What Binding Satan the Devil Will Mean for Mankind
“And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”—Rev. 20:2.
1. Who especially needs to be bound, and what argues that this binding is near at hand?
THE greatest lawbreaker and troublemaker of all creation needs to be bound. Now all nations of the earth are in a bad plight. The one responsible for it needs to be bound, even during our own generation, if the human family is to survive. The very fact that the nations in desperate distress are close to their extremity argues that the binding is near, in fact, so near that members of this generation may live on and experience the grand effects of this. When in the near future the threatening world situation reaches its worst, it simply offers an excellent opportunity for the binding to take place, just when it is needed most. The one able to do the binding will take advantage of this opportunity, with benefit to the good order and peace of all.
2, 3. (a) As to speaking authoritatively regarding the destiny of our race, upon what can we depend? (b) What does the last book of the Bible say about the final affairs of the nations and of the binding of the troublemaker?
2 According to the grim realities of our times we must be near the end of the affairs of the nations. We cannot depend upon modern science to speak with the voice of supreme authority and to foretell or determine the destiny of our human race. There is something far older and more dependable than modern science, and it does speak with supreme authority. It is the Holy Bible, the writing of the sixty-six books of which was finished about nineteen hundred years ago. Its final book, written near the end of the first century of our Common Era, has foretold the final affairs of the nations just as these affairs have been happening since the year 1914 C.E. It vividly pictures the circumstances and the earthly events that must take place before the universal troublemaker is bound and then it cheers us with the prophetic picture of his binding. In the third last chapter of the Bible we read:
3 “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while.”—Rev. 20:1-3.
4. How is Satan the Devil misleading the nations in their thinking, and to what does the Bible therefore liken him?
4 There we have the chief lawbreaker and troublemaker plainly identified for us. He is Satan the Devil. He is the one who has been misleading all the nations and who will continue to do so until he is bound. Is it any wonder that all the nations are in dire trouble today? Satan has the nations thinking that they are going the right way to a lasting peace and prosperity, but all the while he is leading them in the way that leads to their destruction. It is not surprising, then, that he is likened to a snake; and because he misled mankind from the beginning of human history, by means of deception, he is called “the original serpent.” (Gen. 3:1-15) For his ability to do harm and to swallow up victims, Satan the Devil is no small enemy but is likened to a great fiery dragon with seven heads.—Rev. 12:3, 4; Jer. 51:34.
5, 6. (a) To help us locate the time of his binding, in what relevant question do we interest ourselves? (b) What is the answer to the question, and why can there be no question about its rightness?
5 Dragonlike, Satan has tried to swallow up all men into his power. In order for us to locate the time for his binding, whether it is to be within our generation, we may ask, What is the thing that this symbolic dragon, Satan the Devil, does to the nations right before he is bound, hurled into the abyss and put under seal? Into what does he mislead the nations? It is to their final war! There can be no mistake about this, for in the five verses right before the account of the binding of Satan we read:
6 “I saw also an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice and said to all the birds that fly in midheaven: ‘Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God, that you may eat the fleshy parts of kings and the fleshy parts of military commanders and the fleshy parts of strong men and the fleshy parts of horses and of those seated upon them, and the fleshy parts of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.’ And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who render worship to its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulphur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword of the one seated on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth. And all the birds were filled from the fleshy parts of them.”—Rev. 19:17-21.
7. Who is it that brings the kings and their armies to the battle position, and how is this shown some verses ahead of the battle description?
7 Ah, yes, the symbolic Dragon, Satan the Devil, uses the “wild beast” and the “false prophet” and brings the kings of the earth and their armies to this battle position. In some verses ahead of the above battle description, in Re chapter sixteen, verses thirteen through sixteen, the Bible points this out, saying: “And I saw three unclean inspired expressions that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. . . . And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon [or, Armageddon].”—Rev. 6:13-16; see also the Authorized and Douay Versions.
8, 9. (a) What indicates that this will be no ordinary war, and on what side will earth’s kings be gathered? (b) For that reason, what will the nations deserve and get?
8 So, as a human race, we are unavoidably headed for war. It will be no ordinary war. Otherwise, it would not be called “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” All the political rulers, here called “the kings of the entire inhabited earth,” will be gathered to that war, and all of them on the one side, namely, against “God the Almighty.” The religious leaders of the nations may persuade the political rulers, the “kings of the earth and their armies,” that they are fighting for God, but this is all part of the deception by the ‘inspired expression’ that comes out of the mouth of the Dragon, Satan the Devil. Certainly these earthly nations will not be fighting for the God of truth and of righteousness, the Creator of heaven and earth, for his own Word warns us that he will destroy all these nations. Why so?
9 Because they will be his enemies, opposed to his good purposes and to his heavenly government. They are all misled by the Chief Enemy of Almighty God, namely, the Dragon, Satan the Devil, who uses the “wild beast” and the “false prophet.” In being destroyed the nations will experience the ultimate result of their having been misled by Satan the Devil for over four thousand years.
10. Why is the war at Armageddon bound to come, and why do we know that the binding of Satan is drawing near?
10 The “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon is bound to come for the reason that the Dragon, Satan the Devil, and his demons are not yet bound and hurled into the abyss. The imprisoning of them in the abyss will not take place until after the war of Almighty God at Armageddon has been fought and his earthly enemies have been destroyed. Thus Satan the Devil must first see his visible organization on earth wiped out of existence and must know that he is whipped. Inasmuch as that war at Armageddon is impending, we know that the binding and imprisoning of Satan the Devil and his demons is also drawing near.
NO MERE “PRINCIPLE OF EVIL”
11. Why is our speaking of nations fighting against God not meant as an insult to them?
11 In bluntly saying that all the worldly nations are lining up against God the Almighty and are going to fight against him, are we not assuming something? No! Our saying such a thing is not meant as an insult to such nations. This is only what the inspired Holy Bible has to say, namely, that all the nations are being misled by the great Dragon, Satan the Devil, and his demons.
12. This statement goes contrary to what who say to the world rulers, and why do worldly-wise men smile at our talking of a personal Devil?
12 Of course, that goes contrary to what the religious leaders of the nations, the priests and clergymen of Christendom and of “heathendom,” say to the political rulers with whom they have friendly connections. The religious and political rulers of the earth are so worldly-wise and proud of their worldly learning that it hurts their feelings to, be told that they are marching to a military Armageddon under the invisible guidance of the Dragon, Satan the Devil. While they admit that evil is really running rife throughout the earth, yet many highly educated persons will smile at our talking about a personal Devil. They say that Satan the Devil is only the “principle of evil,” not a literal person.a
13. What kind of Satan the Devil as pictured by old-fashioned artists does not exist, but is the idea of Satan as being merely the “principle of evil” something recent?
13 True, no cloven-hoofed, spike-tailed, two-horned, red devil exists. Such a creature is only the imagination of old-fashioned artists, painters and religiously backward persons. But with the world in the condition in which it is, this is no time to be fooling ourselves by imagining that Satan the Devil is merely the “principle of evil” personified, and not a superhuman, invisible spirit person who is the source and chief promoter of wickedness. The idea that the Devil is only the “principle of evil” is not recent, due to our coming into this scientific age, this age of nuclear power and travel in outer space. That religious idea was already given attention in the year 1894, when the ninth volume of the Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature was published by the scholars John M’Clintock and James Strong in New York city.
14, 15. (a) According to this Cyclopœdia, by what standards of judging do we determine whether Satan is a real person? (b) If we were just to suppose that the Bible writers wanted to present Satan as a real person, could they have carried out their idea in a better way than they did? (c) From the way they wrote about him, could it be known that Satan was just a figure of speech, or what would treating Satan as a figure of speech mean?
14 On page 361 this volume discusses the “Personality of Satan” and says that we determine whether Satan is a real person by the same standards of judgment that we use for “determining whether Caesar and Napoleon were real, personal beings; or [were] the personification of abstract ideas, namely, by the tenor of history concerning them and the ascription of personal attributes to them.” Then this volume nine goes on to refer to the sacred writers of the Holy Scriptures, such as the Jewish prophet Moses and the first-century disciples of Jesus Christ, and says:
15 “All the forms of personal agency are made use of by the sacred writers in setting forth the character and conduct of Satan. They describe him as having power and dominion, messengers and followers. He tempts and resists; he is held accountable, charged with guilt; is to be judged, and to receive final punishment.” If we were only to suppose that the sacred writers meant to teach that Satan was an actual person, “they could have found no more express terms than those which they have actually used.” For anyone to suppose that “all this semblance of a real, veritable, conscious moral agent” is only a figure of speech, only the personification of a lifeless thing, a representation of an imaginary person, “is to make the inspired penmen guilty of employing a figure in such a way that, by no ascertained laws of language, it could be known that it was a figure—in such a way that it could not be taken to be a figure, without violence to all the rhetorical rules by which they on other occasions were known to have been guided.”
16. (a) Were the Bible writers trying to impose upon us a deception by the way they wrote about the Devil? (b) Is the theory that the Devil is merely the personification of the “principle of evil” free of encumbrances?
16 However, the inspired Bible writers, from the prophet Moses down to the Christian apostle John, did not use the Devil as a figure of speech. They purposely wrote in the most effective way for us Bible readers to know and understand that Satan the Devil is a real, corporeal, conscious, intelligent spirit person. They did not violate the laws of language and thus merely deceive us into thinking that Satan the Devil is a true-to-life person instead of simply the “principle of evil” personified. Hence the above-quoted Cyclopædia goes on to say: “But there are other difficulties than those general ones by which the theory of personification is encumbered. This theory supposes the devil to be the principle of evil. Let it [the theory] be applied to the interpretation of two or three passages of Scripture.” Then the Cyclopædia takes up the Scripture passage about the temptation of Jesus Christ in the wilderness of Judea by Satan the Devil, as told by the Christian apostle Matthew, and says:
17. How does the aforesaid Cyclopœdia argue about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)?
17 “‘Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit to be tempted of the devil.’ (Matthew 4:1-11) Was Jesus tempted by a real, personal being? Or was it by the principle of evil? If by the latter, in whom or what did this principle reside? Was it in Jesus? Then it could not be true that in him was no sin. The very principle of sin was in him, which would have made him the tempter of himself. This is bad [science of interpretation], producing worse theology. Let it also be remembered that this principle of evil, in order to be moral evil, must inhere in some conscious moral being. Sin is evil only as it implies the state or action of some personal and accountable agent.”
18. How can this same argument against the personification of the “principle of evil” be applied in connection with Jehovah God?
18 The same argument against the idea that the “principle of evil” is personified as Satan the Devil could be used with regard to God Almighty himself. This is in connection with the God-fearing man named Job, who was still alive in the days of the prophet Moses fifteen hundred years before our Common Era. The Bible book of Job tells us of how Satan himself appeared in the presence of God at the time of a meeting of the holy angels in heaven. Job, chapter one, verse seven, reads:
19, 20. If, in Job 1:7, Satan the Devil is just the “principle of evil,” then what questions arise and to what conclusion do we come?
19 “Then Jehovah said to Satan: ‘Where do you come from?’ At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: ‘From roving about in the earth and from walking about in it.’”
20 Well, now, was Satan here no real person, but merely the “principle of evil”? If so, then to whom was Jehovah God talking? To himself? If so, then Satan, the personified principle of evil, was residing in Jehovah God himself. This would mean, too, that the principle of evil was inherent in God Almighty himself, and that moral evil originated with the only living and true God. Such a blasphemous idea is against all the rest of the Holy Bible.
21. Were the theory of the personification of evil principle true, who, then, really accused Job before God, who contradicted himself, and who proved to be a liar in the outcome?
21 Furthermore, God pronounced the man Job to be “a man blameless and upright, fearing God and turning aside from bad.” But Satan accused Job of serving Jehovah God just for what earthly benefits he could get out of it. We read: “At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: ‘Is it for nothing that Job has feared God? . . . But, for a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch everything that he has and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.’” (Job 1:8-11) Now, if Satan here were just the “principle of evil” personified that really was accusing the man Job to God, then Jehovah God himself would be the accuser, and this right after he had pronounced Job to be a good man without an equal in the earth. In that case the principle of evil would be in the Most High God himself, and he would be contradicting himself. Furthermore, when God let Satan test out Job and when Satan was proved to be a liar, then, if Satan was only the principle of evil, God himself was proved to be a liar.—Job 1:12-22.
22. (a) How does such a theory make God prove himself a liar a second time in connection with Job? (b) Why is the conclusion drawn from such an application of the theory an impossibility?
22 His first test having failed, Satan asked for permission to make a further test of Job, and Jehovah God let him do so. Again Satan’s accusation of Job was proved to be false. If Satan here was just the personified “principle of evil” that actually resided in Jehovah God, then once more Jehovah God was proved to be a liar. But it is impossible for God to lie, whereas Jesus Christ said that Satan the Devil is the author or “father” of the first lie, the lie by means of which Satan the Devil murdered the human family.—Titus 1:1, 2; Heb. 6:18; John 8:44.
23. Thus what is Satan the Devil really proved to be, and, parallelwise, what is Job, and even Jehovah God, proved to be?
23 So by all the rules of sound reason and by the laws of language, Satan must be a real, live person in the invisible spirit realm. After Job’s faithfulness proved Satan to be a devil or slanderer, God recovered Job from his great affliction and richly blessed him. Other Bible writers besides Moses speak of Job as a historical person, not an imaginary person; and this argues that Satan the Devil was and is a historical person, just the same as Jehovah God is an actual, conscious, moral Being in the Bible book of Job.—Ezek. 14:14, 20; Jas. 5:11; compare Revelation 12:9-12.
24. What does time not allow us here to do, and what, too, does the Cyclopœdia say about proving existence of a personal Devil?
24 Other passages of the Holy Scriptures could be discussed to prove how ridiculous it is to say that Satan the Devil in the Bible is no real person but merely an impersonal “principle of evil.” But our time does not allow; just as M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia argues with reference to John 8:44 and then says: “It would be a waste of time to prove that, in various degrees of clearness, the personal existence of a Spirit of Evil is revealed again and again in Scripture. Every quality, every action, which can indicate personality, is attributed to him in language which cannot be explained away.”—Volume 9, page 361b.
HOW BROUGHT INTO EXISTENCE
25. What book explains how Satan the Devil came into existence, and what does this name and title of him really mean?
25 Since the God of all goodness and righteousness is not the source of any moral evil or badness, it may be hard for you to reason out how Satan the Devil could come into existence and become a menace to the whole world of mankind today. However, the Sacred Bible gives the simple facts on this. The expression “Satan the Devil” means “Resister the Slanderer.” It is not hard for anyone to make himself a resister or opposer and a slanderer [diábolos] of someone else, particularly of Jehovah God.
26. How is it shown, in connection with Peter and Judas Iscariot, that it is easy to make a satan or a devil of oneself?
26 For instance, on one occasion Jesus Christ called his apostle Peter a satan or “resister.” After Peter rebuked his Master Jesus Christ for predicting a violent death for himself, the Master said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” (Matt. 16:23) On another occasion, when this same Peter expressed faith that Jesus was “the Holy One of God,” then, as reported in John 6:68-71 (AS), Jesus answered him, “‘Did not I choose you the twelve, and one of you is a devil [diábolos]?’ Now he spake of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” Thus Judas Iscariot made himself a devil or slanderer.—John 6:70, NW.
27. How does the apostle Paul show that women and men can make devils of themselves in the sense of being slanderers?
27 When the Christian apostle Paul wrote out instructions for Christian women, he said: “Women should likewise be serious, not slanderous [or, female devils].” (1 Tim. 3:11) “Likewise let the aged women be reverent in behavior, not slanderous [diabólous].” (Titus 2:3) Paul also wrote: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, . . . slanderers [diáboloi].” (2 Tim. 3:1-3) So besides spirit devils, there can be human devils in the sense of being slanderers against men and against God. The “God of truth” does not make them devils or slanderers; men and women make themselves such.—Ps. 31:5.
28. This process of making oneself something was true also of whom, and how did Jesus confirm this in John 8:44?
28 The same process of making oneself something is true with respect to the superhuman spirit creature whom the Bible calls “the great dragon . . . , the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Rev. 12:9) The spirit creature who became such had a beginning as such after Jehovah God created him. Regarding him, the Lord Jesus Christ said to some religious persons who were inclined to murder him: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44, AV) On this statement made by Jesus the Cyclopædia quoted above (Volume 9, page 364a) says: “But here it seems likely the words apʹarkhés [from the beginning] refer to the beginning of his action upon man.”
29. How did the one who is now Satan the Devil become the “father” of lies, and when did he become a murderer?
29 Thus the spirit creature here involved was not created as Satan the Devil. God did not create him a murderer, but created him in the truth. However, he did not choose to remain in the truth, but decided to become a liar, a slanderer (diábolos). So, when he lied, he did not speak according to the will and spirit of his heavenly Father but spoke the lie of his own accord or disposition. Since he did not stand fast in God’s truth but started off lies, he was called the father of lies. He was a murderer, not from the time of his creation by God, but from his beginning as Satan the Devil. He was a self-made Satan the Devil.
30. When did Satan the Devil come on the scene of action, and how did he then show his resistance?
30 In Ge chapter three, the first book of the Bible as written by the prophet Moses tells us how Satan the Devil came to be. As a superhuman spirit person he was present invisibly in man’s first home, the garden of Eden in what is now southwest Asia. After Jehovah God created woman to be a companion for the perfect man Adam, Satan the Devil came on the scene of action. Using a snake or serpent as his medium, this invisible spirit son of God displayed resistance or opposition to Jehovah God by telling the perfect woman Eve a shameful lie against God her heavenly Father.
31. What about his course was it that made him a deceiver, and what did God thenceforth use as a symbol of him clear to the end of the Bible?
31 The Resister or Opposer thus made himself a slanderer or devil. In telling Eve a lie to mislead her into disobedience toward God, he also became a deceiver. He kept invisible to Eve, but used a visible serpent to tell the lie to her. Hence the Bible says: “The serpent seduced Eve by its cunning.” (2 Cor. 11:3) For this reason, right there in the garden of Eden, Jehovah God made the serpent or snake a symbol of Satan the Deceiver, and in the last book of the Bible this arch Deceiver is called “the ancient serpent,” or, “the original serpent,” who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—Rev. 12:9; 20:2, RS; AT; NW.
32. What was the Devil’s purpose in misleading Eve, and so in what condition were we all born?
32 What was the purpose of the “original serpent, the one called Devil [Diábolos] and Satan,” in misleading Eve by calling her God and Father a liar filled with fear? According to the way that things worked out, his purpose was to turn Eve against God and then to use her to turn her husband Adam against God and thus get both of them on his side and under his power. In that way, too, he would get all their offspring, the whole human race, under his power and the whole earth would become a land of rebels or resisters against Jehovah God. About forty-one hundred years later, the Christian apostle John wrote: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19, NW; RS; NEB) At the same time wicked Satan brought mankind under the power of sin and death, for God’s decree is: “The wages sin pays is death.” (Rom. 6:23) We were all born in sin and death from Adam and Eve.
33. To enforce his decree against Adam, what did God do, and why did sin and death pass on to all of us?
33 In enforcing his sentence of death upon the sinners, Jehovah God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden and thus away from its tree of life. We read: “Jehovah God went on to say: ‘Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also of the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite,—’ With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken.” It was after this that the sinful Adam and Eve began to have children, outside, not within, the garden of Eden. (Gen. 3:22 to 4:3) By God’s judicial decree and by the law of genetics sin and death passed on all of us as their descendants. (Rom. 5:12) What a fall we had!
34. Who also then had a fall, and how did God indicate this in the garden of Eden?
34 However, the angelic son of God who became “the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan,” also suffered a fall. This is indicated by God’s words directed to him there in the garden of Eden. Speaking to him as if he were speaking to the literal serpent whom Satan had used to mislead Eve, Jehovah God said: “Because you have done this thing, you are the cursed one out of all the domestic animals and out of all the wild beasts of the field. Upon your belly you will go and dust is what you will eat all the days of your life. And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”—Gen. 3:14, 15.
35. Satan thus became the father of what ones, and to what is he therefore doomed?
35 Satan the Devil thus came under God’s curse and became the father of the cursed ones. (Matt. 25:41) Accordingly, he is doomed to be forever destroyed, to be bruised in the head under the foot of the promised Seed of God’s “woman.” In harmony with this the Christian apostle Paul said to those who are part of this Seed of God’s “woman”: “God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”—Rom. 16:20.
WHEN CAST OUT OF HEAVEN
36-38. When do many Bible readers think that Satan’s fall from heaven occurred, and where do they think the description of this is given in the Bible?
36 Many readers of the Bible have thought that at the time when God pronounced those words against the serpent in Eden Satan the Devil was cast out of heaven, and that this fall from heaven is what is described in the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 12:3-13, where we read these words:
37 “Another sign was seen in heaven, and, look! a great fiery-colored dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and upon its heads seven diadems; . . . And the dragon kept standing before the woman who was about to give birth, that, when she did give birth, it might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne. . . .
38 “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! . . . Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.’ Now when he dragon saw that it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman that gave birth to the male child.”
39. That prophetic account in Revelation 12:3-13 could not apply to Satan’s fall back in Eden, because of what vital things not yet being fulfilled then?
39 Does that account refer to the casting of “the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan,” out of God’s favor at the garden of Eden? No! Even the Cyclopædia already quoted from refers to Revelation 12:7, 9 and says: “Whatever be the meaning of this passage, it is certain that it cannot refer to the original fall of Satan.”b At that time, almost six thousand years ago, no woman had given birth to a child. Certainly God’s symbolic “woman” had not given birth to the promised “male child.” At that early time Jehovah God merely promised that his “woman” would give birth to a seed that would bruise the Serpent in the head. For that reason the “original serpent,” Satan the Devil, would thenceforth be on the watch to devour the Seed of God’s “woman” and prevent being bruised in the head to destruction. But at that time no war broke out in heaven to cast Satan the Devil out.
40 Another thing: the last book of the Bible was written many years, traditionally sixty-three years, after Jesus Christ died, was resurrected and ascended back to heaven. So its writing was near the close of the first century of our Common Era; and Revelation, chapter one, verse one, says: “A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place.” Hence what is referred to in chapter twelve of the Revelation must be those things due to occur some time after the resurrected Jesus Christ gave this revelation to his faithful apostle John about 96 C.E.
41. What does the book of Job reveal as to Satan’s access to heaven, and what do the Hebrew Scriptures written after Job have to reveal on this?
41 It is not strange, therefore, that the book of Job, likely written by Moses, plainly declared that in Job’s day, twenty-five centuries after Satan the Devil misled Eve in the garden of Eden, he still had entry into heaven and could accuse God’s people before God’s face. (Job 1:6 to 2:7) Also, none of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures written after Job reveal that Satan the Devil was cast out of heaven, even down till the prophet Malachi’s time.
42. So, now, what questions do we ask about Satan’s being cast out of heaven?
42 Has Satan the Devil been cast out of heaven and down to this earth as yet? If so, when? How can we tell, since we cannot see him inasmuch as he is a spirit creature unseen to our eyes?
THE EVIDENCE OF HIS OUSTING
43. Who must be responsible for world conditions since World War I, and why does Revelation 12:12 suggest itself in this connection?
43 Look, though, at world conditions on earth since World War I of 1914-1918. Satan’s being cast out of heaven and down to our earth would surely affect things on this earth, especially since Revelation 12:12 cries out: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” What is that—“a short period of time”? Till when? Till he and his demons are seized, chained and hurled into an abyss, unable to mislead the nations for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:1-3) Certainly someone superhuman is responsible for the woeful conditions on earth since World War I, and could that one be the angered, ousted Satan? Let us see.
44. What, according to Revelation 12:10, was Satan’s ouster to betoken, and so his ouster results really from what?
44 Note, please, what Satan’s ouster is said to betoken. After he and his demon angels were to be defeated in the war in heaven, a loud voice was to be heard in heaven, saying: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.” (Rev. 12:10) From this meaningful announcement it is plain that the casting of Satan and his demon angels out of the high heavens and down to our earth must take place after God’s kingdom is set up in the heavens. Satan’s ouster results from the fact that God’s “woman” in the heavens gives birth to the male child, and then the symbolic Dragon, Satan the Devil, fails to devour the male child but this male child is “caught away to God and to his throne.” (Re. 12:1, 2, 4, 5) So the birth of the male child and its enthronement alongside God in heaven must picture the birth of God’s heavenly kingdom by the enthronement of his Son Jesus Christ in power at God’s right hand. That is why the announcement could be made in the heavens: “Now have come to pass . . . the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.”
45. What did the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom take place in heaven, and what proof thereof do we have?
45 Birth and enthronement of God’s kingdom with his Christ in royal authority took place in 1914. World events during the more than fifty years since 1914 harmonize with the prophecies given by Jesus Christ himself. In them he foretold the events and conditions that should be in evidence when God would enthrone him in the heavens and when he as the new Messianic king would begin ruling in the midst of his enemies in heaven and on earth.—Ps. 110:1-6; Heb. 10:12, 13; Matt. 24:3 to 25:46; Rev. 6:1-8; 11:15-18.
46. So what two wars took place simultaneously, and what happened to our woes?
46 Evidently the war that “broke out in heaven” to oust Satan and his demons therefrom ran simultaneously, for at least part of the time, with World War I here on earth during 1914-1918. But that war, which the politicians said was “the war to end all wars” and to “make the world safe for democracy,” did not end carnal warfare, make the world safe for democracy or end our woes.
47. In what “period of time” are we evidently living, and what explanation is there for religious persecution today?
47 Do you see the fulfillment of Bible prophecies in world affairs since the year 1914? If you do, then the evidence is clear that Satan has been ousted from heaven and is now restrained to our earth. It is evident that we are now living in that “short period of time” that Satan knows he yet has and we see him venting his great anger at his defeat in heaven by causing “woe for the earth and for the sea.” Not only that, but he is causing religious persecution, inasmuch as it is written: “Now when the dragon saw that it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman that gave birth to the male child. . . . And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remnant of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Rev. 12:12-17) Is it any wonder, then, that in all parts of the world Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are persecuted because they bear witness to the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in the heavens in 1914? No, not at all!
48. (a) How is Satan using what remains of his “short period of time”? (b) How will day of battle at Armageddon prove to be a “great” one?
48 About fifty years have already been used up of the “short period of time” that the ousted Satan knows he has before he and his demons are bound and hurled into the abyss for a thousand years of imprisonment. The time remaining before that must now be very short. Feverishly he and his demons are using their unseen influence to gather the “kings of the entire inhabited earth” to what the last book of the Bible calls Armageddon, for the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Rev. 16:13-16) A “great day” that will be indeed for God the Almighty, for he and his King Jesus Christ will win the war at Armageddon. All those on the Devil’s side will lose this decisive war, the greatest of all human history. For men it will prove to be the worst woe into which Satan and his demons will have led mankind.—Matt. 24:21, 22.
49. What is now the big question for us to decide, and why is it so critical for us?
49 The big question for each one of us to decide is, Will I be on the winning side? It is a most critical question for us, for we want to decide in the right way. The time for deciding is now, as it is a matter of everlasting life or of everlasting death and destruction for us. We do not desire to be lined up at that time with the “wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies” who are “gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army,” namely, with the heavenly Jesus Christ, the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” and his heavenly angels. (Rev. 19:11-19) To be lined up with the “wild beast” and the earthly kings and their armies then would mean our destruction with them, as shown by the Bible prophecy on the outcome of the war of Armageddon on God’s “great day.”—Rev. 19:20, 21.
BENEFITS TO MEN FROM HIS BEING BOUND
50, 51. (a) According to Revelation 19:20 to 20:3, what is the lineup of events at and after Armageddon? (b) So what would one’s destruction with Satan’s earthly forces at Armageddon mean?
50 The binding of Satan and his demons immediately follows the destruction of his earthly forces at Armageddon, and, were we to be destroyed at Armageddon, we could never enjoy the lasting benefits therefrom. (Rev. 19:20 to 20:3) Never could we enjoy the blessings of the royal rule of Jesus Christ for a thousand years that follows the binding of Satan and his demons and the hurling of them into the abyss of complete restraint. That this is the lineup of events is shown in Revelation 20:3-6, where we read:
51 “And [the angel from heaven] hurled him into the abyss and shut it up and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while. And I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”
52, 53. Christ’s thousand-year reign will relieve mankind of the rule of what earthly thing?
52 What will the reign for a thousand years by Jesus Christ and the rest of the Seed of God’s “woman” who did not worship the “wild beast” mean? For one thing, mankind will no more be ruled by the “wild beast.” Here you might think we are joking; you might ask, Mankind has never been ruled by a wild beast, has it? No, not by a literal wild beast, but by a symbolic one. And what is that? In explanation, the Revelation to John refers to the Dragon, Satan the Devil, after his being cast out of heaven, and then says:
53 “And it stood still upon the sand of the sea. And I saw a wild beast ascending out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, and upon its horns ten diadems, but upon its heads blasphemous names. Now the wild beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were as those of a bear, and its mouth was as a lion’s mouth. And the dragon gave the beast its power and its throne and great authority. . . . And it opened its mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his residence, even those residing in heaven. And there was granted it to wage war with the holy ones and conquer them, and authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. And all those who dwell on the earth will worship it.”—Rev. 13:1-8.
54. What does this “wild beast” symbolize, and how can we confirm this Scripturally?
54 What does this “wild beast” symbolize? The worldwide political system under the invisible control of God’s great adversary, Satan, “the original serpent,” who blasphemed God in the garden of Eden. A comparison of the foregoing symbolisms in this Revelation to the apostle John and the symbolisms in the prophetic book of Daniel, chapter seven, will confirm that the “wild beast” symbolizes the worldwide political system that God’s great adversary has used since the days of Nimrod the founder of ancient Babylon on the Euphrates in the next century after the watery deluge of Noah’s day. Nimrod the great-grandson of Noah was called “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.”—Gen. 10:8-12.
55. How can we determine for ourselves whether the Bible’s use of a “wild beast” as a symbolism fits matters?
55 The system of political rule from Nimrod’s time onward till now has featured seven successive world powers that have oppressed God’s people. Has that system been like a “wild beast”? We leave you, our readers, to judge. First read the history of those world powers, namely, ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome and the British-American political alliance, and then render your honest judgment. This symbolic “wild beast” has been worshiped. Even today we witness the worship of the political state, the idolizing of national sovereignty. All this has bred wars!
56. After the “wild beast” is destroyed at Armageddon and Satan is bound, what things will no longer continue on earth?
56 After the “wild beast” is destroyed at Armageddon and its invisible master, the Dragon, Satan the Devil, is bound, there will be no “wild beast” of that kind to worship nor any further oppression of all mankind by it, nor any persecution of the worshipers of Jehovah God by it. This spells the death knell for international wars, civil wars, yes, for political alliances and treaty organizations, for the United Nations organization, for territorial boundaries that divide off one peacefully inclined people from neighboring peoples, for tariffs, customs, duties, for commercial rivalries or battles over world markets, and for all other present divisive arrangements that are due to the worshiping of the political state as a god.
57. How may some persons feel about our statement that the Devil has given the political system its control, but what did the Devil himself disclose when tempting Jesus Christ?
57 Worshipers of the “wild beast” will resent our saying that the Dragon, Satan the Devil, has given to the worldly political system its power, throne and authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. But what can they say in the face of the Devil’s own statement to Jesus Christ when tempting Jesus to take over the political rule of the whole earth? Let them read Luke 4:5-8, which says that Satan the Devil took Jesus up and “showed him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in an instant of time; and the Devil said to him: ‘I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it. You, therefore, if you do an act of worship before me, it will all be yours.’ In reply Jesus said to him: ‘It is written, “It is Jehovah your God you must worship.”’”
58, 59. (a) What did Jesus and his apostle Paul call Satan, not imaginatively, and so what will the binding and imprisoning of him mean for mankind? (b) What will the worship of Jehovah God mean for mankind?
58 Jesus Christ was not just imagining something when he called Satan “the ruler of this world.” (John 16:11) The Christian apostle Paul was not just imagining something when he called Satan “the god of this system of things” and said that “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light” and “his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness.” (2 Cor. 4:4; 11:14, 15) There is a real Satan the Devil that needs to be bound and that will be bound and imprisoned. All hail the day when this is done! When Satan and his demons are finally hurled into the abyss out of touch with all mankind, it will mean the end of all false religions and of religious wars, divisions and hatreds, the end of all demonism, witchcraft, voodooism, spiritism, astrology and sorcery. Then the one true, life-giving religion will prevail throughout all the earth. Men will worship the one living and true God, the One whose name, says Psalm 83:18, “is Jehovah.” The benefit of the worship of Jehovah as God is stated by Jesus Christ as follows:
60. (a) In contrast with what Satan’s rule has meant for mankind, what will Christ’s thousand-year rule mean for them? (b) Will the opportunity thus presented be for earthly survivors of these final events, or for whom?
60 The rule of Satan the Devil for millenniums of time has meant sin, death and the descent into the common grave of all mankind till now. The millennial reign of Jesus Christ with the remaining ones of the Seed of God’s “woman” will mean the bruising of the “original serpent” in the head, to his destruction. (Rev. 20:7-10; Gen. 3:14, 15; Rom. 16:20) It signifies the giving to men the opportunity for endless life in happiness under a perfect godly government over an earth transformed at last into a paradise of pleasure for mankind’s everlasting habitation. The precious opportunity for this does not confine itself to God-fearing persons on earth who live through the war of Armageddon and the binding and imprisoning of Satan the Devil and his demons. No, but this grand opportunity takes in all people for whom Jesus Christ was ‘bruised in the heel’ and died as a ransom sacrifice nineteen hundred years ago.—1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Matt. 20:28.
61. (a) How will that be possible? (b) Thus when will the “rest of the dead” finally “come to life,” and how?
61 How will that be possible? Ah, there will be a resurrection of those dead in the common grave. (Acts 24:15) Not all of them at once, but by the end of the thousand years the common grave of mankind will have been emptied of them all. All the obedient ones who pass the decisive test of their devotion to God at the end of the thousand years will get or keep their names written on God’s book of life. Thus they will “come to life” in its perfect fullness at the end of Christ’s thousand-year reign. Those who fail in that final test will be destroyed forever along with Satan and his demons by means of whom God will permit the final test to come upon all inhabitants of the earthly Paradise.—Rev. 20:5, 7-15.
62. How can we pray for the realization of these blessed expectations?
62 What exquisite expectations, therefore, will be realized by mankind after Satan and his demons are bound and imprisoned! Let us pray constantly for the early realization of those blessed expectations by continuing to offer the Lord’s prayer to our heavenly Father: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:9, 10.
a On page 3063, column 2, Volume 2 (edition of 1836) of the comments on the New Testament by Adam Clarke LL.D., as published in London, England, said in a footnote on Revelation 12:9: “That old serpent] The rabbins speak much of this being, sometimes under the notion of יצר הרע yetser hara, the evil principle, and sometimes Sammael.
“He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.] This is very like a saying in the book Bahir, in Sohar Gen., fol. 27, col. 107: ‘And God cast out Sammael and his troops from the place of their holiness.’”
b Quoted from page 363b of Volume 9 of the Cyclopædia by M’Clintock and Strong, under the heading “Satan.”