Today’s Bible Reading: Zechariah 14:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15; Psalm 148:1-14; Proverbs 31:8-9
The final chapter of Zechariah speaks of the final days before Jesus’ return. The prophet speaks of all the nations of the earth gathering to conquer Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2) much like we read about in Revelation over the past couple of days. Much of the city will be plundered with many killed and captured. Just when it seems that all hope is lost, Jesus will return to rescue His people (Zechariah 14:3).
When Jesus left this earth 40 days after His resurrection He ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Mark 16:19-20) and it is to this same location that He will return (Zechariah 14:4). When He does the mountain will split in two (from west to east) creating a valley through which the Jews remaining in Jerusalem will flee (the Mount of Olives is just to the east of Jerusalem, within walking distance).
After defeating Israel’s enemies, Jesus will rule over the earth (Zechariah 14:9). The mountains surrounding Jerusalem will no longer be needed for defense, so they will be flattened (Zechariah 14:10). After thousands of years of turmoil, the city of peace (that is what “Jerusalem” means) will finally live up to its name.
The armies of the world, motivated by love of self and hate of God, won’t fare so well (Zechariah 14:12). The description of how these people die leads some to believe a nuclear bomb will destroy them. We’ll have to wait and see. Some of Israel’s enemies will survive. Some of those will change their opinion about God (Zechariah 14:16). They will go from hating Him to worshipping Him. But others will still refuse to recognize God as God (Zechariah 14:17). I find this pretty amazing considering all that these people will have experienced over the preceding years. But it shows just how deeply its possible for pride to run in some people.
Yesterday in Revelation we found out the fate of the antichrist and his sidekick. Today we find out what will happen to Satan after Jesus returns.
Its interesting that God sends an angel to seize and bind Satan (Revelation 20:1-2). Here we see that God’s full power is not needed to overpower Satan. Satan is not God’s counterpart. Satan is a created being – an angel – whose evil God is using to bring about His purposes. All that is needed to stop Satan in the strength of an angel – one of Satan’s peers.
This is very significant because it demonstrates that we – human beings – have the power right now to resist Satan. When a person is born-again he/she is filled with God’s Holy Spirit – the full power of God. This power certainly exceeds the power of any angel. If an angel can bind Satan then we also have the ability to exercise control over Satan.
In fact, Satan really has no power over us. He cannot control us in anyway. His only tactic is to deceive (Revelation 20:3). All Satan does is put lies and misinformation into our heads. It is only when we give credence to his deceptions (which we do constantly) that Satan has any power. That is why God commands us to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Too often we live life too quickly. We don’t stop to think about what we are thinking about. The result is bad decisions that hurt ourselves and others.
Interestingly, Satan is not yet thrown into hell at this time. He is only restrained for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:3). During this time Jesus will reign on earth – becoming earth’s first (and last) perfect ruler. After this time period (known as the Millenium) Satan will be released again for a short time.
During the Millenium believers will participate in Jesus’ global government (Revelation 20:4). God does not do everything Himself. He can. But He doesn’t. From the beginning of time He has employed angels and humans to assist Him in His work. This will continue during the Millenium and into eternity.
At the end of the Millenium Satan will be released from his 1,000 year prison sentence and will pick up where he left off . He will once again deceive plenty of people into fighting yet another war against Jesus in Jerusalem, which they lose instantaneously (Revelation 20:7-9). After 1,000 years of a perfect earth – no crimes, no wars, no problems of any kind – people will still rebel against God. This proves that our sinful nature is not caused by our environment or our parents or society. It is within each of us since birth. And it is brought to life by Satan’s deceptions.
Satan himself is thrown into hell for all of eternity (Revelation 20:10) and Jesus then sets up the final judgement of all human beings (Revelation 20:11-15). Notice that this is not a trial. There will be no presenting of evidence or debating facts. God has all the facts. All that will happen here is people will be sentenced. Those who are born-again and have had their sins forgiven will be declared “Not Guilty” and will be sentenced to eternity in heaven. Those who have not had their sins forgiven will have the pay the penalty for those sins and will be sentenced to hell.
Notice that everyone, regardless of how famous or anonymous… how wealthy or poor… will be brought back from the dead to appear before Jesus (Revelation 20:12). No one will escape. Nothing that person did on this earth will grant them any special treatment. All will have to have their lives assessed and will pay an eternal price for not following Jesus.
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