What is the meaning of Satan being "cast out" in the following verse?

John 12:31 (KJV)
31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out (ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω).

From what was Satan to cast outside (ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω)? If he was cast outside (taken away), then how was he able to enter into Judas later (Luke 22:3), much less requesting permission to assay Peter "like wheat" at some subsequent time (Luke 22:31)?

At the end of the Christian New Testament we find another reference to Satan and his being "cast out."

Revelation 12:9 (KJV)
9 And the great dragon was cast out (ἐβλήθη), that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth (ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν), and his angels were cast out with him.

Here he is not being cast outside (ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω), but cast out (ἐβλήθη); that is, he is cast out to the earth (εἰς τὴν γῆν).

Does this verse here in Revelation, which mentions the καὶ ἐβλήθη...ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν (cast out...cast out to the earth) have any contextual or historical relationship to the verse found in the Gospel of John "ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω" (will be cast out)?

Is this all future, or was all this in the past?

In other words, what is the hermeneutical (contextual and historical) relationship between the verse in John and the verse in Revelation?

  • Good Question, and one that deserves a good answer. I would like to answer it, when I find the necessary time. Short Answer: Satan is neither Omnipotent, Omniscient, nor Omnipresent. But he is a spirit being, so those that would contend with him must operate in the Spirit. Since our warfare is not "flesh and blood"(Eph. 6), it's important to understand 1) Who we are in Christ, and 2) What we can do to him(under this dispensation). To say he is 'bound' when he roams as a roaring lion is a mistake, just as much as saying we are powerless to prevent his attacks. – Tau Aug 9 '14 at 8:33
  • I'm of the opinion that the various statements about the Satan and the coup of the Christ are irreconcilably varied. They are unified by the idea that Jesus beats the Satan but "the Devil is in the details" which are inconsistent with one another. Luke even puts the fall of Satan to have occurred during the ministry of the disciples: "Luk 10:17 And the seventy turned back with joy, saying, Sir, and the demons are being subjected to us in thy name;' Luk 10:18 and he said to them, I was beholding the Adversary, as lightning from the heaven having fallen; " – user10231 Oct 16 '16 at 11:29

I like how Matthew Henry's commentary identifies John 12:31 as Christ saying this statement in a triumphant manner.

Now is the judgment. He speaks with a divine exultation and triumph. “Now the year of my redeemed is come, and the time prefixed for breaking the serpent's head, and giving a total rent to the powers of darkness; now for that glorious achievement: now, now, that great work is to be done which has been so long thought of in the divine counsels, so long talked of in the written word, which has been so much the hope of saints and the dread of devils.

I do believe that John 12:31 and Revelation 12:9 speaks of the same thing. The cross of Christ did indeed break the head of the serpent. Jesus' death was the death that caused the "death of death". His resurrection proved Satan's death dominion on earth was destroyed. And the long awaited reign of King Jesus had arrived (Matt 3:2). Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 speak of the same subject matter: The casting of Satan from the heavens where he accused the saints (see Job 1), and the binding of Satan from halting the proclamation of the gospel (Rev. 12 describes this is in detail).

Since the cross, Satan's domain has been overthrown, and the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus, and His subjects, have been plundering Satan's kingdom (Matt 12:29). Paul put it this way:

Why he said, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. Eph 4:8

This verse paints a picture of Christ's triumphant victory over Satan and death, and the plundering of Satan's kingdom that resulted. Some say, especially dispensationalists, that Satan is now free, and to say he is cast out and bound is foolishness. They understand this may occur during a future millennial kingdom. I believe this ideology downplays the importance of the cross and its impact on both man and angels. From what we read in Acts to our current day, Satan has attempted to halt Christ's kingdom. But as certain as his future demise, so is the certainty that the gates of death and hell will not prevail against it (Matt 16:18).

Final note: After Jesus Christ expressed the trouble in His soul regarding His approaching passion and death in John 12:27, He expresses His jubilation of glorifying the Father in His death and resurrection. We should note that anytime we read a passage where the Father speaks from heaven, such as in John 12:28, He speaks of the exclusiveness and majesty of His Son.


Tertullian, in Against Marcion, Book 2, Ch. 10 writes,

This description, it is manifest, properly belongs to the transgression of the angel, and not to the prince's: for none among human beings was either born in the paradise of God, not even Adam himself, who was rather translated there; nor placed with a cherub upon God's holy mountain, that is to say, in the heights of heaven, from which the Lord testifies that Satan fell; nor detained among the stones of fire, and the flashing rays of burning constellations, whence Satan was cast down like lightning. Luke 10:18

He uses the text Ezek. 28:16-17,

By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

This passage, along with Isa. 14:12-15,

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit,

indicate that "Lucifer"(Light-Bearer), had already become Satan(Opposer) before Christ's coming to earth. Furthermore, Jesus says in John 8:44,

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.

Therefore, the context of Rev. 12:9, "ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω", is that he was cast out of the realms of Heaven he was allowed access to; clearly there would be no more "Job 1:6" experience. In fact, in Jude 6, and 2 Pet. 2:4, angels that "left their 1st habitation"(Heaven) were chained in darkness until the Day of Judgment, making it clear that Satan was already a defeated foe, and one that could be 'bound', leading Jesus to say in Luke 10:18,

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Therefore, we can say that Rev. 12:9 was fulfilled. In John 12:31, the rest of the world would experience the binding of Satan, through His Death and Resurrection, and outpouring of His Spirit on the Church. This is why He said,(vs 24)

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

The "Binding of Satan" which His disciples did during His earthly ministry, would be extended throughout the earth and every age, in Mark 16:15-17,"

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;

What one must be careful to understand is though he is a defeated foe, he is free to roam around "as a lion, seeking whom he may devour(1 Pet. 5:8)" during this present dispensation. This is why he was able to enter Judas, and sift Peter(Luke 22), and we are to continually wage warfare with him in Eph. 6:11-13,

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

This requires vigilance, " ἐνδύσασθε"(Put on) is not a "once and done", but a continual active sense, requiring diligence. I see nothing in the New Testament that Satan is prevented from stopping the spread of the Gospel, or from resisting believers; in 1 Thess. 2:18, Paul was hindered from visiting the Thessalonians by Satan, and it is well apparent he is the "prince of the power of the air"(Eph. 2:2), who will continue to deceive the nations(Rev. 20:3) until the time of the Lord's return to earth.

In conclusion: 1) Satan was cast out of God's Holy Mountain as "Lucifer" became "Satan". 2) Satan was "cast down" to the earth at the ministry of Jesus, and subsequent ministry of the Church. 3) Satan will be bound in Hell at the return of Jesus,(Rev. 19), be allowed to be released for a little while (Rev. 20:7), then cast in the Lake of Fire for all eternity(vs 10).

  • (-1) for using passages about earthy kings as proof texts for Miltonian concepts of the Satan. Nebuchanezzar was "Lucifer" (Venus/shining one) not the Satan. – user10231 Oct 16 '16 at 11:16

I'll speak briefly to the statement in John, as I have neither the time, energy, or site policy to also tackle the hotly contested apocalypse and theological synthesis. (And I'm pecking away on a smartphone here.)

Jesus is not saying that Satan was now going to be geographically kicked out of "heaven" or the "earth". He was referring to the spiritual victory won at the cross (cf. v.23-33) for mankind (cf. Col. 2:14-15) -- and in a manner of speaking, all creation.

A read through 1 John (or even Romans 5-8 or the Didache) will help in understanding the "two spheres / realms / ways" concept that lays behind statements like this. "The world" is not a place, it is a sphere, and Satan cannot be removed from it any more than Christ could cease to be "in the truth". As for the idea that he was about to be removed to it, that happened long ago, as he became & entered what would later be termed "the world" when he sinned.


"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out" (John 12:31).

"I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me," (John 14;30)

"When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned". (John 16:8,11)

Satan was cast out of heaven at the ascension of Jesus. Jesus became our great intercessor. Satan is no longer able to accuse us before God.

"For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down". (REV.12:10)

  • Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for this excellent contribution. I hope there are many more. – user25930 Nov 5 '18 at 8:21

The Accuser can no longer accuse (as he wanted to do against Job) because the Blood of the Lamb has been shed.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:33

No longer an Accuser accusing day and night; now an Intercessor interceding for us.

Thus Satan was cast out about the time of the crucifixion. I don't think Revelation 12 needs to be read purely literally in terms of chronological order. Jesus' words in John seem to indicate Satan was cast down before the Ascension.

One comment: When Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from the sky" should be read, "I was watching Satan fall like lightning from the sky"; i.e. as His disciples were ministering.

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