Satan Unbound 2/6/00

Revelation 20:1-3 & 7-10

Jesus Christ is coming again in the air for His church. This is known as the Rapture. All believers will be caught up to be with Him.

Thereafter follows a period of time known as the Tribulation. During this seven year period the Antichrist will deceptively rule the world in a reign of terror.

This global holocaust will end with Christ coming again to the earth for His saints to reign for 1000 years. This period is known as the Millennium. During this time Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit. This utopian environment will in effect be Eden restored.

As we relate to the passage under consideration it will become apparent why Satan hates the Book of the Revelation and does everything he can to divert ministers from preaching from it. The Book unveils the end times and Satan’s destiny.

In our pragmatic state of mind we tend not to believe in what we cannot comprehend with our basic senses. Therefore, the idea of world conditions being different from those we know seems far fetched.

Yet, scientists tell us there are spectrums of light the natural human eye can’t see. We can see the violet in the rainbow and believe in it. However, only slightly removed is the ultra-violet rays we cannot see. The fact we can’t see them does not mean they aren’t there. Likewise, there is a new and different era coming that though we find it difficult to comprehend it is coming. Consider yet another phase of the end times.

At the end of the 1000 year millennial reign Satan will be unbound and unleashed on earth again “for a little while.”

Question: Why?

His deceptive work will be resumed. A vast number of persons who have lived during the Millennial reign of Christ will defect. These are persons who though living in a perfect environment with Christ literally ruling on earth will have defected in their hearts. Outwardly they will conform to the rule of Christ, but inwardly they will not have willfully submitted to Him as Savior and Lord. Satan is released to reveal their covert rebellion. This is the final rebellion and proves you can’t change people by changing their environment. Depravity, not environment, is the issue. This is a lesson from which current sociologists should learn. It is noble to work to improve persons living conditions. However, it is not outward conformity, but inward conversion that changes people.

These defectors having lived in a perfect environment, never having been tempted by the devil, never having been tested will opt to desert Christ and follow Satan. Outwardly they will have conformed but will never have been saved. They will have given homage to the enthroned Christ but will never have trusted Him as Savior. Their outward appearance and compliance with His rule will be a sham. When Satan is unleashed their inward rebellion will erupt into outward insurrection. Why?

The answer is found in the heart of humanity. It began in the Garden of Eden and has afflicted every mortal since. The whole human race has “heart trouble,” known as depravity. It is the most ancient and all-pervasive disease. It is the most communicable disease the world means to corrupt or pervert. More literally it means “to fail the test.” It means man kind failed the test of pleasing God. It is a reference to the old sin nature with which every human being has been born since the time of Adam and Eve. In theological circles it is called the Adamic nature, meaning a nature like that of Adam. It is the most deadly form of heart disease.

One of the most broad-brush statements in Scripture relates to depravity: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Three words jump out: “every,” “only,” “continually.”

Some things depravity does not mean are important to note:

Most folks don’t “look” depraved. It is masterfully masked by some. Others have an admirable temperament and warm personality that keeps it from showing prominently.

Depravity doesn’t mean necessarily that a person acts bad. A person may not be bad, but without Christ is as bad off as possible.

The Bible is old but not out of date. It reveals the root cause of sin to be the heart.

It is the quality in our lives that necessitated the coming to earth of Christ to die as Savior.

That all-time classic poem helps our understanding of this profound theological issue.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Like Humpty we need fixing. Many have tried but no one can. A revised version of Humpty Dumpty reveals our salvation.

Jesus Christ came to our wall;
Jesus Christ died for our fall.
He slew Queen Death.
He crushed King Sin.
Through grace He put us together again.

What Jesus does for the repentant person is the equivalent of unscrambling our omelet.

“The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7).

To be “in the flesh” means the same thing as to be “in Adam,” or unsaved.

In Romans 8:5 reference is made to those “who live according to the flesh…” This means to live as unsaved after being saved.

One reason for the Millennial reign of Christ is to disprove the complaint against God that a perfect environment will produce perfect people. It didn’t in Eden and it won’t during the Millennium.

Only Christians enter the Millennium with Christ. The survivors of the Tribulation will populate the earth. The perfect environment and absence of sickness will result in longevity. There will be children born to and reared by these Christian parents. This will result in a dramatic population explosion. These children will grow up in a perfect environment with Christ literally ruling on earth, and yet many will rebel. With Christ’s theocratic rule justice will have been absolute.

With the curse imposed in Eden removed nature will be harmonious and productive. Still there will be those who rebel. Outwardly they will conform because Christ will rule with a “rod of iron,” meaning He will be the only and absolute authority. Though there is outward conformity there will be those who inwardly resent and reject Him.

Throughout history God has tried various approaches to show His love and draw people to Himself. Under each administration there have been those who receive and those who reject. God’s purpose in using these varied approaches will be to exhaust every possible means and technique of showing and His. By the end of time persons will have lived under:

GOVERNMENT the era of the Old Testament Judges
LAW the Old Testament period of the Commandments
GRACE the church era in which we now live
GLORY the Millennial rule of Christ.

In every era person’s free will have resulted in various responses. In these varied eras of God manifesting His presence and purpose He has exhausted every potential approach to reaching people. Each effort will be met with alternate responses.

These individuals who at the end of the millennial reign of Christ rebel and follow Satan have lived in a perfect environment and never been tempted or tested. Now for the first time they are and they yield. It is the heart of persons that is deceitfully wicked.

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19).

Jeremiah, the prophet warned: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Personal accountability is stressed throughout the Bible.

In our current time there are often Christian parents who lovingly provide well for their children. They meet their physical, cultural, social, and spiritual needs only to have their hearts broken by their children rebelling. Some of these even move to new communities in order to try to provide a more perfect environment for their children. Some have lavish expensive “toys” and provide game rooms at home in order to create a utopian environment for their children. Some even search for a church with a good youth program. Even then there are parents whose loving efforts fail to keep their child or children from evil.

Many of these parents with broken hearts blame themselves. In doing so they overlook one element they can’t control. It is controlled only by the individual child. It is their heart. In finality the child has a free will that not even God will make to conform to His will. Personal responsibility must be taken by the individual.

Numerous are the stories of children reared by Godly parents in a wonderful spiritual environment who have rebelled against Christ. They had both heredity and environment as assets and still rebelled. There are many sons and daughters of Godly parents in prisons today who willfully made the wrong choices and rebelled not only against their parents but Christ.

Conversely, there are accounts of those who were reared by ungodly parents in a deplorable environment who responded positively to Christ and became spiritually productive.

A former member of this church comes to mind. He was reared as a member of Chicago’s largest crime family. There never was a day he didn’t know, see, and do evil. He rose in the syndicate to a place of prominence and power. He told me of one night he and his body guards got out of his limousine only to see a person walking toward him. The man was carrying something immediately recognized and feared —- a Bible. He told me he was so enraged at the very sight of the Bible he pulled his revolver and said to the man, “If you say one word to me out of that book I will kill you.”

In continuing his account of his carnal life he related the day he repentantly embraced Christ as Savior and renounced the gangster life. At the time he was living here he was in the witness protection program and living a vibrant life for Christ. His will overcame his heredity and environment.

There is a classical Biblical example of two reared in the same environment and by the same family who went different directions. Moses and Pharaoh were reared together. Moses’s path is well known. A passage posing a bit of a mystery to some says, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” A superficial reading makes it appear God was unfair to Pharaoh. Not so! Moses was the only person of the era to whom God revealed as much as He did to Pharaoh. Pharaoh had more divine revelation than any person of his era other than Moses. Moses responded positively to God and Pharaoh hardened his own heart by rebelling.

Their number will be “as the sands of the sea” (Vs. 8). This indicates the deep, complex nature of evil. The source of rebellion does not rest in man’s environment or fundamentally with the devil, but within the heart of man. Satan’s return illustrates this dramatically in that people will rebel against Christ after His Millennial reign. Christ’s earthly rule does not end until He has dealt with this final challenge to His kingdom. At that time He demonstrates the victory of His cross and puts down this Satanic rebellion.

“For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet” (I Corinthians 15:25).

Satan and his forces are pictured as having “surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Vs. 9). This may well be at Jerusalem, however, the reference is to all the people of Christ globally at that time.

At this point when it appears Satan will prevail physically fire comes down from God out of heaven and he is finally defeated. At this point there is a literal fulfillment of Hebrews 12:29, “Our God is a consuming fire.” The devil is at this time “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,” hell (Vs. 10).

Stick a fork in him —- he’s done. Fine! He is no longer a player on earth.

Satan was judged at the cross. At this time his final sentence is carried out. It is said of him and his cohorts “…they will be tormented day and night forever” Vs. 10).

Jesus told us when on earth He had a place prepared for the devil. It is called by Him “the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

Any person who goes there to share Satan’s destiny does it in rebellion to God’s expressed will.

“It is not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

The “whosoever” of John 3: 16 reveals our unlimited opportunity.

Our Lord has prepared for us a means of having a heavenly home. You can prepare now to avoid the Tribulation. The certainty of ones destiny gives great peace.

In the 1600’s there lived a faithful and bold band of believers who refused to capitulate to the tyrannical powers of the day. They covenanted together to be loyal to the Lord regardless of the cost. Hence, they became known as the Covenanters. One of their number, Hugh Mackail, the youngest and bravest of their ranks was condemned to be hanged in December 1666. They gave him four days to live before being hanged.

As the guards led him back to prison many in the crowd watched and wept. It seemed a pity one so young should suffer such a fate. In his own eyes there were no tears, on his face a bright subtle smile. The face of this young Galahad of the cross was radiant as he shouted “Trust in God. Trust in God.”

Suddenly he caught a glimpse of a friend in the crowd and shouted, “Good news, good news! I am within four days journey of enjoying the sight of Jesus Christ.”

You can begin your brief journey to see the face of Christ.

We can choose to live as a victim of our depravity in the energy of the flesh.

Or. We can choose to live as victors through the power of Jesus Christ.