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When Satan Dies - Part 1


Man is interested today in the future as never before. Cataclysmic changes in our lives, earth-rending developments, peace-shattering fears cause men and women to seek as never before to know what's coming. Friend, man's day on this earth is about to run out, and God's day is about to begin. The Bible reveals a very heartening drama of what's going to happen to life on our little world, and that plan concerns us because even though this little black sheep of a planet has gone astray, God is going to restore it and make of it a paradise. As part of God's plan, the book of Revelation (the 20th chapter) speaks of a one thousand-year period, which Bible scholars have come to call a "millennium." It simply means 1,000 years.


I suppose there are about as many interpretations of the millennium as there are churches. So, again, as we have done daily on this broadcast, we must turn to the Bible and ask God to make plain His wonderful plan. John, speaking under inspiration, records: "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." Revelation 20:1-3. Now we have the stage set for our study today. John sees an angel come down, bind Satan and put him in a bottomless pit, and he is to deceive the nations no more during this 1,000 year period. Is the Devil chained right now? Well, someone says, "If he is, it must be with a rubber chain! It seems that he pretty well has access to this old world, and everywhere I've been I've seen him at work." Then we must be looking to a future time when the Devil is going to be chained for 1,000 years. If he is chained now, woe unto us if he is ever loosed!


There are two questions then which we wish to ask, and I think it will help us to anchor this 1,000 year period in the stream of time: When does this period begin, and when does it end? If we can set a starting date for it, then we'll have no trouble finding out when it's going to end. The key to our answer lies in this same chapter because we discover in verse 6 that the resurrection of the righteous takes place at the beginning of the millennium. All the righteous who have died are resurrected at the beginning of the millennium. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Revelation 20:6. This is the first resurrection; it takes place at the beginning of the 1,000 years. Now, if we can find some other events that take place at the same time as the resurrection of the righteous, then we're going to have an anchor point at the beginning of the 1,000 year period; and that's not hard for us to find. The resurrection of the righteous dead is connected with some other thrilling events in God's plan for this earth, and we'll have no trouble at all identifying the beginning of this period. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."


Now let's recap for just a minute what we have discovered. We're talking about a 1,000 year period, we call it the millennium because mille means thousand and annus means year. We have discovered that at the beginning of the millennium the righteous dead are resurrected. They are in their graves. Remember we discovered in an earlier broadcast that there are two resurrections: the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked. (John 5:28,29). Then the millennium begins with the resurrection of the righteous, which is accompanied also by the second coming of Christ. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection" we were told in Revelation 20:6; and here we read that when Christ comes then the resurrection of the righteous takes place.


Who is raised in the second resurrection? Well, that isn't hard for us to discover. Notice in verse 5 of Revelation 20: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." The wicked are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years. In the midst of this chapter, telling of the first resurrection (the righteous) is this parenthetical statement concerning the wicked and the second resurrection. We've discovered the 1,000 year period is bounded on both ends by resurrections. Fix this firmly in your mind; it's so important before we go further in our study.


Our next question is how will the people of earth be affected by this 1,000 years? Is it going to be a time of peace and prosperity? Well, we have discovered that the righteous are not going to be here. What will happen to the wicked? We find that really there are only two classes in the judgment. We've either declared ourselves wholly on God's side and are saved or we have not declared ourselves wholly on God's side and are lost. No spectators, no middle ground, no fence sitters here at all. There are the righteous dead and the righteous living when Jesus comes. There are the wicked dead and the wicked living when Jesus comes again.


First of all, let's discover what's going to happen to the righteous who are living upon the earth when Jesus comes. You will notice as we compare scripture with scripture how beautifully the mosaic fits together. One verse explains another, and one Bible writer adds a facet of detail to the story that completes the picture that another Bible writer paints for us. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain (the righteous living) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air! and so shall we ever be with the Lord." So here is a description of the second coming of Christ. We discover that the righteous dead are resurrected; the righteous living are translated. All the righteous are taken to heaven to be with Christ. The second coming of Christ, dear friend, is real, literal, visible. Jesus said, "As the lightning cometh from the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:27. And "Every eye shall see him." Revelation 1:7. Then "the dead in Christ shall rise first."


Then God is going to translate the righteous living. The story of Enoch in the Old Testament is a story that always thrills my heart. You remember how, as someone has told it, God and Enoch used to walk and talk together. One day they walked so far they got nearer God's house than they were to Enoch's, and so God said, "Why don't you just come on home with Me?" Now, I don't suppose it was quite that simple, and yet the record tells us that "Enoch walked with God, and he was not for God took Him," translated him alive as a promise for those to whom God has promised to do the same thing for a whole generation of people. I believe that this is the very generation that God has chosen to witness the second coming of Christ. What a thrilling day to be alive! Jesus Himself told us that He would come back and take us just to be where He was.


Now, what happens to the wicked? We've already discovered what happens to the wicked who are dead when Christ returns. Obviously they are not resurrected when Jesus comes back because their resurrection is at the end of the 1,000 years, you see. They haven't been accustomed to responding to the voice of Christ during their lifetime, and when He returns and the call of the Lifegiver goes out, they sleep right through that resurrection. What a sensation is going to go through the hearts and minds of those who are awakened in that second resurrection and they realize that they have slept through the first one, the resurrection of the righteous, and that they have been resurrected now to eternal loss! What is going to happen to the living wicked who are upon the earth when Jesus comes? Well, we discover that they're going to be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:3. You remember, John tells us that they call for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne because of the deeds they have committed, because of their unconfessed sin, because they didn't make their peace with God. Revelation 6:16. They're ashamed to meet Him.


I wish for a moment today that we could picture the reality of the second coming of Christ. Of those who are alive upon the earth, friend, there will be just two classes: those who are ready, those for whom the second coming of Christ is joy and anticipation and thrill beyond compare; and those to whom it brings terror beyond description. I want to be in that first group, don't you? It's worth everything in the world. The righteous are taken to heaven. The wicked are all dead upon the earth, either in their graves or destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming.


What will happen upon the earth during that time? The righteous are gone, the wicked are dead; that leaves only Satan and his angels here. There's nothing for Satan and his evil cohorts to do but inhabit the earth for 1,000 years. That's what the text meant that we read in Revelation 20:2 that Satan was chained for 1,000 years. We use the same terminology today. It isn't as though an angel were going to go up and put a shackle around his ankle or around his wrist and say, "Now you can't leave this planet." However, he's going to be chained here because he'll have nothing to do for 1,000 years except survey the result of his course of rebellion upon this earth.


One thing comes to the forefront here that's important. If the righteous are in heaven and the wicked are all dead upon the earth, then every man's decision will have been made as to where he's going to spend eternity. The decision has already been handed out: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." That's why Jesus said, in Revelation 22:12, "Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."


 

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