Summary: Choose to reign with Christ or you will burn with Satan.
One morning, 4-year-old Kevin and his grandpa went out to buy donuts. On the way, Grandpa turned to Kevin and asked, “Which way is heaven?” Kevin pointed to the sky.
“Which way is hell?” Kevin pointed towards the floor of the truck.
Grandpa continued, “And where are you going?”
“Dunkin' Donuts,” Kevin replied. (Kathy Chapman, North Lauderdale, FL, “Heart to Heart,” Today's Christian Woman)
That’s the way most people live their lives. They don’t give any thought to their ultimate destiny, only to where they’re going today. As a result, their lives have no real direction or purpose, and they end up wasting their lives in empty pursuits. They end up wasting their lives in pointless detours that go nowhere.
Is that what you want for your life? If not, then I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 20, Revelation 20, where we can see our ultimate destiny. In fact, Revelation 20 shows us 2 ultimate destinies to pursue.
Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit [i.e., a maximum security prison for demons] 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. (ESV)
There is coming a day when Satan will be restrained. He will be chained in the PIT!
At the Ellsworth Correctional Facility, problem prisoners are placed in what the call “disciplinary segregation.” The inmates themselves call it “THE PIT.”
When we lived in Ellsworth, I had an opportunity to visit a prisoner in THE PIT once. He was in a little room on the other side of a big, steel door, and there was only one way he could communicate with me on the other side of that door. He had to lie down on the floor just so he could talk through a very small, low opening in the door.
Prisoners in THE PIT are completely locked down. Their activities are severely limited, and they have no contact at all with other prisoners.
Well, there is coming a day when God will put Satan in THE PIT! Hallelujah! He won’t be around to wreak havoc in this world like he’s been doing for thousands of years. He won’t be able to deceive the nations while he’s there. In fact, he will have no contact with anybody at all.
Isaiah, the prophet, describes what those days will be like. He says, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9)
When Satan is out of the way, there will finally be peace on earth. Hallelujah! What a day that will be!
Satan will be restrained, and the saints will reign. The believers will rule the world with Christ.
Revelation 20:4a Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. (ESV)
That’s us! – We who have trusted Christ in this age before the Tribulation. We are the ones given the authority to judge. Jesus promised his disciples that they would sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29-30). And the Apostle Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 6 that we would judge the world, we who are believers in Christ.
Revelation 20:4b Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (ESV)
These are the tribulation saints, i.e., those who will trust Christ during the Tribulation. They will come to faith in Christ after the rapture of the church, after the current believers are taken out of this world, and lose their heads for it. Even so, God will raise them from the dead, and they will reign with Christ for a thousand years, along with those of us who trust Him today.