THE RELEASE OF SATAN

Scripture Reading: Revelation 20:7-10

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and he will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle, their number is like the sand of the sea.” (Revelation 20:7,8)

Near the end of time, Satan will be released to deceive the nations again. There comes a time in which the witness of the church will be greatly hindered. However, this revived work of Satan will be short-lived — “After that he must be released for a short time” (v. 3a). His deception will be for a brief season, but it will be a time of great tribulation. Jesus made it clear — “For there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life could have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21,22).

What will Satan do during this brief season at the end of time? He will gather his forces for the final battle against Christ. This is the battle of Armageddon, which we have already seen a couple of times in the book of Revelation (16:12ff; 19:19). The whole world is involved int his battle — “the four corners of the earth.” It is the final battle between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of darkness. Here in Revelation the battle is also called “Gog and Magog,” which refers to a prophecy found in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Gog in the land of Magog sets up forces against God’s people. God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog — “And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords” (Ezekiel 38:4).

The outcome is decisive — “But fire came from heaven and consumed them” (v. 9b). Satan is defeated and doomed — “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (v. 10).

There is no question that we see some of this vision being fulfilled today. However, one day things will get worse for a brief season, but for our sakes, the days will be cut short. We know the end of the story. Jesus will defeat Satan and he will be doomed forever. Don’t you know this message greatly encouraged those early Christians who were suffering severe persecution under Emperor Domitian? And it should be a great encouragement to us as well. Jesus wins!

Lord Jesus, it seems that the witness of Your Church has already been hindered to some degree. Our children cannot pray in public schools; we cannot pray “in Jesus’ name” at certain public events; people have lost jobs because of their witness for You, etc. However, I know that one day things will get worse. Prepare me for the opposition that is to come. Strengthen Your people and enable us to be faithful in our witness to the world. Let me keep my eyes on You and not be afraid of any hostility and opposition that I may face. I know the end of the story — You win!

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