Satan Released from Prison

When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison.”
Revelation‬ ‭20:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The thousand years are up. Christ’s millennial reign has come to an end. And, presumably, the angel returns with the key, opens the door to the bottomless pit and releases satan from his chains. Why? 

The last one thousand years have been peaceful. No sin has been allowed to flourish. No financial frauds. No opportunities for gang warfare. No proliferation of drugs. No fighting and wars. Just a wonderful thousand years spent in Jesus’ presence. It can’t get much better than that! But not everyone will have thought so. There would still have been many who refused to bend the knee to Christ. But you would think that even living in such a peaceful time would have been preferable to how it was before.

Perhaps satan was released to show the contrast between his kingdom and God’s Kingdom. Between good and evil. He would have tried to reassert himself as the “god of this age”, once again waving his rebellious fist in God’s face. And encouraging those sinful and evil people on earth to join him once more. Perhaps, in his arrogance, he thought he had learnt enough this time to properly defeat God. After all, he’d had a thousand years to plot and scheme. Or perhaps the devil was released to test the population, who may have become complacent after a long period of stable and euphoric rule. Perhaps he had been released to stand trial before God on the day of judgement, and had been given one last opportunity to bow his knee before God, unlikely though that was. But in any case, deep in thought, in his incorrigible wickedness, the devil heard the scraping of the key in the lock. He rushed to the door as it opened, hurried the angel to undo the chains, and then burst into the sunlight. Desperate to wreak his evil mischief on mankind once again.

The devil would have struck fear into the hearts of many on earth at that time, as he does today. But Christians have nothing to fear from him. They have God on their side, and His instructions about how to deal with the devil were there in God’s Word, the Bible. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm“. (Ephesians‬ ‭6:13). But we have to be careful when the devil is around. He is the master of deceit, and his whisperings can sound so plausible sometimes. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour“.

We pilgrims might be thinking that this is all a bit academic. After all, we’re not going to be alive in a thousand years’ time. But hang on a minute – we will be, because we will have been resurrected at the start of the millennium and will be ruling and reigning with Christ for a thousand years, resplendent in our new bodies. So we have been forewarned. We’ll get to see what the devil is going to do in the next blog.

Father God, we praise and worship You today. We pray, as taught by Jesus, that You will deliver us from evil. Thank You Lord. Amen.

Satan in Chains

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.”
Revelation‬ ‭20:1-3‬ ‭NLT

The memories from Armageddon were just fading from John’s vision, when another angel appeared. He came down from Heaven carrying a key and a substantial chain. This angel was obviously no wimp, because he was able to overpower satan and chain him up. Satan was to be imprisoned for a thousand years – quite a few human life sentences there – and his jail was to be “the bottomless pit”. He wasn’t handled too gently either because he was thrown in there – no “would you mind”? on this occasion. And then the angel shut the door and locked it. 

As a reminder, who was and is satan? Some scriptures describe him as Lucifer, the senior angel in charge of worship in Heaven, but he becomes proud and wanted to take over Heaven through a coup. Needless to say, it was unsuccessful and he was cast down to earth. In a conversation with the religious leaders of His day, Jesus described the devil as being a murderer and liar. we read in John 8:44, “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies“. The Apostle Peter warned us about him. We read in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour“. But we can resist him, as we read in James 4:7, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

But what is, or was, the bottomless pit? The commentators and translators think it was a holding area for the extremely wicked, an abyss to hold them until their time of judgement could be scheduled. The best explanation comes from 2 Peter 2:4, “For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment”. The word Peter used in his epistle was “hell”, which may give some indication that it is a terrible place. In C S Lewis’s fictional book, The Great Divorce, hell was a dismal place that never ended, so “bottomless” might be a good description of where the devil ended up, at least for a millennia. And, of course, once there, the devil’s ability to deceive mankind ended.

It would be difficult to imagine what Planet Earth would be like without the devil. However, these verses in Revelation say nothing about sin and evil being locked up with satan, so we can only assume that mankind remained infected with sin during Jesus’s thousand year reign. But more of that in the next blog. One thing for sure – the excuse “the devil made me do it” wouldn’t be valid anymore!

Dear Lord. Our enemy, the devil, has caused terrible things to happen here on earth. I thank You that You have defeated the devil, and his power has been curtailed for all believers everywhere. I thank You that through You we can stand firm and resist his attacks. Amen.

The Two Witnesses (2)

When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them. And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called “Sodom” and “Egypt,” the city where their Lord was crucified. And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them.”
Revelation 11:7-10 NLT

John’s vision continues. It was much like a video or film, moving from one scene to the next. So the two witnesses brought their prophecies to the people for three and a half years, and no-one could touch them. The vision doesn’t say to what extent their gifts were used and how much grief was caused to the sinful and wicked people of that time but I can just imagine them underpinning their prophetic words by turning the local reservoir into blood. Or bringing on a resurgence of Covid or some other plagues to the population. Stopping the rain would not have been much of a blessing either. And we read in verse ten, that the people had a big party when the devil killed the witnesses. They gloated, gave presents to each other and felt a great sense of relief that their torment had ended – for now. But notice that it wasn’t just the inhabitants of Jerusalem that were happy about the death of the witnesses. This became global news, with parties everywhere. 

Today’s verses start with the message that their testimonies had come to an end. We pilgrims need to make use of the age in which we live, because there will come a time when our testimonies, our messages of hope, will not be required any more. Our messages will be complete. And we read that God then allowed the “beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit” to kill them. It wasn’t a trivial task, it seems, because it involved a war, not just a murder. In the vision, their bodies are just allowed to lie in the street. But who was this “beast”? it can only have been the devil himself. Mankind at that time couldn’t touch the witnesses because they were too powerful and God protected them. And that protection would have continued, even with the devil’s attacks, but their tasks were complete. The bodies were allowed to lie there for three and a half days, which perhaps indicated the lack of respect offered them by the locals. You can just imagine people from all over jetting in to have a look, such was their notoriety with the global population. A damning indictment of mankind at that time.

In his vision, John pulled no punches in his naming of Jerusalem. Jesus wept over this city, but here we are seeing it renamed as Sodom and Egypt. What happened in the city of Sodom? It was destroyed because of the extreme immorality that occurred there. And to the Jews, the country of Egypt would represent their time of slavery. So it seems Jerusalem because a city corrupted by, and in league with, the devil. People living there were enslaved in a place of immorality. John made special mention that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, an act that the devil thought was a win for him, but soon found it was him who was the loser.

To us pilgrims, we must always be on our guards, because the devil will always seek to corrupt and enslave us. And he gets very upset if we continue to share our testimonies with those around us. We must constantly pray for God’s protection over our lives and families. 

Dear God. We don’t really have any idea what this time will be like. But we’re so grateful that You have everything under control. Amen.