Have you considered what the world would be like if Satan was dead? While the Scriptural pursuit of answering this question is pretty interesting, addressing it becomes vital since there are some in the “Church of Christ” today that claim Satan is dead and no longer active today.

One case is with the preterist’s vast “other gospel” teachings. But regarding this single teaching, let’s consider what Scripture concludes if Satan was dead.

How Scripture answers "What would it mean if Satan was dead?"

If Satan was dead, then all evil1,2,4,5,7,8,9,10,12, suffering6, and false teaching13 would be gone as well. Since Satan is repeatedly called out in Scripture as the root cause of it all4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13, then this must be the logical conclusion if Satan was dead. Think about it…

  • If the “father of lies”9 is dead, then there can be no lies or false teaching13…only truth.
  • If Satan was dead, then there are no “schemes of the devil” for the Christian to fight against and therefore, no need to put on the “armor of God”7.
  • If Satan was dead, there is no hope for correction and no one to whom those straying would be turned over to11,12…so no “wrong” path to take.
  • If Satan was dead, then all of the New Testament’s heeding to persevere — from Jesus2,4,9, Paul7,8,11, Peter6, and others — since it’s no longer relevant for today’s Christians.

No, Satan is not dead…yet. Rather, it’s just as John’s vision shows3. There is a time when the “ruler of this world”1,2,4,5 suffers the second death with his followers. When that happens, the void created by the absence of persecution6, evil7, lies9, deception10, false teachers8, death2 — collectively, sin — will be filled by the revelation of His glory6 and God’s dwelling with the saved in “a new heaven and a new earth”3.

This is just another forced and very foolish conclusion from the careless false teaching of preterism. Forced because it’s the only conclusion that can be if you’ve decided that Jesus has already returned (the non-biblical practice of scripture-weighting). Foolish because it fails to scrutinize very plain teaching1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11. Careless because it lulls a Christian into a false sense of security…the exact goal of…you guessed it – Satan. In this respect, Preterist preachers are described perfectly by Paul8,13. Don’t be lulled and ignore what literally every letter written from Romans to Revelation is imploring their readers – be careful to not fall from grace.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”

Satan took Jesus up to show all of man’s kingdoms in just a moment, telling Him that he would give him the glory and authority over them — for it was Satan’s to give — if He would worship him.
Right after his baptism (3:21-22) and just before his public ministry begins, Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness. This is the second of three temptations.

  1. 4:3-4 – Satan attacks His physical state of hunger / Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3.
  2. 4:5-7 – Satan attacks His pride/ego / Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13.
  3. 4:9-10 – Satan attacks His authority by also quoting Scripture (Psalms 91:11-12) / Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:16.

Matthew (4:1-11) also records the details of this event. Mark only briefly mentions the fact that Jesus was in the wilderness “being tempted by Satan”.

Scripture-block application to this question

Satan affirms that all authority of the “kingdoms of the world” was his.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Importantly, Jesus does not contest this fact. Rather, He quotes Scripture affirming that God alone is to be worshipped (vs 8).

I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

I [Jesus] know that you [the church meeting in Pergamum] dwell where Satan has his throne [the world]. Nevertheless, you continue to confess Me before all and don’t deny your faith, even when Antipas was martyred where Satan dwells.

A letter to the church at Pergamum, the third of seven letters written to the seven churches of Asia from Jesus.

Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus notes that the world is “where Satan’s throne is” and where he “dwells”1.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Jesus is writing them to encourage them to remain faithful in spite of being opposed by Satan.

And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The armies of Satan marched over the earth and surrounded the saints and the city of God, but fire came from heaven and consumed them. Satan, who had deceived those armies, was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and false prophet had already been thrown and where they would be tormented for eternity.

The book of Revelation is what John saw and was told to write down (1:1-2). Using “in the Spirit” as a structural marker, the book can be sectioned into four visions in particular:

  • Vision One (1:9-3:22) – Jesus speaking to the seven churches
  • Vision Two (4:1-16:21) – Seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls of wrath; “one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls” introduces the last two (and therefore possibly connected):
    • Vision Three (17:1-21:8) – Babylon the Harlot
    • Vision Four (21:9-22:5) – Jerusalem the Bride

In chapter 17, we begin to see judgment for “the prostitute” and the city “Babylon the great” and the “marriage supper of the Lamb” in heaven. In chapter 20, several images or statements are presented that occur only in this chapter of Revelation (listed below). The clear and final defeat of Satan in 20 follows with the ultimate and glorious victory of God in 21 and final warnings and a call to return in 22.

The exclusive terms and concepts of Revelation chapter 20:

  • the “thousand years” of Satan chained (vss 2-3, 7) and saints reigning with Christ (vss 4-6),
  • the “first resurrection” (vss 5-6),
  • the “second death” (vs 6, 14),
  • the “great white throne” (v 11)
Scripture-block application to this question

Satan is finally defeated for good, suffering the second death along with all his followers.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

What John witnesses in these verses – Satan’s death – is immediately preceded by all of his followers, led representatively by the “beast and the false prophet”, already having suffered this final death (19:17-21). The scene continues with John witnessing the final judgment of all mankind (vss 11-15) and “a new heaven and a new earth” replacing creation and God, the Father, dwelling there where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (21:1-4). 

And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
I am [Jesus] divulging these things before they take place so they will believe when you witness them. I can’t talk with you much long for the ruler of this world [Satan] is coming. He has no authority over Me, but I obey my Father in what He’s commanded Me so that the world will know I love the Father. Rise and let us leave this place.

This entire section of Scripture (John 13-17) is Jesus in the upper room with the twelve apostles. He is speaking to them directly and giving them instruction about his coming death and what will follow.

Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus asserts that the time for Satan to have dominion over the earth is coming. However, He also makes it clear that while Satan will have dominion, the authority of the Son of God isn’t affected. In other words, it is only by the permissiveness of God that Satan can be “the ruler of this world”.

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

When He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will make clear for all the line between sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin because many/most do not believe in Me [the Son]; concerning righteousness because I will no longer be here; concerning judgment because Satan already stands accused.

This entire section of Scripture (John 13-17) is Jesus in the upper room with the twelve apostles. He speaks to them directly and gives them instructions about his coming death and what will follow.

Here He is emphasizing the advantage of His departure to allow the coming of the “Helper” (e.g. Holy Spirit – 14:26 & 15:26), later referred to also as the “Spirit of truth” (vs 13).

Scripture-block application to this question

Once again4, Jesus names Satan as “the ruler of this world”, coinciding with His departure and replacement with the Holy Spirit. Satan stands accused (“judged”) of all that is opposed to righteousness.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Brethren, don’t be caught off guard when extreme trials come upon you in order to test you.  It’s not strange but to be expected.  You should rejoice since you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings, and so rejoice when He returns in glory.

Peter’s first letter to the “elect exiles” (brethren) who were faced with “various trials” (1:6). He wrote to strengthen and encourage them.

Scripture-block application to this question

Peter qualifies a Christian’s suffering and trials as certain…but only until the second coming of Christ (e.g. “when His glory is revealed”).

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Peter will specifically relate the Christian’s suffering and trials to Satan when he tells them, “Be sober-minded; watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (5:8)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His power. Wear all of God’s armor so that you can stand against all of Satan’s devices. Because we’re not at war against other people, but against spiritual forces that have power over the present darkness and evil in the heavenly places.

Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus gives encouragement and instruction.  He has just instructed on household relationships and speaks specifically to wives (5:22-24), to husbands (5:25-33, 6:4), to children (6:1-3), and finally to the master-servant relationship (6:5-9).

Scripture-block application to this question

Paul writes that Christians (“we”) are not at war with things seen but things unseen. Specifically, “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” that are sourced by/through “the schemes of the devil”. It is the sole purpose of taking up God’s armor.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Paul unequivocally sources all of this to be from Satan when he concludes just a few verses later, “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one”. (vs 16).

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

It’s no surprise that Satan’s servants masquerade as God’s servants, since Satan himself pretends to be an angel of light.  In the end, they will all be judged by their deeds.

In his second letter to the young church in Corinth, Paul must defend his apostleship against what he calls “super-apostles” – false teachers discrediting the gospel message and Paul’s authority.

Scripture-block application to this question

Satan disguises himself as righteous, and his servants do the same.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

In this context, the servants of Satan are actually “false apostles” and “deceitful workmen” (vs 13).

Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Why don’t you [crowd of Jews/Pharisees] understand what I [Jesus] am saying? It’s because you cannot bear it. You are of your father, Satan, and you want to do his will. From the beginning, he kills and opposes truth because there’s no truth in him. He can only lie since that’s his character; he is a lier and the father of lies.

Jesus is teaching in the temple while being challenged by the Pharisees (vss 13, 19).
Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus makes it clear that the source of lies (e.g. anything that’s not truth) is Satan. Those who refuse to hear/obey the truth are Satan’s children.

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

The lawless one’s coming is thanks to Satan’s wicked deception and activity demonstrated with power and false signs.  His followers are perishing since they refuse to love the truth, which would save them.

Paul’s second letter to the church at Thessalonica sometime before for the First Jewish-Roman War when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed.  He is assuring them that “the day of the Lord” has not come yet (vs 2), and won’t before two things happen: “the rebellion” and the revealing of the “man of lawlessness” (vs 3).

More broadly, the Thessalonians in particular were being told by false teachers that Jesus had already returned and were afraid that they had somehow missed it and that those Christians they knew that had died would not be raised anew (1 Th 4:13ff).

Scripture-block application to this question

The “lawless one”, whoever it was or might be, is fueled by Satan. Anyone persuaded by the lawless one (e.g. Satan) refuses to “love the truth”, which is exactly what Jesus said9.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

This charge [of preaching God’s word] I [Paul] am entrusting to you, Timothy. According to what was prophesied about you, that by them you will continue to fight the righteous battle and hold firm to your faith and good conscience. Rejecting these has shipwrecked the faith of others, including Hymenaeus and Alexander, who I turned over to Satan in the hopes they will learn and turn from their error.

Paul’s instructions to the young preacher Timothy, ending chapter 1 with two named individuals who were engaged in false teaching and as a result made a “shipwreck of their faith” and have been “handed over to Satan to learn…”.

Scripture-block application to this question

Satan is the adversary to whom those who are engaged in wrongdoing (in this case, Hymenaeus and Alexander) would be “handed over” for there to be any hope of correction.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Later in chapter 5, Paul notes that others have “strayed after Satan” (5:15).

When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
When assembled together in Jesus’ name together with my spirit, by the authority of our Lord Jesus, you are to turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the final day of the Lord.

Paul is correcting the Corinth church on how to deal with a brother/member that is actively engaging in public sin.

Scripture-block application to this question

Satan is the adversary to whom those who are engaged in wrongdoing (in this case, the member in Corinth) would be “handed over” for any hope of correction.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

A follower of God must not be kind to all and not argumentative. They also must be able to patiently teach others and gently correct them while enduring their evil. It will still be by God’s grace and mercy that their opponent turns and accepts the truth they taught by coming to their senses and escaping Satan’s snare to do his will.

Paul’s instruction to Timothy regarding a young preacher’s behavior.

Scripture-block application to this question

Those who teach falsely are enticed (e.g. “captured”) by Satan and are doing his will.

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