The Study of Last Things
by James T. Bartsch
Learning about the Future to Live Better Today
"When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is as the sand of the seashore." (Rev. 20:7-8)
The Release of Satan from the Abyss and the
1. Throughout the entirety of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, Satan will be bound and sealed in the Abyss (Rev. 20:1-3). God’s purpose will be that the Arch-Deceiver might be prevented from deceiving the nations of the earth during Christ’s reign. The duration of Satan’s detainment will be 1000 years. But after the thousand years have been completed, Satan will be released from the Abyss for a brief time (Rev. 20:3).
2. What will be God’s strategy in releasing the Devil and allowing him to roam free upon the earth again, even for a brief time? My understanding is this. The nations of the earth who will have somehow survived the horrors of the Tribulation until the Second Coming of Christ will all have been judged by Him (Matt. 25:31-46). Those who had been judged to be faithful subjects of King Jesus by virtue of their treatment of Jesus’ believing Jewish brothers will have been privileged to enter His Kingdom. The rest will have been sent their way into eternal punishment (Matt. 25:46).
3. Those believing in Christ from among the Nations of the Earth will live peacefully for a thousand years under the reign of Christ in their natural bodies. At the begining, every one of them will be believers in Jesus Christ. Since they will live in their natural bodies, they will reproduce after the manner of the human race. Some of those children will follow in their parents’ footsteps and also believe in Jesus as their King. But others apparently will not. With Satan absent the earth, the unbelievers will not outwardly revolt against the King. But their hearts will not be with Him. Their allegiance will be external, but not internal. God’s purpose in releasing Satan from the Abyss will be to expose the unbelievers for who they really are.
4. What is amazing is that all of these Gentiles will experience the nearest thing to Utopia this side of heaven will ever known outside the Garden of Eden. Conditions during the Millennium will be ideal. There will be universal peace. No wars, and no defense budgets, and no taxes collected for defense budgets. Disease and illness will likely be greatly curtailed – almost non-existent. People will live long lives – as long, I believe as the ancient patriarchs lived (Genesis 5:1-32; Isaiah 65:19-25). There will be great prosperity (Amos 9:13). There will be harmony in the animal kingdom and between animals and man (Isa. 11:6-9 ; 65:25). There will be justice and integrity throughout the earth (Isa. 11:1-5). And despite all of this, there will be some among the Gentile inhabitants of earth’s population who will not truly believe in the King. They will know they dare not say anything publicly, but inside, a great many of them will chafe at the regime. Would they ever get a chance to express their true feelings? The answer is Yes. God will give them the opportunity to put into action the quiet rebellion they feel within. That opportunity will be the release of Satan from the Abyss.
5. When Satan is released from the Abyss he will direct his energies and his great guile in undermining Christ’s regime upon Earth. He will seek to deceive and gain the allegiance of people who are members of the nations of the earth which are at every extremity of the planet (Rev. 20:7-8). The designation John gives these nations is “Gog and Magog.” He is borrowing language from Ezek. 38:1-2. In that Ezekiel passage, which will be fulfilled some time during the Tribulation, God will lure nations such as Persia (Iran) and Ethiopia to invade Israel in a time of peace and quiet. But God’s objective will be to destroy the invading army. Similarly, over a thousand years later, God will use Satan to deceive unbelievers in the world that they can somehow succeed in overthrowing the regime of Christ, whom they have now come to hate with diabolic intensity. Much as Satan will attempt to destroy Israel during the Tribulation (Ezek. 38:1-16), so again He will attempt to destroy the administration of Christ and Christ Himself at the close of the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-9).
6. Under Satan’s malevolent influence, hordes of people from among the nations of the earth will marshal themselves to revolt against the King (Psa. 2:1-3).They will be as numerous as the sand upon the seashore (Rev. 20:8). They will surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city of Jerusalem (Rev. 20:9). The true condition of their hearts will have been exposed. Their desire is to kill the King, liquidate everyone in His regime, and take over the world.
7. Just as God will have lured Gog of Magog and all his allies into a trap to destroy them in the Tribulation (Ezek. 38:1-39:24), so God will use Satan to lure the rebels into revolting against King Jesus at the close of the Millennium. The destruction of Gog and his allies will have been devastating in the Tribulation (Ezek. 38:1-39:24). And the destruction of Gog and Magog will be even more devastating at the close of the Millennium. Just when the cohorts inspired by Satan are about to begin their onslaught against the Holy City and the encampment gathered to protect it, fire will abruptly descend from heaven with a roar and will incinerate the enemies of the King (Rev. 20:9)! Screams will erupt all around Jerusalem as Christ’s enemies are mercilessly consumed by the fire from heaven! At last, all will be quiet. The believing survivors will briefly look in horror at the demise of their enemies. But then praise to God and to the King will erupt in triumph. Christ and Good have won! Evil will have been defeated!
8. This will be Satan’s final revolt. The Devil, the Arch Overthrower, will be seized, and will be hurled into the Lake of Fire and Sulphur. This will be the same place where the Beast and the False Prophet have suffered since their judgment at Christ’s Second Coming. And all three, the Unholy Trinity, will be tormented day and night into the ages of the ages (Rev. 20:10).
9. What does this teach us? It teaches us that all humans will revolt against God and against His King, Jesus unless God intentionally reaches out, touches their hearts, chooses them, and calls them to Himself. All humans need to be redeemed from their inevitably sinful hearts. Only those God has chosen will respond in faith to Himself and to His appointed King, Jesus. The rest will follow Satan into utter misery and eternal torment. How sad! Only chosen angels will serve God and Christ, and only chosen humans will serve God and Christ. If God does not extend mercy and grace both to angels and to humans by choosing them apart from any merit of their own, they will follow the Arch Deceiver and turn against Him and His anointed King. Thanks be to God for his choosing of some humans to salvation and of some angels to fidelity. Otherwise all, without exception, would turn against their Creator forever!
(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995.)
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Updated April 20, 2021