAN BE LOOSED?

Broken chainsPMT 2014-105 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In Rev 20 John focuses briefly on ultimate eschatological events that look well beyond the short time frame of the book. This is anticipated in his referring to the thousand years (Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), which by definition must extend beyond the “near” / “at hand” time frame. “Now, although the closing part of the Revelation relates beyond all doubt to a distant period, and some of it to a future eternity, yet the portion of the book which contains this is so small, and that part of the book which was speedily fulfilled is so large, that no reasonable difficulty can be made concerning” the book’s claim to focus on near-term events” (Moses Stuart, Apocalypse, 2:5).

But you may ask why Satan will be loosed. You will have to ask John, not me — for he does not say. Just as God surprisingly allows Satan to enter Eden and tempt Adam and Eve, so does he allow Satan’s re-release to tempt the nations live for a long time under Christ’s rule (cf. G. R. Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 291).

John does indicate, though, that Satan “must [dei] be released” (Rev 20:3d): it is God’s will (cp. dei, Rev 1:1; 4:1; 10:11; 11:5; 17:10; 22:6). Satan does not escape his captivity, he is “released.” Note that luthēsetai is in the passive voice, which is almost invariably associated with divine activity in Rev (cp. 20:3). H. B. Swete (Apocalypse, 261) declares that “it is in vain to speculate on the grounds of this necessity.” Mounce (Revelation, 363) states that it is “futile to speculate” why another war (the consequence of Satan’s release) is necessary. As J. M. Kik (The Eschatology of Hope, 237) well observes: why the Lord releases Satan “is within the secret counsel of the Godhead.” John states only the historical fact of Satan’s release, not the divine reason.


Satan Issues
A two-message consideration of Satan.
Actually one of the messages exposes a misunderstanding about Satan (he is not Lucifer),
while the other demonstrates that Satan was bound by Christ in the first century.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


This fact of Satan’s release embarrasses the premillennialist’s literalistic scheme (especially the classic dispensationalist variety), for it results in a second humiliation for Christ after his glorification (Kik, Eschatology, 237): Satan “will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war” (Rev 20:8b). Here Satan is leading nations to rebel against Christ’s personal, direct, ages-long rule (Rev 20:4–6).

What is more, on the literalist scheme they actually surround Christ and his glorified saints, holing them up in Jerusalem (Rev 20:9). Literalist Thomas (Revelation 2:425) notes that in this episode (Rev 20:8–9) John speaks of “the land of Palestine as being fully occupied by these attacking forces,” including the surrounding of Jerusalem which “will be the location of the Messiah’s throne.” Walvoord (Bible Knowledge Commentary, 1985:980) agrees: “Satan’s release will produce a worldwide rebellion against the millennial reign of Christ. The armies will be so vast in numbers that they are said to be ‘like the sand on the seashore.’”

John’s scene does not pose a problem for other evangelical viewpoints, for they do not have the exalted Christ living on earth for 1000 years and being surrounded by rebellious hordes.

We should not understand this whole scene in 20:7–9 literally, as if God’s kingdom is headquartered in historical Jerusalem and can actually be surrounded. Rather, it presents in militaristic imagery an end-time apostasy of the nations from the long dominance of Christianity. Though John draws his images from Ezekiel, which does seem to refer to actual military engagements, we see once again his departure from Ezekiel for “John thought and acted for himself” (Stuart Apocalypse, 2:367).


Reformed Interpretation of the Binding of Satan” by Ken Gentry
An 8 1/2 x 11 study paper
An exegetical study of Revelation 20:1–3.
|This study shows that the binding of Satan begins in the first century
with the establishing of Christ’s kingdom by the Lord Jesus Christ.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Regarding the reason, perhaps Terry (Biblical Apocalyptics, 455) captures the significance of this event:
These verses 7–10 depict the last great struggle of Satan and his forces to overcome the saints of God, and their overwhelming defeat before the manifested power of heaven. The obvious purpose is to show the final and decisive victory of the seed of the woman over their ancient foe. It is a great symbolic picture, and its one great teaching is clear beyond the possibility of doubt, or misunderstanding, namely, that Satan and his foes must ultimately perish. . . . That final victory is in the far future, at the close of the Messianic age, and it is here simply outlined in apocalyptic symbols.

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3 thoughts on “WHY WILL SATAN BE LOOSED?

  1. ajmacdonaldjr August 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Satan’s binding and losing concerns the nation’s (=the gentiles’) ability and inability to obey the gospel. First Satan is bound so the nations can believe in Christ. Second Satan is loosed in order to deceive the nations and hinder them from believing in Christ.

  2. BereanServant September 6, 2014 at 6:33 am

    I just want to comment on this:

    “This fact of Satan’s release embarrasses the premillennialist’s literalistic scheme (especially the classic dispensationalist variety), for it results in a second humiliation for Christ after his glorification (Kik, Eschatology, 237): Satan “will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war” (Rev 20:8b). Here Satan is leading nations to rebel against Christ’s personal, direct, ages-long rule (Rev 20:4–6)”.

    Although I am not a Pretrib dispy. I don’t think Satan deceiving the nations after the Millennium is a “second humiliation for Christ after his glorification” for it is actually the will of God to allow satan to revolt so that he could show who really is sovereign, that his efforts are worthless and futile despite his determined will. It’s rather like an icing to the cake for the Glory of Christ.

    It’s like a champion undefeated Boxer who defeated all his foes effortlessly, He is so dominating that no one want’s to fight him already. Then one day his Manager informs him that there will be a challenger, The Champ said “Bring it On”….only to find out it’s one of his former challenger whom he defeated already via TKO. But since the opponent is so determined, his Manager made the fight. And as expected the opponent was once again knocked out hard, so bad that he was forced to retirement. Now the champion is once again proven to be the undisputed un-equaled fighter of All!.

    The loosening of Satan is actually not a rebellion threat but a display of God’s overcoming power and overwhelming victory through Christ.

  3. Tracy October 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I am a bit lost here – can you explain please when exactly is Satan to be released, or when did he get released? If it was 1000 years after the resurrection, does that mean hes doing his thing now? and if that is so, how can we say that the 1st thousand years after Christ’s death was anything but peaceful? I must be missing something here 🙂

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