The Spirit has revealed that there will be a binding of Satan for a thousand years that will take place:
Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Some believers assert that this binding has already happened. One person with whom I recently interacted said that this binding happened when Jesus sent out the seventy (cf. Luke 10:17-20).
A close examination of Revelation 20:2-3, however, shows that it is false to hold that Satan has already been bound in the way spoken of in this passage.
Shut Up and Sealed in the Bottomless Pit
Revelation 20:2-3 expressly states that Satan will be bound for a thousand years in a bottomless pit, shut up in it, and have set a seal upon him during the time that he is in that pit.
The text is very plain that Satan will not be free to do anything on the earth during this time. To assert otherwise is to make a mockery of the text’s saying that he will be shut up and sealed in that pit.
Furthermore, many NT passages speak explicitly of Satanic activity in the world during the entire lifetimes of the Apostles, as recorded in Scripture. A right handling of these passages shows that the binding of Satan revealed in Revelation 20:1-3 could not have taken place and did not take place at any time prior to the writing of the book of Revelation.
1 Peter 5:8
For example, Peter taught that the devil was freely walking about on the earth seeking people to devour:
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
It is nonsensical to say that the devil was bound in the specific manner spoken of in Revelation 20:1-3 at the time that 1 Peter 5:8 was inspired by the Spirit.
Comparing 1 Peter 5:8 with two texts in Job further confirms that there had not been any change in Satan’s freedom to roam around on the earth from the time of Job to the time 1 Peter was written:
Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Job 2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Both in Job’s day and at the time First Peter was written, Satan was freely walking about on the earth. He was not bound, shut up, and sealed in a bottomless pit when Peter wrote First Peter.
Moreover, the glorified Christ directed the apostle John to write seven letters to seven churches late in the first century AD (Rev. 2-3). In 2 of those letters, Christ Himself revealed the active workings of Satan at the very time those letters were written:
Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Here, Christ talks about the devil’s direct attacks on believers in the church at Thyatira. Satan certainly was not bound, shut up, and sealed in the bottomless pit at that time.
Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
Here, Christ talked about Satan’s seat being in Pergamos and his dwelling there. Obviously, because Satan was dwelling there, he certainly was not at that time bound, shut up, and sealed in the bottomless pit.
It is a faulty handling of Scripture to say that the NT supports holding that the binding of Satan spoken of in Revelation 20 has already taken place. It has not taken place!