Thursday, June 04, 2009

Revelation 20 (Part Three)

The Binding of Satan

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3).

This is the binding of Satan. Notice that all of the language here is metaphorical. Satan is a spirit-being without a physical body. Chains, pits, seals, and keys would have no effect on Satan.

These are metaphorical descriptions of how God limits Satan during the church age. He is prevented from “deceiving the nations,” which is precisely what is described in the book of Acts. The gospel spreads to the nations, the Gentiles.

Thus, the Millennium begins with the binding of Satan, which was accomplished in the first coming of Christ in his death and resurrection. During the church age, Satan is still active, but he is prevented by God from deceiving the nations as a whole.

Reign with Christ

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).

Those who were martyred reign in heaven with Christ during the church age. Although unmentioned here, all Christians participate in this heavenly reign upon their death (cf. 14:13).

The “first death” refers to the fall and the impact of original sin. The “second death” is the punishment of sin (cf. 20:14). The “first resurrection” is salvation, the new birth. The second resurrection would be the final resurrection of our bodies.

Satanic Rebellion

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10).

Between the end of the Millennium and return of Christ, Satan will be released and allowed to deceive the nations one last time. God will crush this rebellion once and for all. No time frame is given for how long this rebellion lasts.

The Final Judgment

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

This is the final resurrection and the final judgment. The wicked are cast into the lake of fire.

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