Conspiracy of the Ages (Part 3)

C. REV 20 is describing a time when the devil would be bound for a period referred to as a “thousand years.” 1. This binding would put a stop to his on-going deceptive tactics with the nations for the duration of the thousand years. 2. After the thousand years expires, the devil would be loosed to revive his game plan, deceiving the nations once more to ultimately destroy all opposition to his government. 3. NOTE: If the devil were able to eradicate the churches of God (of which the members are called saints) he would have then overthrown God, Whose will was to preserve the church. MAT 16:18; EPH 3:21. D. By the comparative study method mentioned above, let Scripture define the word “nations” as here used in REV 20:3, 8. 1. “Nations” = “Gentiles” (as opposed to Jews). ROM 15:10 c/w DEU 32:43; ROM 15:11 c/w PSA 117:1. 2. These verses in REV 20 are therefore describing a time when the Gentiles would be released from the deception of the devil, then later be brought back again under the yoke of his conspiratorial scheme. E. Compare this with what we have already seen about the desire and program of Satan to establish world government. 1. That program went ALMOST unchallenged until the first advent of Christ, then collapsed, but is now gaining great momentum again. 2. There was one nation in O.T. times that generally stood apart from the system: Israel. 3. Israel was singled out by God for particular blessings and distinctions. ROM 9:3-4. 4. The Gentile nations were left in idolatrous darkness, ignorantly conforming to the devil's program. EPH 4:17-19 c/w 1CO 10:20; ACT 14:13-18 c/w ACT 17:29-30. 5. The CHIEF advantage that Israel had was the word of God. ROM 3:1-2 c/w DEU 4:5-6; PSA 147:19-20. a. With the truth of God in hand Israel knew that there was one true Creator God Who was in heaven and that service to Him was to be in a specific fashion, separate from the manners of all other religions. b. By His word, Israel knew that God reviled the spirit of ecumenism which is such an obvious player in Satan's scheme. DEU 12:30-32; ZEP 1:5; ACT 4:11-12; 2CO 6:14-18. 6. Israel also knew by the Scripture that God in heaven had the keys of the after-life, not Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar or any other man. a. When walking according to God's word, Israel was free from the spiritual bondage of the Gentiles who saw the emperor as divine. b. Men will capitulate to gross excesses of political authority if they believe that authority is divine. 7. The word of God is thus the primary hindrance to Satan's grand goal of true world government which admits to no rival authority, particularly a kingdom of God. 8. With the coming of Christ, the kingdom of God was taken from Israel and given to the church which became emphatically comprised of Gentiles. ROM 10:19 c/w MAT 21:43; 1PE 2:9. 9. The word of God (Scripture) once exclusive to Israel now went into all the earth. MAR 16:15, 20; ACT 1:8; COL 1:5-6, 23. 10. God called a special apostle for the task of carrying the light of God's word to the darkened Gentile world. ACT 9:15; 13:46-47; 26:16-18. 11. When received by the Gentiles as the word of God, it effected great reform in their lives. 1TH 2:13; 1:9-10. 12. Realizing that no man had the keys of hell and death except the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ (REV 1:18), believers everywhere were freed from their spiritual bondage of fear. HEB 2:14-15. 13. As a result of the dissemination of God's word, especially the “more sure word of prophecy” of the apostles, Satan was effectively BOUND from achieving his goals. F. In REV 20:1-3, an angel binds Satan. There is only one angel Who has the power to bind Satan. That is Jesus Christ, the angel or messenger of the covenant. MAL 3:1; GEN 48:16. G. Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ bound Satan at His first advent. 1. Satan is the prince of this world. JOH 12:31; EPH 2:2. 2. His kingdom is composed of principalities. EPH 6:12. 3. Christ spoiled principalities and powers by His death and resurrection. COL 2:14-15. 4. Jesus taught that binding PRECEDES spoiling. MAT 12:29. 5. Binding does not necessarily mean total restriction. ACT 24:23, 27. 6. Only with eyes of spiritual understanding can this victory be seen. HEB 2:8 c/w 1CO 15:25-27; 2CO 4:18; 5:7. H. The binding would last for the thousand years. 1. Thousand is a term God uses to symbolically describe a complete number or period of time known only to Him. PSA 50:10 c/w PSA 105:8. 2. Given the symbolic nature of the prophecies in Revelation, the thousand years of binding here spoken of should not be taken to mean a natural period of time consisting of 365,000 twenty-four hour days. 3. It rather refers to a complete period of time known to God during which Satan would be bound, howsoever many natural years that involved. I. Thus, the reason the world empire program was put on hold was due to the restriction placed on the devil by the spread of the word of God which is the basis of the Christian faith. 1. This agrees with Paul's observation that the God-usurping “mystery of iniquity” was not inactive but it was hindered. 2TH 2:7. a. Let: “trans. To hinder, prevent, obstruct, stand in the way of (a person, thing, action, etc.).” b. See also ROM 1:13 for a similar usage of “let.” 2. The spread of the gospel to the Gentiles was described as turning the world upside down (ACT 17:6). A major shift in human events was underway. 3. The Roman Empire recognized the political implications of the Christian faith which implied that Caesar or the State had only derived and limited temporal power. Thus, despots like Nero sought to destroy Christians. 4. Emperor Julian's dying words are supposed to have been, “Vicisti, Galilaee!” which means, “Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!” J. Satan's dilemma: The key to world government is the elimination of God's word which declares his defeat and exposes his agenda, supplanting his own doctrine in its place. But God has promised to preserve His words forever. PSA 12:6-7; MAT 24:35. 1. Remember that the only people for whom the word of God has a beneficial and effectual working are God's children who receive it in faith as God's word. 1CO 1:18; 2:14; 1TH 2:13. 2. Believers are the salt of the earth by which it is seasoned and saved (MAT 5:13) but only as long as they retain their savour. 3. If Satan could deceive God's people into believing that God's Holy Scripture was lost, the net effect would be the same as if there was no inspired Scripture. 4. Paul was concerned that the churches might be beguiled, or deceived in the same manner AS WAS EVE. 2CO 11:3 c/w 1CO 15:45. 5. GEN 2:16-17 c/w GEN 3:1-6. By CASTING DOUBT on the words of God, Satan plunged mankind into death and his program was underway. Satan's primary tactic of deception is casting doubt on plain truth. a. Remember, a basket of healthy food is of no saving value to the starving person who is deceived into thinking that it's all made of plastic. b. If the “plastic food” deception is insufficient to undermine the effect of the Holy Scripture in the mind of the Christian, Satan has another powerful means of accomplishing his goal: crafty footnotes and such like which set forth positions contrary to the plain text of Scripture and are revered more than the Scripture. 6. Since about 1870 there has been an onslaught of varying Bible versions in the English language, all of which have cast doubt on one Bible that changed the course of world history for hundreds of years: the AV1611 or King James Version. a. It is beyond dispute that AV1611 became the vehicle of a sustained revolution in the minds of English-speaking people which had profound social and political implications. b. Whereas there was once a time when English-speaking Christians in general had no doubt that they had God's word in their hand, that has changed. c. Today, relatively few English-speaking Christians believe that there is an infallible Bible preserved in perfect detail down to the last jot and tittle. As such, how effectual could that word even be on people so numbed and deceived? Is it any wonder we see this world accelerating towards world government? d. One might wonder if the times of the releasing of Satan to “deceive the nations once more” are upon us. e. Remember that this deceptive conspiracy is ultimately against Jesus Christ, Whose kingdom must be preserved in order to maintain His sovereignty and therefore the final battle will be against the camp of the saints. REV 20:8-9.
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