Friday, December 9, 2016

Revelation 20:1-6

Revelation 20:1-6
And I saw an angel while coming down out of heaven while having the key to the Abyss and a great chain upon his hand.  And he seized the dragon – the ancient serpent who is a devil and Satan – and he bound him for a thousand years.  And he threw him into the Abyss.  And he shut it and placed a seal upon him in order that he should not lead the nations any further astray until the thousand years should be finished.  After these years it is necessary to let him loose for a short time.  And I saw thrones, those who sat upon them - and judgment was being given to them, the souls of the ones who have been beheaded for the sake of the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who did not bow down to worship neither the beast nor his image – and they did not take the mark upon the forehead and upon their hand.  And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The remaining ones of the dead did not live until the thousand years should be concluded.  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are the ones who have a part in the first resurrection.  Upon these the second death does not have any authority.  But they will be priests of God and of Christ.  And they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Today we begin to see the downfall of the dragon itself.  Yesterday we talked about the three-pronged plan of God to deal with sin and its effects upon the world.  This chapter is the end of that very story.  An angel comes down with chains and a key and binds him up.  God has dealt with sin in Christ on the cross.  By this point in the story, God will have dealt with humanity as well.  With both of these things taken care of, God can now remove Satan in order to show us what life without the temptation of sin will be like.  For this reason, Satan is bound.  He is thrown into Abyss for a fair amount of time.

Are you surprised to see God seemingly put off the final judgment on Satan for a time?  Why do you think God would bind Satan rather than judge Him now?  What does this chapter have to say about God’s power in comparison to Satan’s power?

Second Thought:

Once Satan is bound, the kingdom of Christ is established.  Those who are in Christ rule with Him.  That doesn’t mean that we rule.  Christ rules.  Christ is in charge.  As is the case with all that Christ does, He invites us to participate with Him.  He desires His followers to participate with Him.  That is simply how God works, and it is good to see His consistency in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and even into the time eternal.  God does not abandon us; He is continually inviting us to participate in His work.

Where has God invited you to participate in His kingdom?  What do you think it will be like to rule with Christ?

Third Thought:

We also have the verses regarding the second death and those who are not a part of the first resurrection.  At this point, we should come back and talk about why vocabulary is important.  It is important to understand that Satan is thrown into the Abyss, not Hell.  The Abyss is the place of the dead.  The Abyss is the place in ancient mythologies where dead people go in order to await judgment.  It is not the place where the people go after being judged; that would be Hell.  What this means is that at this point of the story Satan has been locked up in the Abyss with those who have no place with God.  The part of the story that deals with them will be told soon enough.  For now, Christ will reign with those who are in Him while Satan is locked up in the Abyss with those who have no place in Christ.  The second death, which will not touch those who are in Christ, will be reserved for those who are not in Christ.

Are you surprised to see what appears to be a double time for judgment?  Why do you think God would separate the times of judgment for those who are in Christ and those who are not in Christ?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 20:7-15
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