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
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 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
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 11:29

6 Answers 6


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.

  • 1
    Very helpful answer, thank you!! Commented Jul 25, 2021 at 21:26

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
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 11:16

"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
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 8:21

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.


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.


This "prince of this world" in John 12:31 is not describing that historical event in Rev. 12:7-11 concerning the battle of the angels. Jesus here is clearly referring to something that was just about to happen soon--very soon--within hours. He is speaking about a contrary "prince" as revealed in John 14:30:

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

Jesus knew the disciples that He he had chosen. Three years before the prince of this world was cast out, John 6:64 had revealed:

But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

Matthew 13:34-35 points out exactly how Jesus handled "unbelieving" Judas' listening to His words right alongside the "believing" disciples.

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Jesus kept those secret things away from Judas' understanding by those parables so as to preserve his entire purpose on earth. Jesus was required to be put to death by the "princes of this world" in accordance with the words of the prophets, as we see in 1 Cor. 2:7-8::

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Yet, the disciples were taught the truth of those mysteries while, at the same time, their meanings were kept secret from the unbelievers, as we see in Luke 8:10:

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

So, the matter as to just who the identity of the prince of this world actually is must include the matters of Jesus' prayer to the Father in John 12:27-29:

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

Notice that after the above "glorifying", there is to be another glorifying "again". The Question is, "WHEN?" In the very next three verses Jesus distinguishes Himself from that prince who was to be cast out":

…. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Continuing to read on in this important narrative of history, no one is cast out until John 13:18-32 which points the finger right at Judas:

….. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

THEREFORE, in John 13:31-32, only after Judas was cast out, did that additional "glorifying again" take place as promised:

Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

In John 14:30-31 Jesus explained that He had an urgent message for the believing disciples with not much time to explain BECAUSE that prince who had just been CAST OUT was now COMING to a certain place he described as "hence."

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

Jesus effectively said, "listen up, pay attention to my words", Get up and let us go to that "hence" where he is coming to. In John 16:25-29, during the time that they were "going", and after three years of speaking to them in parables while Judas was in earshot among them, Jesus abruptly stopped speaking in parables:

… These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father…. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb….

Notice that starting immediately after Jesus said, Arise, "let us go hence", while He spoke plainly as they walked in chapter 14, right on through John 17:26, no man "cometh" and no geographic location of that "hence" is mentioned. Then, finally, John 18:1-3 names that "hence" location as well as that "prince who is coming,"

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Judas is one and the same as Judas in Acts 1:15-20:

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

As was referenced by Acts, chapter one, Psalms 109 identifies Judas was that "wicked", who, along with the distinctly and separately referenced "deceitful" Satan, both shunned God's love. Both of these had a "mouth." Judas is the false prophet and prince of this world who will someday rule, having a second "wicked man"--a beastly Gentile ruler--set over him, with Satan at his right hand. Judas, who had the bag while with Christ, will once again hold the purse strings for the buying and selling of all men, rich and poor, bond and free, This portion in Psalm 109 provides strong reason to believe that the mouth of the deceitful belongs to “that old deceiver, called Satan,” that the mouth of the “wicked” belongs to this wicked—Judas—and that another “wicked man”—that Gentile little horn of Daniel—-is to be set over this wicked Judas, while Satan will be standing at his right hand. This is the same threesome of Revelation 16:13—each one of the three having a mouth:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Isaiah, chapter 14 depicts Lucifer as being a man, not an angel. Lucifer is that "abominable branch" (Isaiah 14:15-18) "son" of perdition whereas Jesus is that "righteous Branch" (Jer. 25:5-6), "Son of David" (Isa. 11:1) whose name is the "righteous Branch" (Jer. 25:36). Trees are a type of mankind--of the earth--earthy--. Lucifer, the man, is further described as a feller--a lumberjack who fells trees. The famous scripture relevant to this man is in Isaiah 14:12-14:

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! 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: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

This is merely a chiding from men who Lucifer had previously cut down like trees. Like "look at old big-mouth" down here with us. Lucifer never was above all that is called heaven. Neither was he in heaven. Both Lucifer and Judas are now Dead. Since it is appointed unto man once to die, then afterward the judgment, Lucifer (probably Titus) and the false prophet (probably Judas) having already died, will soon be resurrected, be defeated by the Messiah King of Kings, then cast alive--as resurrected men--into the lake of fire. No man could withstand that fire without being resurrected to do so. Since Satan is not a man, he will not be cast into the lake of fire at the same time as the two resurrected men. His judgment will come at the end of Christs thousand year reign.

Taken from parts of my paper, The Days of These Kings https://circumspectnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/The-Days-of-These-Kings.pdf

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