The Judgment of Satan-His Restraint
"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, emphasis added
In this passage, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has now returned. He has squelched the rebellion, terrified the inhabitants of the earth, and He has slain the rebels.
What the Apostle John started seeing in chapter 19 takes us from the earth to the end of the earth, into the Millennium to the end of the Millennium, and then into the eternal state. These events happened in chronological sequence to show that the Millennium is actually a literal 1,000 years. Up until St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430), everyone believed that the return of Christ was to be followed by a literal 1,000 year reign. But when he wrote The City of God, confusion entered in. St. Augustine viewed the city of God as the church on earth; thus the 1,000 years was merely figurative. That would mean that we would be fulfilling God's kingdom here on earth, and thus people ought to invest all they have on earth-and not in heaven. But St. Augustine's interpretation was mistaken, and it has confused people ever since.
Some people have felt that the twentieth chapter of Revelation isn't actually going to happen-even though Scripture specifically says "thousand years" five times in verses 2 through 7 of chapter 20. According to Scripture, the Millennium is a literal event, and this is a chronological sequence. The only way that God can fulfill all the millennial passages is through this literal event. Not only is there a sequence that shows the literal event, verse 3 states that Satan is placed in the bottomless pit. If you recall, this bottomless pit (or abyss) was last opened by Satan in chapter 9. He had a key, so he let out all those monsters! But now the angel has the key, opens the pit, and throws Satan in.
In Revelation 20:2, notice the names that are given in this biography of the devil: "the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan." That is basically the history of Satan's career. He is the dragon that took the heavenly hosts with him; he is the serpent that tempted Eve who then led Adam into the rebellion; he is the devil who has been seeking to tempt and pervert humanity; he is Satan, the adversary, who has always stood against God's plan and God's people.
Satan gets true justice when he is bound and placed in the bottomless pit. John says that the angel "cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him." There is a poetic justice in God's dealings with Satan. Centuries ago, the evil one saw to it that the mortal remains of God's beloved Son were shut up in a tomb and sealed. So it is interesting that God has Satan put in a tomb and sealed just like the Son of God. But that is where the similarity ends: the Son of God rose triumphantly, and Satan is held captive.
Look at what John Phillips has to say on this subject:
Throughout the tribulation era, Satan has opened the abyss to plague mankind, once with horrible demons and once with the recalled soul of the beast. Now he himself is consigned to that dark hole and sealed in by an act of God, and there he rages in the most secure prison cell in the universe. It is the condemned cell, and he knows it.
He has his thoughts to keep him company, and terrible thoughts they are-Thoughts of the day of his creation when he sprang mature, magnificent, and mighty from the hand of God; . . . as the anointed cherub . . . once he led the worship of the angel hosts; Thoughts of God's throne and his attempts to seize it for himself; Thoughts of his fall, of his entrance into Eden, of his short-lived triumph over the first human pair; Thoughts of the sentence passed upon him by God and of his futile efforts to prevent the coming of the promised Seed; Thoughts of Calvary and of his utter defeat; Thoughts of the fleeting moments when he brought the World to the foot of his incarnation, the beast, and had seemingly triumphed at last; Thoughts of the lake of fire just ahead. He is given a thousand years in confinement to think of his own eternal destruction.
Tomorrow, we will see the millennial blessings ahead for those who love the Lord!
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