“I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time.”
The angel binds Satan for a thousand years with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and with a chain, signifying that authority. He seizes Him and he is defeated and cast into the abyss to stop his deception of the nations of the earth for the thousand years and seals him in it until God frees him for a short time at the end of all things.
We must remember that this is a vision and not a literal picture or film of events that will happen. The thousand years refers to the day of gospel grace that we have had for a long number of centuries and where God is calling to Himself a large number of people, who will be saved. Satan was comprehensively defeated at the cross at Calvary, indeed has never had full sway over the earth! He is always under the authority of the sovereignty of God and is never has authority to do as he pleases.
Christ has defeated him and sin and death on the cross and has bought the ransom for the innumerable throng that will be in heaven forever with Him – His precious people. We must never forget that. When Jesus died he put, as it were, the Devil in a chain, so that he could no longer hold the people of earth in strong deception. The message of the gospel has set free so many peoples of every kindred and race and language group, and has opened the way to heaven for so many.
Satan is bound, though human sinfulness is increasing and getting worse. Still the gospel goes forth and that message of love and forgiveness for sinful souls is still changing lives and fitting people for the heavenly kingdom. We must still preach it and share to in such a way that the Saviour is lifted up and people are left in no doubt of their danger in ignoring the message. The gift of love must still be offered to sin-sick souls who seek the Lord and want to be rid of their sin and guilt. Too many have given up this message and the day of reckoning will not be good for them. If we have become lazy in our sharing of the good news of the gospel, we should read the book of Malachi to help us regain our strength and composure.
God is not willing that any should perish, and neither should we. We are too concerned with how we look and sound and are not loving towards the people around us. Satan is still the roaring lion and is oppressing people every day, so we must be always ready to give account for what we believe in a way that will help the unbeliever to come to Christ for themselves. The lion might roar at the Christian, but he cannot devour. He can hurt and blame, but not destroy.
Satan will be released from the Abyss at the very end in the last great push of evil against the Lord and His anointed. It will be a terrible time when evil will run through the hearts of many and hurt so many, and Satan will delude and deceive people greatly once again. But it will be a short time, as these last events will happen quite quickly. The reign of the Beast is not long and the Antichrist has a but one hour, in the vision, therefore a very short influence at the end.
Our world is not getting morally better, or in many ways better! We have technology which can blind us to out true state as we think we are clever to have it, but it throws up a whole set of new problems for us as human beings. People are not getting better and hearts are not getting softer, and even the people of God are being affected by this. We can see things happening in our human societies that are worrying and we can envisage how they could be used for great evil in the future. We watch for the spirit of Antichrist and for the sign of evil which will mark the unbeliever as a worshipper of the Beast, and we must be vigilant. We must stay away from world orientated pursuits and things that take us away from the LORD.
There are still sacrifices to be made for the sake of our Saviour and Lord and therefore we watch ourselves and keep ourselves in the love of God. It is too easy to be drawn into the easy life of things and social pursuits and we can easily be deluded about ourselves and our motives for doing things.
As Christian people we need the Lord more than ever, and we need the comfort of this great book of Revelation to help us to stand in evil days. We cannot lose our salvation but we are easily rendered ineffective and complacent. We must be careful who we associate with and know that God will supply all our need according to His riches and He knows what we need even before we ask Him.
We do not know when Satan will gain his freedom to deceive once more, but we will be ready for it, because we have the word of this book to help us. One day we will not be able to participate in society at all and Christians will suffer once more, but we look upward to the great supper of the Lamb and know that we will be there.
Satan is the strong man bound. Jesus spoke about this and referred to Satan as the strong man.
“how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and steal his possessions, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.”
Jesus has bound the strong man at the cross of Calvary and is even now still plundering his kingdom and bringing people to repentance and faith. There has never been a door more open and the way more clear for the daughters and sons of women and men to be saved and enter the eternal kingdom. The way is plain and the message is clear. Satan cannot stop the salvation of souls and the sovereign choice of the Lord cannot be thwarted. Satan has lost any dominion that he thought he had and the kingdom of God grows daily as people are brought to the LORD.
“I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image, and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
The people of God are the judges with Christ. All who were faithful witnesses and did not receive the mark of the Beast, which is the worldly mindset, live in heaven with Christ for the thousand years of the gospel age. We remember that this is a vision with symbols and the thousand years is a symbol like the other symbols! Those who die without Christ are kept in punishment for the general resurrection to await their fate of the second death.
If we are part of the first resurrection of the saints of God, we are blessed forever and will reign with him in heaven.
At the end time there will be an outpouring of evil as Satan is released for a short time to muster the enemies of God and face his final judgment. There will be a world wide Antichrist who will reign and influence as we have seen in past chapters, but not for long. God will always have the preeminence and Satan knows his time is short. He will come back on the world stage with great pomp and vehemence for his last onslaught on the people of God, Armageddon, and then the end will come.