4. Judgments on SatanRelated Media
When studying Scripture, it is clear that Satan experienced various judgments from God for his various sins. He did not just experience one at his original sin; Satan experienced, and will experience, multiple judgments from God. What are those judgments?
Satan’s Original Judgment
The most familiar judgment is when Satan was cast out of heaven, along with one-third of the angels, for rebelling against God. This is detailed in various passages. Ezekiel 28:15-27 says,
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground…
In Luke 10:18-19, Christ seems to refer to God’s original judgment of Satan when he responds to his disciples after they boasted about casting out demons in his name. Jesus said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Look, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you.” Essentially, Christ says, “It’s no surprise that you are casting out demons. My Father cast Satan out of heaven, and I have given you power to cast demons out of people.” Revelation 12:4 describes Satan falling with a third of the angels. It says, “Now the dragon’s tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth.”
What are the other judgments?
Satan’s Edenic Judgment
After being cast out of heaven, Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the garden to eat of the forbidden tree. Because of Adam’s and Eve’s sin, God pronounced a curse on Satan. In Genesis 3:15, he said, “And I will put hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; her offspring will attack your head, and you will attack her offspring’s heel.” (1) God promised that there would be a perpetual enmity between Satan and the woman. No doubt, we see this in the historical oppression women have experienced. In many societies, they have had no rights and have even been considered property. They have had to fight to vote and to receive equal opportunities and pay. No doubt, this enmity has been seen in how women are commonly viewed as simply objects of sex, leading to the promotion of pornography, prostitution, rape, and sex trafficking. The objectifying of women has also led many women to struggle with great insecurities over their bodies and depression. There is a perpetual enmity between Satan and women. (2) God also prophesied that there would be enmity between Satan’s offspring and that of the woman. What does this refer to? First John 3:9-10 says,
Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: Everyone who does not practice righteousness—the one who does not love his fellow Christian—is not of God.
Every person born into this world immediately becomes part of the devil’s family. It is by conversion and rebirth that people enter God’s family. People in God’s family are distinguished by living lifestyles of righteousness and loving fellow believers. Consequently, those who are not part of God’s family will be distinguished by lifestyles of sin and hating God’s children. With that said, the original curse refers to Satan’s children, unbelievers, hating Christ who would be the child of the woman, as seen in the second part of Genesis 3:15. There would be a male child who would be bitten by Satan (a flesh wound) and who would crush Satan’s head (a death blow). Therefore, throughout the world, there will be enmity between unbelievers and Christ. Christ referred to this prophecy when referring to the Jews’ effort to kill him. In John 8:40-41 and 44, he said this to the Jews:
But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! You people are doing the deeds of your father.” … You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him…
Likewise, throughout history, there has been enmity from unbelievers, who are children of the devil, with Christ.
This enmity has also been demonstrated to those who follow Christ by reflecting his righteous nature. Cain killed his brother, Abel, not because of something he did wrong, but because he was righteous. Throughout the history of Israel, the prophets, who spoke for God, were persecuted, jailed, and even killed at times. While Jesus was on the earth, he said this to his disciples:
If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you… If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name.
(3) Finally, as mentioned, God prophesied that the male seed of the woman would ultimately crush Satan—destroying him and his works. First John 3:8 says, “The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil.” Hebrews 2:14-15 says:
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil) and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death.
Satan’s second judgment happened in Eden, as God cursed him.
Satan’s Calvary Judgment
Satan’s third judgment happened on the cross, as God fulfilled the curse on Satan in Genesis 3:15. Though Christ suffered a flesh wound, he was eventually resurrected, and his death on the cross defeated the devil. Colossians 2:14-15 says,
He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Likewise, Hebrews 2:14 says, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil).”
On the cross, Satan and his demons were decisively defeated. Christ delivered believers from the enemy’s clutches, as they will be resurrected from death and never suffer eternal death. Christ’s death also secured the restoration of the earth which was cursed after Adam’s sin and given over to Satan to rule. Finally, Christ’s death secured Satan’s ultimate destruction, as he will be judged eternally in the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). Many of the effects of Christ’s death await his return, but many of them begin now, as people are being delivered from darkness to light and from death to eternal life through faith in Christ.
Satan’s Tribulational Judgment
Although Satan was kicked out of heaven during his original judgment, he still has temporary access to it. In Job 1 and 2, Satan appeared before God in heaven with the other angels. However, during the great tribulation, Satan will try to fight against God and his angels again, possibly because he knows his ultimate defeat is near, and he will be defeated and finally banished from heaven. Revelation 12:7-9 details this:
Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But the dragon was not strong enough to prevail, so there was no longer any place left in heaven for him and his angels. So that huge dragon—the ancient serpent, the one called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world—was thrown down to the earth, and his angels along with him.
This is the tribulational judgment.
Satan’s Millennial Judgment
When Christ returns to the earth to rule for a thousand years, he will temporarily bind Satan in the abyss. Though not mentioned in Scripture, most likely Satan’s demons will be bound there as well. Revelation 20:1-3 says:
Then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain. He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan—and tied him up for a thousand years. The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things he must be released for a brief period of time.)
While Christ rules the earth during this time of peace, people will no longer be tempted by Satan and his demons. Christ will establish a rule of peace. After 1000 years, however, Satan will be released again to tempt the nations to rebel against God.
Why would Satan be released after initially being bound? As quoted by Harold Wilmington, Dr. J. Vernon McGee suggests one answer:
When the late Dr. Chafer (founder of Dallas Theological Seminary) was once asked why God loosed Satan after he once had him bound, he replied, “If you will tell me why God let him loose in the first place, I will tell you why God lets him loose the second time.” Apparently Satan is released at the end of the Millennium to reveal that the ideal conditions of the kingdom, under the personal reign of Christ, do not change the human heart. This reveals the enormity of the enmity of man against God. Scripture is accurate when it describes the heart as “desperately wicked” and incurably so. Man is totally depraved. The loosing of Satan at the end of the 1,000 years proves it. (Reveling Through Revelation, pp. 74-75)1
Satan’s Eternal Judgment
After tempting the nations to rebel against Christ one final time, Christ will eternally judge Satan. Revelation 20:7-10 says:
Now when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to bring them together for the battle. They are as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea. They went up on the broad plain of the earth and encircled the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and devoured them completely. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever.
When considering God’s judgments on Satan, often only the original and final ones are considered; however, Scripture details various judgments on Satan throughout the course of history. When Satan rebelled against God in heaven, he was cast out with one-third of the angels. Then after Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin, God pronounced a curse on Satan, which would culminate in Christ, the God/man, crushing Satan. On the cross, Satan was ultimately defeated by Christ; however, all the effects of Christ’s work on the cross await the consummation of all things. As Satan’s time gets shorter during the great tribulation, he will rebel against God one more time—causing a war in the heavenlies. Again, Satan will be defeated and cast to the earth—never to return. When Christ returns at the end of the tribulation, Satan will be bound temporarily for 1000 years, then let loose to tempt the nations. After Satan and the nations rebel against Christ a final time, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire to be eternally judged. He will never tempt the nations, nor defame God again. Amen, Lord, let it be so!
- What stood out most in the reading and why?
- What are the various ways God judges Satan in Scripture (past, present, and future)?
- In what ways did God judge Satan in Genesis 3:15 and how is it presently reflected?
- Why will God imprison Satan at Christ’s return to only set him free again during the millennium?
- What other questions and applications did you take from the reading?
Copyright © 2021 Gregory Brown
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1 Wilmington, Harold. Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible (Olive Tree Bible Software), 2011 Updated Edition.
Related Topics: Satanology