The Judgment and Defeat of Satan
The explicit purpose of Christ’s coming into this world was to “destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8). With that understanding, we have the assurance that Satan will be driven out (John 12:31). According to Jesus, he already stands condemned (John 16:11). The crucial battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of evil took place in the conflict between Christ and Satan. Satan’s initial defeat came in the wilderness temptation at the beginning of our Lord’s ministry. Because Jesus did not succumb to the Devil’s temptations he was able during his ministry to enter the strong man’s house and plunder his goods (Mark 3:27).
The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ was the decisive defeat of Satan. At the cross, Satan was judged as a usurper and cast out as the legitimate ruler of this world. The cross and the resurrection broke the power of Satan over mankind. The finished work of Christ accomplished three immediate benefits to us. First we were made alive. Second, we were forgiven and third, the powers and authorities were disarmed (Colossians 2:13-15). In so doing, Jesus destroyed “him who holds the power of death-that is the devil” and continues to free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (Hebrew 2:14), and deliver those who put their trust in Christ from Satan’s power.
While judgment has already been pronounced upon him, Satan is still permitted to operate as a usurper until the time of his final imprisonment. As a dethroned monarch, he is still allowed to rule those who accept his authority. But as believers, we don’t have to fear death or Satan. He no longer has authority over us and he can do nothing about our position in Christ. By putting our faith in the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been delivered from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the God (Colossians 1:12). All we have to do is stand firm in our faith.
Jesus asserted that “the eternal fire” had been prepared for “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The book of Revelation portrays the final judgment carried out on the devil. At the return of Christ, the devil will be confined to the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, during which time the earth will be free from his deceptive and destructive influences (Revelation 20:1-3). At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will again deceive the inhabitants of the earth. This final rebellion will be summarily crushed by divine action. According to John’s vision, “the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophets had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelations 20:10). His doom will be to share the eternal punishment of those whom he deceived (Revelations 20:12-14).
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