THE BINDING OF SATAN

Scripture Reading: Revelation 20:1-6

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.” (Revelation 20:1-3)

What is being revealed to John in this section of Revelation is the destruction of the kingdom of darkness. Satan is bound by an angel and the effects of this act are felt in the spiritual world. The imagery in the passage is symbolic. An angel with the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain bound Satan and threw him into the pit and locked him up.

What is the meaning of the symbolism in this vision? Satan is bound from one specific activity — that he should not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years are completed (v. 3). Before the coming of Jesus the Messiah, the only people on the face of the earth who had open and full access to God were the Israelites. There were a few individuals who were the exception to this, such as Ruth and Rahab, who were Gentiles. But overall God dealt with one nation. Satan deceived all the other nations on the whole. He had power over them throughout the period of the Old Testament. The prophets saw a day when the Gentiles (the nations) would be ingrafted into God’s kingdom — “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine upon them… For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given; and the government will rest on His shoulders” (Isaiah 9:2,6).

What bound Satan? Satan was bound by the saving work of Jesus Christ — “And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross, He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him” (Colossians 2:13-15).

Jesus commanded His disciples to take the gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). The binding of Satan means that the devil’s influence on earth is curtailed so that he is unable to prevent the extension of the church among the nations. The thousand years represents the wholeness or completeness of the time that God is using to carry out His plan in the world. (In Revelation the use of numbers is symbolic not statistical. One thousand is used to express wholeness or completeness.) Here the thousand years refers to God’s entire plan as it is unfolded in history from the first coming of Christ until He comes again.

We have a task to do — “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20)

Lord Jesus, You have called me to be Your witness to the people of all nations. You have bound Satan from deceiving the nations and now we have the responsibility to be faithful in taking the glorious message of the gospel to all peoples. Enable me to be bold in my witness and give me opportunities today to share the gospel with others.

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THE GREAT SUPPER OF GOD

Scripture Reading: Revelation 19:17-21

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God.'” (Revelation 19:17)

This is the second supper mentioned in this vision. The first is the marriage supper of the Lamb, when those called in white robes of righteousness are invited to sit eternally at the Lord’s table with Him. The second supper is hideous; it is not a meal of God’s covenant blessing, but one of His final curse. The invited guests are vultures (scavengers) — “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great” (vs. 17,18).

We are then taken back to Armageddon, the decisive and final battle. This battle is also called “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (16:14). When the sixth angel poured out his golden bowl of wrath (chapter 16), the great River Euphrates dried up and the way was prepared for the kings of the earth, under the influence and power of evil, to launch their final attack upon Christ.

The beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assemble to make war against Christ and His army (v. 19). But the battle is short-lived. The outcome is swift and final. The beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone (v. 20). And the rest are killed with the sword, which came out of the mouth of Christ who is seated upon the horse (v. 21) and the birds consume their flesh.

Christ’s enemies are destroyed forever. The harlot (representing the evil world — worldliness) is gone. The beast of the sea (representing secular and political forces in opposition to Christ) is gone. The false prophet, who is also called the beast of the earth, (representing false religions) is gone. There is only one enemy left — the dragon, Satan, the devil, the serpent of old. However, his doom is sure as we will see soon.

Lord Jesus, you clearly stated that we will have tribulation in the world, but for us to take heart because You have overcome the world (John 16:33). We know that the world is passing away (I John 2:17), including all worldliness, the secular and political powers that oppose You, and all the false religious that are invented over time. You are the victorious King and Warrior who protects and defends me. I know that I am safe in Your hands and I know that one day all the troubles and temptations I face in this fallen world will be gone forever. I rest in You, my Savior and Lord.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING

2020 has been a difficult year for most of us. However, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s take time to count all the blessings we have received this year and be thankful to the Lord for them.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night…For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your work; at the works of Your hands I sing for joy.” (Psalm 92:1,2,4)

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us and we are His; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100)

“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!” (Psalm 147:8-10)

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But give thanks to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:56,57)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)

I love the words of the hymn Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote. Take time to read them (sing them if you remember the tune) and do what the hymn says!

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by.

So, amid the conflict, whether great or small, do not be discouraged, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journeys’ end.

Count your blessing, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.


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THE DIVINE WARRIOR

Revelation 19:11-16

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11)

John was given a vision of our Lord and His second coming. Christ comes in majesty, mounted upon a horse. This is the same Lord Jesus who rode humbly into Jerusalem on a donkey. But when He comes again, He comes in great power and glory to judge. He is called “Faithful and True.” He is about to judge righteously, for His eyes are a flame of fire — “in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire” (vs. 11,12a).

Jesus comes to wage war upon His enemies. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood. His name is called “The Word of God” (v. 13). The armies of heaven of heaven follow Him (v. 14). From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations (v. 15). He will rule the nations with a rod of iron (a reference to Psalm 2).

The Ruler of heaven and earth is returning to claim His rightful domain. He now treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (v. 15). In other words He comes to carry out the sentence of God upon sinful, rebellious people. This mighty Warrior has a name written on His robe and on His thigh — “King of kings and Lord of lords” (v. 16).

Jesus foretold of His second coming — “Immediately after the tribulation of the days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).

When Jesus returns, the final judgment will take place (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus made it clear that no one knows the day of His second coming (Matthew 24:36). For this reason, He said — “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).

Lord Jesus, Warrior King, King of kings and Lord of lords, Judge of all humankind, I know that You are coming back one day in glory to this earth. I know that You will judge all righteously. Let me be ready for Your return. I know that You have redeemed me with Your precious blood and that I will not face the fury of the wrath of God, because You have taken it for me. I bow before You in thanksgiving and worship You, my Savior.

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THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB

Scripture Reading: Revelation 19:6-10

“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.'” (Revelation 19:9)

The final hallelujah in this chapter (vs. 6-8) introduces a wedding banquet. The trials and persecutions that God’s people have experienced have been a preparation for the wedding. Our lives on earth are preparation for the wedding feast that will take place at the end of time. Christ and His people are to be married for eternity and the wedding feast is upon us.

The bride has made herself ready — “It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure — for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (v. 8). Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us when we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. But we are created unto Christ Jesus for good works — “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

God will bring about a new creation, a church unstained by her contact with Babylon. The imagery of the smoking harlot (v. 3) gives way to the festal sounds of a wedding celebration. The relationship between Christ and His Church is described in terms of a wedding (see Ephesians 5:22-32).

One day we, God’s people, will participate in the marriage supper of the Lamb. Until that day, Christ has left us with an anticipatory meal of this coming union — the Lord’s Supper. In the Lord’s Supper we look back on what Christ has done for us, and we look forward to what is to come — our union with Christ for eternity.

“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” I long for the day when we will be set free from the temptations, trials, and tribulations of this present age. The day is coming when we will be united with our Bridegroom forever and we will live with Him in the new heavens and new earth.

Lord Jesus, thank You that I have been invited to the marriage of the Lamb. You are the Lamb, the Bridegroom of Your church. I look forward to the wedding celebration that will take place at the end of time, when I will be united with You forever. Prepare me for this glorious day as I live out my life on this earth in anticipation for the new heavens and new earth in which only righteousness dwells.

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THE RESPONSE FROM HEAVEN

Scripture Reading: Revelation 19:1-10

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Halleluah! Savlation and glory and power belong to our God, for His judgments are true and just; for He has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of His servants'” (Revelation 19:1,2)

The chapter begins with the response to the fall of Babylon from those in heaven. The word “hallelujah” is found four times in this passage. The word comes from a Hebrew word that means “praise the Lord” or “praise Jehovah.”

The first hallelujah comes from the great multitude in heaven — the glorified saints and angels (vs. 1,2). They rejoice in the salvation of God’s people and they celebrate the righteousness of the act of God’s judgment. The judgment of God has a two-fold purpose: God judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He avenged the blood of His servants. We are reminded that God will not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:6,7).

The second hallelujah comes from the same multitude in heaven (v. 3). This hallelujah signals the finality of God’s judgment — “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.” Her doom has come, for she will never rise up again (18:21).

The third hallelujah comes form the twenty four elders and the four living creatures, who symbolize the church and all of creation (vs. 4,5). They fell down and worshiped God who sits upon the throne — “Amen. Hallelujah!” which are strong words of affirmation. From the throne came a call to worship — “Praise our God all you servants, you who fear Him small and great.”

The fourth hallelujah is the response of the heavenly choir to the call to worship (vs. 6-10). “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God reigns” (v. 6). It is a celebration of the union with Christ and His Church — “Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready” (v. 7).

This great celebration takes place when Christ returns and the final judgment takes place. This is a reminder of the central theme of the book of Revelation — Jesus Christ, the Lion and the Lamb, wins! Let us be encouraged that in the end we also are more than conquerors through Him who loved us and gave Himself for us!

Lord Jesus, I take great comfort in knowing the end of the story. You will overcome all Your enemies and be victorious. I will be with You along with all the other saints and angels in glorious worship one day. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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FALLEN, FALLEN IS BABYLON THE GREAT

Scripture Reading: Revelation 18:1-24

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! she has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.” (Revelation 18:2)

We now come to the actual fall of Babylon. A glorious angel declares the final fall of Babylon — “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” The angel reveals the cause of the collapse of this city of the world: immorality or sensuality — “For the nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living” (v. 3). The language, though sexual in nature, refers to all the worldly desires and practices of people for which they so willing sell their souls.

Another voice spoke from heaven calling God’s people to come out of the evil of the world — “Come out of her, My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues” (v. 4). This voice is a warning for us to come out of the influences of the evil city. Jesus gave a similar warning — “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Next we hear the voice of the kings of the earth, those who have been responsible for the continuing dominance of Babylon over the people of the earth. They mourn over her destruction — “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come” (v. 10).

Then we hear the voice of the merchants of the earth. They weep and mourn over her — “since no one buys their cargo anymore” (v. 11). They stand in fear over the fall of Babylon — “Alas! Alas! for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste” (vs. 16,17).

The last voice comes from a mighty angel announcing the final destruction of Babylon — “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and she will be found no more” (v. 21). Life and the things associated with life on this in this evil world are over (vs. 22,23).

God has given us a call — “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Listen to the voice from heaven — “Come out of her my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues” (v. 4).

Lord Jesus, I know that this world is coming to an end one day. I also know how dangerous it is for me to get too comfortable here. Keep me from falling into the trap of worldliness. Keep me from loving the world more than I love You. I cannot do these things in my own strength. I need Your power and protection every day.

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THE VICTORIOUS LAMB

Scripture Reading: Revelation 17:7-18

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them; for He is Lord of lords and Kings of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)

In the previous post, we met a new character in Revelation — the great harlot, who is called Babylon the Great. She symbolizes the evil world in opposition to God, or what is known as worldliness. She is joined by the scarlet beast, who is one and the same with the beast of the sea in chapter 13. This beast represents secular and political forces in opposition to Christ and His Church. The seven heads of the beast represent earthly empires (vs. 9-11). The ten horns stand for all the smaller and less significant kingdoms which arise during this age (vs. 12,13).

These kings and kingdoms wage war against the Lamb — “They are of one mind and hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb” (vs. 13,14a). The Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Throughout history the Lamb constantly defeats His enemies. And as we will see, He destroys His enemies once for all. The statement is simple and powerful — “The Lamb will conquer them!”

There is an interesting description of the people of God in the passage — “And those with Him are called and chosen and faithful” (v. 14c). Notice, first of all, that the believers are WITH the Lamb. The Lamb will never leave nor forsake them, for they have been effectually called by the irresistible grace of God. They are also chosen by God before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) to be God’s own possession (I Peter 2:9,10). They remain faithful to the Lamb through the war that is waged upon them.

The good news is that we serve a victorious King. He fights the battles for us and with us. He has effectually called us and given us new life in Him. We are His chosen people, a people for His own possession. He has done all these things for us and therefore we are expected to be faithful to Him through the battles we may face on this earth.

Lord Jesus, You are the victorious Lamb, the Lord of lords and King of kings. You protect and defend Your chosen people. Thank You that you are with me. You have called me and chosen me. Give me the strength to be faithful to You no matter what I must face on this earth. The battles are great; the enemies are formidable; but You are the victorious King who wins the war and defeats all Your enemies. I can find great rest and peace in You.

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THE FOLLY OF WORLDLINESS

Scripture Reading: Revelation 17:1-18

“Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters,with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality dwellers on earth have become drunk.” (Revelation 17:1,2)

We now come to another section of the book of Revelation that deals with the fall of Babylon (chapters 17-19). Chapter 17 describes the nature of the great harlot, Babylon. Chapter 18 shows the inevitable, complete, and irrevocable character of Babylon’s fall. Chapter 19 introduces us to the rejoicings in heaven because of the fall of Babylon.

In Chapter 17 we find two key characters. We meet a new character — the great harlot. She stands in stark contrast to the radiant woman (symbolizing the church) of chapter 12. She is called Babylon the great and is said to be the mother of harlots and of the abominations on the earth. The second character returns from chapter 13 — the beast of the sea, who is called “the scarlet beast” in this chapter. This beast symbolizes the secular and political forces who stand in opposition to Christ and His people. This disgusting pair team up to make war with the Lamb and with His people.

The great harlot seduces peoples and multitudes, nations and tongues (vs. 1,2). She is intoxicated with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus (v. 6). She is also described as the great city which rules over the kings of the earth (v. 18).

The great harlot symbolizes the evil world in opposition to God, or what is known as worldliness. She represents the concentration of the luxury, vice, and glamor of this world. She is given he name Babylon. Ancient Babylon, Babel, represents man’s first organized act of rebellion against God (Genesis 11). Later the city of Babylon became a heathen center of wickedness and seduction.

The imagery of the great harlot Babylon gives us a picture of what worldliness is like. It is everywhere (peoples and multitudes). It corrupts, allures, tempts, and seduces both the great and small. It is hostile to the people of God. It greatly influences and controls those who are in positions of power. It is one of the Christian’s great enemies, which is why we are given this exhortation:

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of the Father abides forever” (I John 2:15-17).

Lord Jesus, enable me to keep my eyes on You and prevent me from being overly influenced by this world. I confess that I often fall prey to the allurements this world offers. Forgive me when I love the things of the world more than I love You. I know how foolish it is to give way to worldliness. Give me strength to resist those things that become so attractive to me — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. I know that the world is passing away. Grant me grace to do the will of the Father.

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THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

Scripture Reading: Revelation 16:17-21

“For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty…And they assembled at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:14,16)

In the days of ancient Israel, Megiddo was a very important city. It lay at the junction of the most important trade routes in the Middle East. Whoever controlled Megiddo controlled much of the commerce in the Middle East. I have visited this site many times. It is one of the most famous tells in Israel.

Many famous battles were fought on the plain of Megiddo. You can go up on Mount Carmel, where Elijah had the encounter with the prophets of Baal, and see this famous plain. Because the plain is wide, long, and flat it is conducive for major battles.

Because of Megiddo’s crucial position, any battle for control of Megiddo was a key conflict, often the decisive battle of the war. Thus the terms “battle of Armageddon” came to mean the decisive battle which determines the ultimate victor in a conflict. In Revelation, Armageddon signifies the decisive battle in the age old conflict between Christ and Satan, between the Lamb and the dragon, between the Church and the world.

The Battle of Armageddon is the final battle in the great spiritual war which has been waged from the beginning of the age until the present time. It is a battle which is fought between the forces of the evil one and the armies of Christ. Though this conflict has been waged since the beginning of the age, it increases in intensity as the last day approaches. It’s outcome is certain — King Jesus, through His mighty work on the cross and His return to glory, will be absolutely victorious over the armies of Satan. In chapters 19 and 20 of Revelation, Christ defeats all His enemies. The Lamb wins and the Church will overcome!

King Jesus, leader of the armies of heaven, protect me through the battles I will face. I know that You will bring a final defeat upon Satan and the world. You are the conquering King and Lord of all. I look forward to the time when the final victory comes and You bring in new heavens and a new earth. I look forward to spending eternity in Your presence, O victorious Lamb of God.

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