The binding of Satan in Revelation 20 has always been a major issue of debate between premillennialists and amillennialists.  Premillennialists, like me, insist on the chronological nature of chapters 19-20. So the second coming of Christ in Revelation 19 precedes the 1000 years of Revelation 20.  Amillennialists, many of them following the Augustinian recapitulation view of the literary structure of the book of Revelation, argue that Revelation 20 begins over again with a discussion of the present age.  Hence, the 1000 years (as an indefinite period of time) describes the present or Church age.  This means that the binding of Satan described in Revelation 20 is happening now at the present time.

Consequently, there is a debate between premillennialists and amillennialists over the activity of Satan during the present time.  For example, in the excellent book (in my view) Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams, he honestly affirms that, because he is an amillennialist, he does not recognize demon possession when he counsels people.  Now, his views as well as others, always get qualified in later writings or expressions, but the sentiment is generally a limitation of Satan’s activity in the present age.

The overall thrust of amillennial presentations tend to try to identify what the scope of the binding of Satan happens to be.  Revelation 20:3 asserts that Satan is bound “so that he should not deceive the nations any longer.”  Amillennialists will often say that Satan is active against church believers today (e.g., 1 Peter 5:8), but that the devil has limitations in deceiving unbelievers or the nations.  Premillennialists often respond by pointing out examples such as Acts 13:8-10 where Paul encounters Elymas the magician.  Elymas apparently is deceived as an unbeliever.  Indeed, in 2 Cor. 4:3-4 Satan appears to be the one blinding or deceiving the minds of unbelievers relative to Christ.

Even amillennialist Sam Storms mentions 2 Cor. 4:4 as a passage that seems to assert some demonic force in the world at the present time (Kingdom Come, p. 271).  However, later Storms notes:   “In other words, it is the influence of the Church, as a result of the universal preaching of the gospel, which inhibits the activity of Satan in this particular regard.  Though Satan still blinds the minds of the unbelieving (2 Cor. 4:4), he is providentially restricted from hindering the pervasive expansion of the gospel throughout the world.  Satan may win an occasional battle, but the war belongs to Christ! (Kingdom Come, p. 442).

However, this kind of reasoning will never satisfy the premillennialist.  Revelation 20 says that Satan does no deceiving at all during the 1000 years.  Allowing him to still blind the minds of unbelievers in the nations seems to be a contradiction.  Revelation 20 seems to assert a total absence of Satan deceiving the nations.  Storms’ presentation seems to be an attempt to have his cake and eat it too — a kind of halfway position that allows him to go any direction.  The text in Revelation 20 is stronger than he wants.  Premillennialists will forever remain unconvinced of his logic.  Satan cannot win an occasional battle while not deceiving the nations any longer.