in the Christian Library
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. The present section of Revelation is one of the most
hotly debated chapters in the Bible.
1. There are a number of symbols to interpret and extreme
caution should be taken so that we will not be guilty of fashioning Scripture
to suit our beliefs.
2. Our approach centers around the question, "What was
the meaning of this scene to John and his readers in 96 A.D.?" "What is
there in this section which could bring comfort to the beleaguered saints?"
3. The theme of this chapter is the overthrow of Satan.
We find a symbolic setting forth the final victory of persecuted saints
in Asia Minor.
II. Throughout this book we have observed how the theme,
"Victory In Jesus" has been used to encourage believers as they face the
struggles and trials of this earth.
1. Christ is not unmindful of His afflicted disciples.
He offers them comfort so they will remain faithful to the end.
2. As Revelation ends the church receives the clearest
picture of victory given yet.
3. This chapter details the triumph of Christ over Satan
and this time the picture of the final Judgement is so clear the ppressed
believers will know for sure that Christ and His church would triumph!
4. Look closely now at this comforting message.
III. In an overview of this chapter we see that it is
summarized in symbolic pictures. An angel came down from heaven with a
key to the abyss and a strong chain in his hand. He chained the devil and
cast him into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years in order that Satan might
not deceive the nations for 1,000 years, after this he was to be loosed
for a little time. Another scene shows the fate of those who had lost their
lives for the testimony of Jesus. These had refused to worship the beast
or his image. They are shown alive and reigning with Christ for 1,000 years.
This is called the first resurrection, and blessings are pronounced upon
those who have a part in it. When the 1,000 years of the devil's being
bound were up, he was loosed and began his old tactics once again: deceiving
the nations and gathering them for an attack on the city of God. Fire came
down out of heaven and destroyed them. The devil was cast into the lake
of fire where the beast and false prophet had been cast in chapter 19.
Judgement from the great white throne followed.
I. VICTORY! Promised in picture (19:1-10)
A. God shows us that victory is possible because Satan
has been bound (v. 1-3).
1. Satan is chained and cast into the abyss for 1,000
years. This symbolizes his inability to function freely in the world.
2. His binding took place when the Lamb triumphed on earth
(Colossians 2:15; Matthew 12:29; Hebrews 2:14).
3. Believers need to know that Satan is bound so that
all who believe on Christ are free from his "deception" (Romans 10:11).
But Satan is still loose and able to deceive all who fail to obey God (Rv
4. Satan may be able to kill the physical body but never
the spiritual body of the saint (Matthew 10:28).
B. God shows us that the chosen, called, and faithful
are the true victors! (v. 4-6).
1. John sees the triumph of believers who had suffered
the anguish of the attack of the beast, false prophet, and Great Harlot.
2. These saints are victorious! They are no longer under
the throne asking "How long?" They are on the thrones rejoicing and reigning.
The cup of God's wrath has been emptied. The oppressors are defeated, the
3. These saints reign 1,000 years - not literal. 10 is
a complete number and 1,000 is symbolic of ultimate completeness. Thus
a picture of perfect blessedness (cf. 22:5).
4. This was a message which would bring great comfort
to the saints in Asia Minor!
C. God presents a picture of Satan's utter defeat (v.
1. We have seen this before (6:12-17; 11:7-13, 18-19;
14:8-20; 16:12-21; 19:11-21), and once again it is announced and described
as happening in a short time!
2. Even though he has been defeated, Satan still tries
to destroy Christ. He gathers his evil forces and surrounds the saints,
but before any harm can come Christ returns and Satan is defeated.
3. It seems that this world will be influenced by Satan
to become more and more wicked until the Judgement comes, not by water
but by fire! (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1:7).
II. VICTORY! Presented to the persevering (20:11-15)
A. Believers are told what will take place when Satan
is finally defeated - Judgement!
1. A great white throne - much greater in detail than
described in chaps 4-5.
2. As it appears heaven and earth flee (2 Peter 3:10;
3. All men will be resurrected and final sentence will
be given (John 5:28-29).
4. Judgement will be just and solemn. Note the solemn
picture here (v. 12; Daniel 7:10).
B. Here is a message of cheer --
1. Victory is presented to saints.
2. Total defeat is presented to Satan.
III. From this picture of victory we notice the following
lessons of great value.
A. Let us learn that Christ is not bound today and those
who obey him will be protected (Colossians 2:15; Rv 7:3; Rv 9:4-5; 14:1;
Matthew 10:28; Rv 20:6).
B. Let us understand that even though Satan is bound he
is still able to work in the hearts of wicked people.
1. His influence is not totally destroyed. His evil allies
2. Satan can still do much if he is permitted by man! (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:25; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
C. Let us understand it is far better to suffer a few
years on earth with Christ and spend eternity with Him than to suffer for
eternity by spending a few years of peace on earth (Romans 8:18). Let us
learn that Satan's deceptions will eventually be exposed (v. 10). He deceives
many today into thinking they can fight God and win!
D. Let us take sober note of verse 15.
I. Revelation is a series of images given for the assurance
of God's people. Christians can believe that Christ is going to be victorious.
For the Christians of John's day this assurance was given by showing Christ's
victory over the system of Emperor worship. This same assurance is given
to Christians in every age. Find the greatest enemy of Christ (whether
corrupt religion, godless governments, social anarchy), put it in the place
of emperor worship, and see its eventual failure as the living Christ,
the redeeming Lamb, marches to victory over chaotic world conditions.
II. Do you share in this sweet victory of Jesus? Will
you join with the redeemed and rejoice in experiencing the "first resurrection"
with Christ? (Romans 6:4, 8-11; Ephesians 2:1, 6; Colossians 1:13; 2:10ff;
John 5:24-29). Is your name in the Lamb's Book of Life?
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes
at no cost to others.