By Stephen W. Hiemstra
And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD (Ezek 37:13-14).
How do you view the future?
Because we know that the future is in Christ, we can afford to live life to the fullest and take risks to advance the kingdom of God. According to Apostle Paul, the full armor of Christ, includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the sword of Spirit and helmet of the hope of salvation (Eph 6:13-17; 1 Thes 1:8). Revelation 20 focuses on that hope.
Like the previous chapter, Revelation 20 has three themes: the binding of the Satan (vv 1-3), the millennial rule of the saints with Christ (vv 4-6), and the judgment, including the final defeat of Satan (vv 7-15).
The binding of Satan parallels the account of the dragon that we saw in Revelation 12:7-11. There we are told, for example, that the angel binding Satan is Michael. The eschaton begins, however, with the work of the church as we learn from Christ himself– I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven–as he receives the report of the seven-two evangelists (Luke 10:17-18).
Verse 4 holds the key to understanding the millennial rule of the saints. Where did the Apostle John see thrones, and souls of the martyrs, and resurrected saints? Clearly, John’s vision is a vision of heaven. In heaven, the millennial rule of Christ has already begun.
The judgment scene has an interesting twist. Satan is released and he deceives the nations (especially Gog a prince from Magog (Ezek 38:2)) into rebellion against God at Armageddon, as we have seen before in different forms (Rev 11:18; 16:16; 19:17-21). The idea that Satan works God’s purposes, of course, is a theme in Job 1.
The future belongs to Christ. From beginning to end, our God reigns (Isa 52:7). We are not to fear. In the meantime, put on the full armor of Christ.
- How do you view the future?
a. What does the end of times look like?
b. How do we live in view of this vision of the future?
- What is the nature of Christian hope?
- Revelation 20 has three main themes. What are they? (vv 1-3, 4-6, and 7-15)
- What does the binding of Satan remind you of? Have we seen it before?
- What does the millennial rule of Christ look like? (v. 4)
- How does judgment take place?
- Who is Magog? (Ezek 38:2)
- Who is in charge? (Isaiah 52:7)
- What is the lesson of the armor of Christ? (Eph 6:13-17; 1 Thes 1:8)
Chapter 20 of Revelation: The Binding, Millennium, and Judgment
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