This week we continue with Revelation 20:1-3:
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
After the great battle—when the nations are led by the beast and false prophet to attack Israel and the appearing of the Lord who strikes them with the sword of His mouth to destroy their armies—then the millennial reign of Christ will begin. It begins with Satan being bound for the millennium. Then he must be released again at the end of the millennium. Why?
One basic principle we see consistently in God’s dealings with man is that He always allows His work to be tested. He put the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden as a test. He did not do this to cause Adam and Eve to sin, but for there to be true obedience there must be the freedom to disobey. For there to be true worship, there must be the freedom not to worship. There cannot be true faith without the freedom to not believe. The Lord wants His creation to serve Him because we want to, not because we have to.
It will be easier to serve the Lord during the millennium without Satan to deceive the nations. However, that does not mean that it will be easy. The reason that He must reign for a thousand years over the earth is because it will take that long to rid the world of the sin and evil that brought death into the world. The concept that everyone will be instantly perfect is not biblical and counters all the ways that the Lord has dealt with man from the beginning.
His ways are revealed in how He transforms us after we are born again. When we were born again, all things became new to us and we became a new creation. However, we were not made instantly perfect. We began the process of having our minds renewed and breaking the power of sin and wickedness off of our lives. It was this battle with our old nature that strengthened us to walk in the new. We are told in Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
The Greek word translated “transformed” in this verse is the same word that we translate as “metamorphosis” in English. This is the process of change from which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The caterpillar is a worm that must crawl on the earth, being conformed to the contours of the earth. Then it goes into a cocoon where it is transformed. However, one of the biggest tests the new creature will face is breaking out of the cocoon, but it is this great struggle that strengthens it so that it can flap its large wings when it is free.
We too go through a great struggle being transformed into the new creation we are called to be. Breaking free of the old “body of death” is the greatest struggle of all. It too is designed by God to strengthen us so that we can soar high above the earth to the heavenly places we are called to abide in. We must not waste our trials. We must not run from the struggle if we are going to become strong enough to be what we are called to be.
So what will happen when Satan is let loose to deceive the nations again? With but a few exceptions, they will pass the test. However, all of creation will know from the proof of the tests that even though the world was once fallen, the grace and power of the Lord to redeem and transform is greater than any failure. We are called to be a demonstration of this now. Do not waste your trials.
A Personal Note from Rick
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