1. A few weeks ago we heard heaven celebrate the victory over the false church. We saw how there would be a great wedding feast when the bride and the lamb would celebrate their wedding. And we saw Christ defeat all the forces of evil.
2. As we have seen time and time again, the book of Revelation often describes the same event from different vantage points or perspectives. The victory by Christ in chapter 19 depicts Armageddon which we have seen before, on time in chapter 16. And we have often seen that the events we read about represent the entire dispensation between Christ’s ascension and the day when He will return in glory.
3. The passage we begin with today is one that is interpreted in various ways. While I will briefly share what these interpretations are we will concentrate on the interpretation which is Reformed, which ties in to how we have been interpreting the entire book and I believe is the correct view. A few years ago, I could not have said this. But through my studies for this sermon series I have accepted this view as the most probable.
4. John sees another vision. There are two parts to this vision. Two events that occur to the dragon. One at the beginning of the thousand years and one at the end.
5. John sees an angel coming down from heaven having the key to the Abyss and holding a great chain. The Abyss is the home of the devil and his angels. The key and chain should not be taken literally as actual objects but the represent the fact that Satan is bound by an actual decree from heaven. He is bound, thrown in the Abyss which is locked and sealed over him. This all represented the fact that Satan, the devil, will be unable to deceive the nations for 1,000 years after which he will be released for a short time.
6. The big question for debate is "what is the thousand years? when will it take place?
a. One view is the postmillenial view. This view is that the world will become Christian as the church establishes the kingdom in preparation for Christ’s return. This kingdom will be a time of peace and prosperity - the millenium. At the end of the millenium, Christ will return.
b. Another view, the one which is presented on many television shows such as Van Impe and in many book, is the premillenial view/ That the world will continue to grow evil until the time when Christ returns. At this time the first resurrection will occur. There will be a literal reign of Christ on the earth. At the end of the millenium, there will be second resurrection at which time there will be a final judgement and God’s kingdom will be established forever. This view looks at our passages as occurring one after another rather that restating the same events from different perspectives.
c. The reformed view and the one we present is the amillenial view. That view is that we are in the millennium today. That the thousand years is not exactly 1,000 years. But that it is a symbolic number, a number of completeness - 10 x 10 x 10. And that it represents the present age, the time between Christ’s first and second coming.
This view ties in with much of scripture. Christ only establishes his kingdom once at the end times, returns only once. There is only one resurrection and there is only one judgement that takes place. We could spend the entire time arguing why the amillennial view is right but instaed I will gladly suggest readings to you if you wish to study this further.
7. Satan is bound from doing one thing, from deceiving the nations. That means deceiving those nations that are in the four corners of the earth, as we read in vs.7. These nations, represented by Gog and Magog are the nations that we already talked about. Those who would gather together at Armageddon to fight the anti-Christian nations or nominally Christian nations. These are what at one time were considered the pagan nations. In the Old Testament Satan incited nations to fight against God’s people, the nation of Israel. That includes the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. These also may be the first 6 of the 7 horns of the beast.
But after Christ defeated, in essence, Satan at the cross, he has been bound to not deceive any nation into attacking the new Israel, the church, the people of God. But that will change for a short period of time at the end-times. That attempt by the pagan nations will be short-lived and in fact they will end up destroying the anti-Christian nations.