Background Scripture: Revelation 20: 1-10
Focus Passage: "You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones." Ezekiel 28: 14-16 NIV
We have reached a pivotal point in our study of the book of Revelation. The time of Tribulation is past, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has been fulfilled. The raptured Church has come back with the King of kings and Lord of lords at the Glorious Appearing. The 1,000 year Kingdom Age is about to begin. Jesus Christ is physically present on earth in Jerusalem ready to rule and reign with righteousness, justice, and peace. Only one thing is yet lacking...
The evils in this world (it can now be revealed) are caused by Satan. He is the original deceiver, liar, destroyer, distracter, murderer, thief, and all-around adversary of God. In order for the Kingdom Age (also called the Millennial Reign) to be what the Bible says it will be, he must be restrained and confined to a place where he can no longer deceive the nations. That is how we begin this essential chapter.
However, we have a major problem before we can approach this passage. That problem was excruciatingly pointed out by pollster George Barna in a recent survey. He says that "The majority of American Christians do not believe that Satan is a real being" and that "Nearly six out of ten (U.S.) Christians either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that Satan 'is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.'" Gulp!
If you have ever found yourself wondering if the devil is a real individual or if he is just that caricature of a man in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork, or that you might be persuaded to agree with Goethe that the only devil is the one within you...it might be important for you to know who disagrees with you. In order for you to come to that conclusion, you would be at odds with:
the Apostle Peter (Acts 5:3, 1 Peter 5:8)
the human author of this book we are studying; the Apostle John (John 13:2)
the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 6:11)
the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:19 and Jesus own explanation of the parable in vs. 39)
The Word of God (the Bible refers to him as the devil thirty-five times and as "Satan" (which means enemy or adversary) fifty-two times.
So, it's your choice. You can side with the majority in Barna's survey cited above or with Gary Larson as he creates "Far Side" cartoons showing the devil and hell as comedic relief
You can side with the Savior and the men who wrote twenty of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as it pertains to the reality of the devil, his past and his future. I heartily recommend the latter.
Assuming that you are still with me, it might be helpful to point out what has gotten us to the point in Revelation 20: 1-3 where the adversary is finally bound for one-thousand years. In order to understand how this all happened we must turn to Ezekiel 28: 1-19. Here we find that Lucifer was created by God as a very high-functioning angel, that he was beautiful, a guardian cherub, that he walked among the fiery stones on the holy Mount of God, and that he had the free will to sin. That sin was pride. Even then, God prophesied through the prophet Ezekiel that Satan would "come to a horrible end." That "end" is found here in this week's passage.
The point of all this is quite clear. The Word of God clearly lays out the cosmic battle as it has been raging throughout the ages and its inevitable outcome. God wins! The devil and all his helpers lose! If you have been following our treatment of this culminating book of the Bible all along, I am sure you know that our method of interpretation has been, "If the Plain Text Makes Perfect Sense, Seek No Other Sense." (Walvoord) In other words, we are being quite literal (and premillennial) here; yes...a literal angel will take a literal chain and bind a quite literal and wicked devil for a very long and literal 1,000 years. About this fact, I am literally ecstatic! What happens after the 1,000 years and why must the old boy ever be released at all? Stay tuned.
Keep and Defend the Faith