(An excerpt from Revelation Volume 4, available in late 2018.)
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev. 20:1-3).
Satan will be seized and bound with “a great chain” by an angel, and then he will be hurled into the center of the earth and shut up in the pit. We are to take a literal interpretation of the Bible unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. That’s how God intended His Word to be understood and interpreted. When the Bible is not taken literally, our understanding of the Word is left to the opinions and imaginations of fallible mankind….
After the Savior’s death on the cross, a seal was placed on the stone at the entrance of Christ’s tomb. Matthew 27:66 tells us, “So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” On resurrection morning though, the seal was broken and the stone was rolled away, because Christ had conquered the grave. That seal could never have kept Him in that tomb. He is “the Resurrection, and the Life” (John 11:25). He is the “Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending…which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).
A “seal” will be set upon the devil when he is shut in the bottomless pit. He is powerless to break that seal, demonstrating that he is a created being. If Satan could break this seal, he absolutely would. He will have 1000 years to try to break it, but he will fail.
This contrast shows that we who believe and are on the Lord’s side are on the side of power, victory, and hope. Those who are outside of Christ are on the side of weakness, defeat, and hopelessness. By faith in Christ alone, the unbelieving can be rescued and “delivered…from the power [authority] of darkness, and…translated…into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).
The seal placed upon Satan ensures that he will no longer deceive the nations during the 1000 years of Christ’s earthly kingdom. As we read in Revelation 20:3: “and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more.” Isaiah 14:12 says that he “weaken[s] the nations,” and he does this by his deceptions. Satan will be sealed in his prison, giving blessed relief to the earth and its inhabitants by his absence. He is the one “which deceiveth the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). With Satan locked up, the whole world will be set free from his deceits and wiles.
After the 1000-year phase of Christ’s earthly kingdom is “fulfilled… he must be loosed a little season.” Satan will not be rehabilitated during his 1000-year sentence. God reveals to us that Satan’s nature will not change even after 10 centuries of confinement. He will remain proud, defiant, and at enmity against God. His hatred of God will only burn hotter after the 1000 years. By Satan being released, God also reveals that mankind doesn’t change either. After 1000 years, we see how susceptible mankind will still be to Satan’s deceptions and methods, as the number who are deceived and follow him will be “as the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:8).
The loosing of Satan for a short time is part of God’s sovereign plan: “he must be loosed” (v. 3). Everything God does is good and righteous and has a purpose. Mankind has a free will and, at the close of the Millennium, just prior to the eternal state, God gives the inhabitants of Christ’s earthly kingdom one last opportunity to believe in Christ or reject Him. After 1000 years of peace and righteousness, with the world as it should be, will they “have this Man to reign over” them (Luke 19:14)? The answer from the unbelieving world will be a resounding “No!”
Many think that the world can be fixed through politics and human government. If we just get this political ruler or that political ruler in office, then everything will be all right. It’s a gross understatement to call that wishful thinking. Even when the perfect Ruler reigns over the world for 1000 years, the world will still choose evil. Even if the world were all that it could be, people would still reject Christ. It all stems from the heart of mankind and shows that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9).
Christ can change the heart. For us under grace, when we trust in Christ, believing that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Cor. 15:3,4), God creates a new nature in us (2 Cor. 5:17). By this “inward man” being “renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16) through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, Christ can transform our hearts and lives (Rom. 12:1,2).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.