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In the Revelation it says that Satan was overcome by Salvation, and yet he continues to vex Christians today.

I know that at the great white throne judgment he will be cast into the lake of fire, but it seems that once we give our lives to Christ, and we have through the Grace of God, been plucked out of Satan's hands, that he would no longer have any power to trouble us.

Revelation 12:9-12 KJV And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Since the Christian has already rejected Satan and his ways and been given eternal life through Jesus, why does Satan still have the power to vex us?

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This may be a duplicate of Why hasn't God stopped Satan and his demons?, but the specific problem here - that Satan is already defeated by the Cross and yet is still apparently active - is not present in that question. So I think it is not quite a duplicate. – James T Oct 18 '13 at 17:12
Satan doesn't exist just because God is Love and He has defeated him through Christ’s death and resurrection. – Elberich Schneider Oct 18 '13 at 17:53
@ Elberich Schneider The question here is not about why Satan exists, nor even if he exists. The question is why is he still active against Christians after they are saved. – BYE Oct 18 '13 at 20:03
Ceci., christians speak of "being saved," but all too often don't follow the phrase to its logical reply: "Saved from what? Do you have an answer? – Elberich Schneider Oct 18 '13 at 21:37
@ Elberich Sneider Yes I do:Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. – BYE Oct 18 '13 at 22:33

4 Answers 4

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One of the theological problems that has plagued theologians and Christians generally throughout the church age is theodicy.

At the heart of theodicy is an apparent contradiction. On the one hand you have an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, and holy God, whose purpose concerning humankind is to redeem a people for His glory. This people, composed of members of every ethnic group in the world, will one day bear the image of God's well beloved Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

On the other hand you have a powerful, cunning, hate-filled, unholy spiritual being, originally created sinless by God, but who allowed pride to enter his heart and rebelled against God's authority. It is Lucifer, a fallen angel, who is responsible not only for introducing sin into the universe but also for much of the misery on planet Earth. His goal is to usurp God's Lordship in the universe and to dethrone God. His modus operandi is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10); in short, to do everything within his finite, though awesome, power, and for his own glory and honor, to defeat the works of God. As Martin Luther said,

"His craft and power are great, And armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal" (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God).

How, then, can we reconcile these two seemingly irreconcilable truths? Can they in fact be reconciled? I suggest the greatest existential problem which has confronted humankind from the Garden of Eden to today has in its solution the answer to these difficult and vexing questions.

There are three phrases which together can frame an answer to your question about the seemingly unnecessary protraction of Satan's diabolical activities. Each phrase begins with the letter C, and they are:

  • the C osmic war
  • the C ross of Christ
  • the C hurch of God

The cosmic war between God and Satan, which rages on planet Earth, the focal point and stage for this epic struggle between good and evil will ultimately be won by God. As you pointed out in your question, God's Salvation is in one sense a fait accompli, but more on that in the next point.

God has not been silent since Satan first challenged His power in the rebellion he instigated in heaven. In the counsels of eternity God had a plan, and when God has a plan, no one and nothing can prevent that plan from coming to fruition. Victory is assured, but on God's terms, not ours.

If we human beings and not God were all-powerful and in charge of the universe, we probably would have thought it wise to destroy Satan and his angels from the get-go, annihilating him and his cohorts by fiat, thus sparing humankind from the ravages of sin and death. I know that's how I would have done things!

Thank God, however, we are not God! Our point of view is finite and flawed; God's point of view and plan are infinitely wise in both conception and implementation. Moreover, not one of His attributes is compromised in any way as He brings His plan for the ages to fruition.

What if God were to have annihilated Satan the very moment pride entered Lucifer's heart? After all, He is all-powerful, is He not? Yes, of course. God is much more than the possessor of awesome power, however, and He most definitely is not a cosmic bully who zaps His enemies the very moment they begin to rebel. God created sentient beings in the first place (angels first and then humankind) so they could enter into relationship with Him by their own choice. He gave us all the ability to make decisions. The prohibition God gave to our first parents would not make sense otherwise. Why tell someone not to do something if they cannot do otherwise? That's not freedom; that's something altogether different.

In other words, God is all about relationships. He did not create angels and human beings because He needed them; He did so in love, so they would have the privilege of glorifying and enjoying Him forever. God also takes delight in His creatures, especially when they willingly and wholeheartedly love, worship, serve, and adore Him.

Furthermore, God's delight in us extends to every child of His, each one of whom is unique and has something uniquely special to offer God. That is true not only here on earth, but it will be especially true in heaven, where we will be distracted neither in our worship of God nor in our service for God.

We must not take lightly the radical freedom we have on earth to choose to obey or disobey God. How we exercise that freedom determines our eternal destiny, and God desires that as many people as possible join His forever-family. Sin, however, prevents this from happening. Since we all are fallen creatures in need of God's forgiveness and cleansing, God provided a way whereby He could justly and righteously put away the sin that separates us from Him. He did so by making the greatest sacrifice possible: by giving us His well beloved Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The cross of Christ, then, was the means whereby holy God could atone for our sins, thus turning aside His righteous anger from us and onto Christ, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

"For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings" (Hebrews 2:10 NAS).

The cross of Christ, then, was fallen humanity's only hope. The "perfection" of which the writer to the Hebrews speaks is not sinless perfection but "a fitness for the fulfilling of the office assigned to Him" (see Everett F. Harrison in “The Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews,” Bibliotheca Sacra 121:484, October-December 1964:338). In other words, Jesus was the high priest who offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin, once and for all, and through the unimaginable suffering He endured in being crucified, we have been redeemed--set free--through His shed blood.

At the cross, Jesus wrestled with Satan and won. Satan indeed had bruised Jesus' heel, but Jesus had dealt Satan a death blow (see Genesis 3:15), which brings us to the final phrase.

The Church of God is a living organism composed of believers in Jesus, each one of whom has placed his or her faith in Him and received Him into their lives as Savior and Lord. Through the Church of God, the Body of Christ, God demonstrates to the world and to Satan and his minions that God will prevail, but only after the church universal is complete and the last "living stone" is added to the superstructure of which Christ is the chief cornerstone (see 1 Peter 2:4-8).

After the church is gathered up to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17), the earth will undergo a cataclysm unlike any other it has experienced since the beginning of time. Through the events of the Great Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon spoken of in Revelation, the earth as we know it will be destroyed; Satan, the archenemy of God and of His saints, will be cast forever into the lake of fire, along with his minions; and the unbelieving portion of humanity who refused to repent of their sins will along with Satan be cast into the lake of fire. God will then usher in a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells forever (see Revelation 20:7-21:8).

In the meantime, the church of God has to endure much suffering. If our God and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, the pioneer of our salvation had to be perfected through suffering--and he had committed no sin, can we as His redeemed people, whose sins were nailed to His cross, expect any less (see Colossians 2:14)? Suffering is hard, but for those who endure it there are great rewards: patience, endurance or perseverance, proven character, God's comfort to us and through us to others, and hope, because as Paul points out,

"and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:3-5).

In conclusion, God allows Satan to remain on the scene today, for a time, because God's timetable, though fixed, cannot be rushed. Furthermore, God's forbearance and patience are not to be construed as slackness. As Peter said,

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish , but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9 KJV).

While for a time God will allow Satan to do his best to make life difficult for us, we can take comfort in Martin Luther's great hymn:

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth; The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth: Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.

Another hymn which underscores the importance of endurance in running the race set before us, is Isaac Watt's "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?":

Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb, And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease, While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood? Is this vile world a friend to grace, To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign; Increase my courage, Lord. I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war Shall conquer, though they die; They see the triumph from afar, By faith’s discerning eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise, And all Thy armies shine In robes of victory through the skies, The glory shall be Thine.

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That answer; though I agree with every concept and believe with all my heart that they are true, brings up several more questions. I will not pose them here but if you care to would be happy to converse further in a chat. – BYE Oct 21 '13 at 14:21
@CecilBeckum: Thanks for your encouragement. I'm not that familiar with the whole chat process, but if you'd like to email me the questions that my answer triggered in your mind, feel free: Don – rhetorician Oct 26 '13 at 14:23

Satan is allowed to test us for our faith and maturing in the spiritual journey with Christ.following and doing as He did on earth requires the Lord help as we can do nothing without Him.the process of redemption started from Genesis and will end with the revelation/unveiling of Christ to the world when He returns to earth setting up His kingdom.Satan is defeated but he is not contained for the purpose of our faith and the final display of Gods Glory with Christ rules from His throne of David in jerusalem. Satan is also allowed only under Gods control to test our walks with Christ it is easy to be all talk but are we willing to walk those foot paths of Christ this show love that is willing to go all the way as Christ went all the way.Satan's defeat means 3. Things: 1. The title deed of the earth that Adam forfeited through sin to Satan who has then the kingdoms of the world as prince of the air was stripped of that title before all the angels in heaven, principalities, powers and rules etc., @ the cross.2. The power Satan had now over the human race through sin was defeated @ the cross, for sin shall not have dominion over us any longer and we are no longer captive at his will, notice his will! Not Adams or mankind's will. 3. Satan was the angel over the throne of heaven and the throne had to be cleansed in heaven by God himself and reclaimed in victory over death into life was more than eternal redemption for the defilement not only of the throne of God by this offence, but defilement of the earth which God created and the human race He created in His own image, it was so large on a scale we could never really grasp that what Satan did affected everything in creation including things in heaven.this is why there will be a new heaven and a new earth because when God is finished there will be no traces of this satanic defiling sin,when God make us clean everywit He makes all things clean including heaven by His blood everything that God created for his image is cleansed. But Satan or angels were never of HIS IMAGE. subjected to eternal death no redemption possibility ever because they were never really any part of God himself, Satan is being used for Gods victorious glory of the cross of Himself in the person of His only Son, Yeshua/Jesus.

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Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Please see What this site is about and How this site is different to help you learn how the site works. Also see the help center and take the tour to learn the site functions. I hope to see you post again soon. – fredsbend Feb 4 at 17:09

The Revelation is to be understood as a vision of the end times, including the final judgment. This will be after the Millennium. Satan is still loose; he will be "bound" during the Millennium.

  • since the Christian has already rejected Satan and his ways and has been given eternal life through Jesus ...

There's a bit of an overstatement in your assumption. We do have salvation and immortality through Jesus Christ. However, we do not have "eternal life" as you put it, and will not have it until after the final judgment. In the here and now, we are subject to Satan's temptation, so that we can learn to choose between good and evil. Thus we work out our salvation, continuing to learn as we continually resist Satan's temptations (or not).

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To answer this question the Sanctuary system must be examined. From the sanctuary service the following questions must be answered:

  1. What was "finished" at the cross?
  2. What is Jesus doing now?

The earthly sanctuary is a miniature model of the Sanctuary in heaven -

Exodus 25:40: And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

In the earthly sanctuary 2 types of services were carried out:

  1. The Daily Sacrifices - This is the normal sanctuary service where a sinner brings a lamb as an atonement for his/her sin and it was slain and the blood was sprinkled on the veil that separates the holy place from the most holy place - and the atonement was complete
  2. The Yearly Sacrifices - There are 7 yearly festivals - Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, The First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacle .

Among these yearly sacrifices, the Day of Atonement is intimately linked with permanent removal of sin.

What was "Finished" at the cross?

At the cross, the victim, the Lamb of God was slain - this is universally accepted by the christians. This is just the first part of the work of salvation.

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. Hebrews 7:27

So Jesus died as man's substitute taking the role of the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world"

What is Jesus doing now?

Continuing the illustration, the Author of the book of Hebrews further asserts:

A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man... For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Hebrews 8:2, 4-6

So Jesus, on going to heaven started the work of mediation for the sinners. In the Old testament times before the blood of Jesus was shed, pardon for sin was offered on the hope of mediation by Christ.

But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:24-25

So this represents the daily sacrifices that was offered in the sanctuary.

The Scape goat, which represents Satan, comes into picture in the Day of Atonement. On this day, all the sins of the people which have been pardoned would be transferred from the records of the sanctuary (in the heavenly sanctuary sanctuary there is a record, though in the earthly sanctuary there was none) to the Scape Goat through the blood of the Lord's Goat. The Lord's Goat is Jesus Christ. So at the end of the Day of Atonement through the blood of Jesus, all the sins of God's people which are pardoned will be transferred to Satan.

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened... I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14

As you can see from the passages above that Jesus receives the Kingdom only when the Judgement concludes. This is why Satan still has dominion over this earth. Because the Judgement is not yet over.

God's people suffer in this earth till Judgement is over.

Daniel 7:21 - 22: I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

When this work is finished, Jesus says "It is done":

Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Further Study

I recommend the book of revelation:

The various articles of the sanctuary are portrayed all over Revelation. The seven candle sticks, the alter of incense, the censor, the ark of covenant, etc...

Hope this helped, may God help you in your endeavors to understand the book of Revelation more.

Note: All the emphasis on the Scriptures were added for illustration by me.

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Your answer is good but has some errors in it. The Sanctuary is not the same as God had Moses build. What God directed Moses was to build a tent using very specific things, while the Temple is a building and cannot be a copy of the one in Heaven. As far as Jesus getting the Kingdom of Heaven that is the marriage of the Lamb, which is described as the marriage supper of the Lamb. Until the Judgment the Kingdom belongs to God, but after the judgment and God's wrath is vented he gives the sanctified to Jesus the Christ as a bride (or as a reward for his obedience and sacrifice.) – BYE Feb 6 at 13:39

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