“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were finished. (Revelation 20:1-3)
For years, I have tried to find some kind of evidence that such an even had already come. My dedicated an well-meaning amillennialist friends have been trying to convince me that we are living in that time… and in all honesty, if it were not for these verses, I likely would have been fully-converted to their eschatology.
Yet every day, I wake up to a world, filled with nations (by any definition) that are as deceived as ever (and maybe in some ways-far more). If Satan is, as this viewpoint would imply, currently incarcerated in an abyss, sealed and chained – then God’s chains are awfully weak!
Here we find the problem with ALL end-times theologies. Every single one takes liberties in deciding what is to be literally interpreted, and what is allegory or figurative. Again, ALL have holes, because all require the individual to make sometimes arbitrary (and baseless), even inconsistent determinations. In this specific text, does the writer (John) and the one giving these incredible visions (the LORD) mean that Satan is/was to be literally chained, bound, and sealed in an abyss (see screenshot for definition)? I’ve heard many arguments regarding “thousand years” (χίλιοι ἔτος), though even than is hard to get beyond the language (we can save that for another discussion). Every theological perspective on the end times, crafted over years by theologians far more learned and wise than myself, has holes.
I spent a LOT of years hurrying myself in this area of theology, at the expense of even the gospel.
Is there going to be a mysterious and sudden “rapture” that takes away all true believers so that they don’t suffer under the “Great Tribulation”? Sure sounds great, but is very hard to make a strong case for from Scripture. The strongest is 1 Thessalonians 4, but carefully read that chapter. I don’t see it describing rescue from tribulation, so much as Christ’s return in glory…simply describing the sequence of events (because the audience was losing hope due to the persecution they were seeing). Paul simply is saying: when it all comes about, you won’t miss it-because graves will open, then the rest of us who are in Christ will be “caught up in the air with Him”!
The idea of wrath to come, with the warnings to flee from it… and the promise that the coming wrath is not for the Church, is logically the eternal wrath that will be poured out on all unrighteousness of men. In my case, God already poured out the wrath I deserved…on Christ who took my place, giving me His righteousness.
Flee from wrath, means to run TO Christ.
And to those tragically optimistic post-mill friends: is this world becoming more Christian? More righteous? I would LOVE to see an overflow of the gospel, changing hearts and minds to functionally convert the entire world to Christ. But is that what the text used to defend that idea is really saying? Or is it a reference to a day coming under Christ’s direct, and present rule and reign? Again – plenty to discuss.
Or are we now in the days described in 2 Timothy 4:3, with the literal playing out of Romans 1 before our eyes? A veritable world-wide rebellion against Christ?
Just some thoughts as I watch the world melt down in wickedness…As I long to see Jesus and His righteousness, however and by whatever sequence of events are already ordained to come to pass. God is still God, Christ is still my savior – and Jesus IS coming back, literally to rule and reign in a way this world has never known before. A time that will be ushered in by the wrath of God being poured out as this world has never experienced or can even fathom. The question is – whether you are hoping for a swift trip out before the biggest suffering takes place via a “rapture”, or are hoping in a world-wide awakening to the gospel where Christians rules the earth… or are an adherent of one of the many various theological perspectives –
ARE YOU READY?
Judgment IS coming – and God has unequivocally said that HE will pour out HIS wrath on ALL unrighteousness of men. If you are not saved by grace, through faith – the total gift of God, then you are most definitely NOT ready.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)