I had a discussion with a non believer today and he said he believes Satan is on the earth today having been cast to earth when he rebelled. I tried to explain that Satan will be cast to earth at the beginning of the great tribulation but was unable to explain why I thought he abides in the heavenly realm right now and is not permanently present on earth . Can you give me an easy explanation for this?
The first thing you should ask yourself is why an unbeliever cares one way or the other about where Satan is. But aside from that, since Rev. 12 takes place just before the Great Tribulation begins on Earth, and since Satan is “hurled to Earth” at that time, having “lost his place in Heaven” (Rev. 12:8-9) it makes sense that he will have previously had the ability to visit there. His purpose in doing so is to make sure God knows about all our sins.
Satan is called the prince of this world (John 12:31) and the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4). The whole world is under his control (1 John 5:19) but his power is temporarily being restrained by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church (2 Thes. 2:6-7). But for now it’s not a case of him being one place of the other. He has access to both.