“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 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.
“4 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. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 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.”
As we rapidly approach the end of the church age, we need to take note not to miss all of the wonderful things that are happening. We humans have a habit of missing the minute details that add to the experience. Even in the political realm, we can see the obvious divisions of the world around us. I had a dear pastor friend make the comment that as far as he is concerned, he votes based on one question: ‘what is the candidate’s stand on abortion?’ Usually, if they have this wrong, then the rest of their thinking is wrong.
Just yesterday, our Prime Minister here in Canada vowed to ‘confront’ the Vice President of the US because of his stand on abortion. Imagine that you vow to confront someone because they support NOT murdering babies. Think of how screwed up we are as a people and how far from God we have gone that we confront someone for NOT being a murderer.
Those of us that are avid students of prophecy can see the ‘writing on the wall.’ The US is cutting its ties to the old Roman Empire, as is England; and soon the elements of the old Roman Empire will stand on its own, ready for the rise of the Anti-Christ. The idea of the ‘sheep and goat’ nations from Matthew 25: 31-46 is growing more and more clear.
There are nations who seek to help and serve the nation of Israel. By the way, as true Christians we should be praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) as much as we can. And, there are nations that despise Israel; and for these, Israel can do nothing right. Even defending herself is evil in their eyes.
The attack on free speech is real, and the idea that there are certain parts of the Bible that need to be changed – or at least edited to change the message so as not to assault the ears of the hearers and cause them any shame or sadness over sins, or cause them to be uncomfortable because of their choices – is so prevalent right now. We have some churches that have stopped addressing sin; they don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable.
The entire Bible is written to make us feel uncomfortable before the Holy Living God, and then to comfort us with the message of His grace and His mercy (see Romans 3:10, 23; Romans 6:23 and Romans 5:8; 10:9-10). The message of the Bible provides godly comfort for the ungodly uncomfortable.
Last week, we looked the wonderful names of Jesus: Faithful and True, as well as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus, what a beautiful name! A name that brings comfort and power, a name that offers love and kindness, a name that reminds us that there is hope.
Today we begin the journey to the end of the Revelation of Jesus. And it begins with a judgment on Satan.
The Bottomless Pit, verses 1-3
The war is over, the Anti-Christ and his cohorts are in the Lake of Fire forever, but Satan is still not yet at the end of his journey. He is bound up by an angel with a golden chain, and he is cast into the bottomless pit. He is there for 1,000 years. This is an important lull for mankind to have from Satan. Let me explain:
We of a certain age can remember a comedian called Flip Wilson. One of his tag lines was ‘the devil made me do it.’ He got a lot of laughs from this line. But the Bible tells us that we are sinners not because we sin, but that we sin because we are sinners. It is in us to sin. We do not need the devil. Let me give you an example that we are all familiar with.
In Matthew 4:1-10, we have the account of Jesus being tempted by Satan. Notice that ALL the temptations came from without. Satan made every suggestion to the Lord about the actions He should take. At no point did Jesus ever have a sinful thought that He had to fight; and in so doing, bring His body into subjection to His mind. He, Jesus, had NO SIN nature. In contrast to this, Jeremiah says this about our human hearts, in chapter 17:9:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
We have evil in us, and we do not need Satan to tempt us to do evil. No one has to teach their kids how to lie, cheat, steal or how to more effectively disobey. Why? Sin is there at birth. It blossoms as they get older; and as adults, we learn to mask our sinful thoughts with good actions. Jesus NEVER had this problem.
During the Millennial time of 1,000 years without Satan, mankind will not be able to blame Satan for any of their sinful behaviors; he will be imprisoned in a bottomless pit and unable to tempt them. Man will have to come face to face with his own evil in contrast to the holiness of Jesus. Even in the Millennial Kingdom with Jesus clearly visible, some men will still reject Him. How do I know that there are some who will reject Jesus? Just read chapter 20:7-10; after the 1,000 years, Satan is able to raise an army of men to wage war against Jesus.
The Millennial Kingdom, verses 4-6
If you took the time to read Isaiah 60-63, you would see the Millennial reign talked about in the Old Testament. If you were to read the first 13 chapters of Matthew, you would see the Messiah showing the nation of Israel that He was there amongst them, ready to be their King and ready to restore their land if they would repent as a nation and accept Him as Lord. Now, while many of the people did accept Jesus, the leaders rejected Him, and the nation crucified Him. (See Isaiah 9:6-7 – the government will be on His shoulders.) Their rejection began a descent that has taken the better part of 2,000 years and will culminate with them accepting a ‘false messiah,’ the Anti-Christ, and trusting in a man and not God.
But one day soon, the day that Jesus splits the sky open with the armies of Heaven, the nation of Israel will see their Messiah, the real one. Zechariah puts it this way in 12:10-14:
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.”
You see, this was the national repentance that Jesus was looking for, but never got when He came the first time. There was no mourning for sin, no mourning for their harlotry, and they went after false gods and gave their children as sacrifices to the gods of the pagans around them. No sorrow for turning their backs on God, no sorrow for allowing the religious pagans like the Pharisees and Sadducees to hijack the Word of God and smother it in rituals and man-made rites that stifled the truth and turned the love, mercy and grace of God into a series of performances like an actor in a play.
The nation will have a real change of heart and not just outward piety that was just a façade and not even a good one. The nation of Israel will humble themselves at the feet of their God-King, and God will have mercy on them and heal their land.
There is a heresy that has come to birth over the last few years, maybe a decade or so; and it seems to be tied to the Calvinist movement, or at least I hear it a lot in the realm of the Calvinists. And that is the idea that the New Testament church has replaced Israel. The first time I heard this was in a sermon about 8 years ago or so. I was astonished. The man teaching was the president of one of the Baptist seminaries here in the Toronto area. How could this be? What Bible was he reading?
The Rapture will end the church age; and upon that event, the entire focus of God will return to Israel and to Jerusalem. We can see the focus already turning to Israel. In fact, if God is done with Israel, why allow her to come back to life in 1948? Why preserve her against superior forces in the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973? I mean, God has had ample opportunities to destroy the newly birthed nation. But He does not. Why? Jesus is coming back to rule the world from Jerusalem.
In the next chapter, we will see the New Jerusalem. Wow! That sounds very Jewish to me. Not the new New York, not the New London, Paris, Tokyo. NO, NO NO! The New Jerusalem.
In an article entitled “Will David Reign on the Millennial Throne?” at www.rightwordtruth.com, we see that the author makes the case that King David will be a vice-regent with Jesus as He sits on the throne of Israel. Verses from Ezekiel 34:20-24; 37:24, Hosea 3:5 and Jeremiah 30:9 help the author, and as well, one of my professors at the Andersonville Theological Seminary to come to the conclusion that King David is raised to be a vice-regent with Christ over the nation of Israel. How then can the church replace Israel? The answer is, it is never going to do that.
There is much more to explore about that 1,000 years, but sufficient for today is what we have covered. We learned that mankind will not need Satan to be evil, and we learned that the church has not nor ever will replace Israel. The two ages are separate, and God knows where He is going with us in the end.
Jesus is coming; are you ready?