Summary: We need to prepare for the future earthly reign of Jesus by the way we live our lives right now.
Over the past few weeks, it has been interesting to watch what is going on in the Middle East as the citizens of nation after nation have risen up to try and topple their governments and install new leaders who they believe will rule with truth and justice. But the fact is that no government here on earth, regardless of the intentions of its leaders, is capable of governing in a manner that is completely righteous and just because every governmental leader is a sinful human being.
But there is coming a day when Jesus will establish His righteous rule here on earth. And that will be a glorious day for His followers as well, since they will get to reign with Him in His kingdom.
Before we read the first part of Revelation 20 this morning, let’s take a moment to review where we are in our journey. We’ve seen God, in many cases through His agents - the angels - carry out His judgment through a series of seals, trumpets and bowls. Those events have served both to punish the ungodly and to test the godly. But even though men recognize these events as coming from the hand of God, most still refuse to repent and commit their lives to Jesus. We’ve also seen Satan operating through his agents – the Antichrist and the false prophet. And through those agents, he is able to deceive much of the world and persuade them to assemble for the purpose of waging war against Jesus. We’ve seen God’s mercy on full display as time after time he has sent witnesses – both humans and angels – to proclaim the gospel and give man numerous chances to repent and turn to Him. And finally, last week, we saw the return of Jesus, followed by the armies of heaven, and His victory over all who would oppose Him at the battle of Armageddon.
It is only after the culmination of all these events that Jesus will finally establish His physical reign here on earth. Turn in your Bibles to Revelation 20 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 1:
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 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.
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. 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. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.