7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
~ Rev 20:7-10
When I was a teen and started to understand some of the things that the Church was teaching, there were many shocks along the way. The notion that the Sabbath and holy days were still valid, and that many “Christian” holidays were actually pagan in origin and abhorrent to God, these were a bit of a shock. The logic that Christ said He would be dead “three days and three nights”, and that could not fit between so-called “Good Friday” and “Easter Sunday” seemed so obvious that I could not explain why I had not thought of that before. The idea that man did not have an immortal soul and that the Bible even says a “soul” can “die” was just as much of a shock that so many never read their Bibles and just went along with whatever was being taught by men.
Still, that was separating falsehood and deception from the truth. However, sometimes the truth was also shocking. God lets Satan loose after 1,000 years? How is that even thinkable?
Skeptics are fond of ridiculing the idea of Satan, and especially question that, if there were a God, then why does He allow such evil to flourish in this world? It’s a very human question, and, therefore, it is not an unjustified question. It is only when it is used in a manner which impugns the character of God that it goes too far.
However, it is one thing to allow Satan to carry on right now, but to then imprison him just to let him loose later? That flies in the face of what most people would call common sense. It is downright shocking, actually, when you think about it. True is the Scripture when it says:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~ Isa 55:8-9
Human beings almost invariably take the short-term view. Some of that is because we ourselves have an insignificant lifespan in comparison to the age of the universe. Some of it is also our natural proclivity to do what is right in our own eyes and is a benefit to ourselves. It is difficult for human beings to take the long view.
God Uses Evil
It is true that the Scriptures say that God does not create evil. He may cause events that will punish evil doers, and thus, in their eyes, evil comes upon them. In reality, though, it isn’t so much “evil” as it is the just reward for iniquity.
Words often have multiple meanings, and Hebrew is no exception. In fact, one of the proofs of British-Israelism, in my mind, is that the parallels between Hebrew and English are many — more than is normal between different languages. Evil can mean unrighteous actions, thoughts and deeds, but it can also mean calamity or disaster. We must look at the context.
However, evil does exist, both in ideological and practical forms. The fact that God does not create evil does not stop him from using evil.
19 And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith?
21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.
22 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.
~ 2Ch 18:19-22
You have to look no further than the Book of Job to realize that God uses evil beings. In fact, Satan has often played right into God’s hands. By killing the Christ, He unwittingly furthered the plan of God rather than derail it.
Why allow Satan to continue? Why Satan shall be loosed for a season, and how does that further God’s plan?
Going back to the last post, Adam and Eve were in a perfect environment, and yet they allowed disappointment to enter their minds and hearts. They listened to the lies of the evil one, and they became dissatisfied with their situation. The Children of Israel came out of Egypt and were led by God Himself, and yet they allowed disappointment, dissatisfaction and lack of trust to overcome them until that whole generation missed out on entering the Promised Land.
Today, we must fight on three fronts: Satan and his temptations, the world and our own carnal nature. Two of those will not exist in the Millennium. Mortal people will start out the 1,000 of Christ’s rule in shock and awe. They will tear apart weapons of war and use them for good. They will take time to heal, and they will pass along the stories to the next generation.
How long will that last, however? One thing that is clear in the Bible is that the first-hand lessons of one generation are hard to pass down to the next. Adam and Eve partook of the tree which forced them to learn good and evil by experience rather than by revelation from God. Egypt brought up a generation that “knew not” Joseph. They forgot the good he had brought. In reality, it was because they did not experience the famine first-hand that they diminished in their eyes and their legends the role that Joseph had played. We see the generation after Joshua doing quite well, but soon there arose a generation that was given into captivity. And on, and on, and on…
There will come a time in the Millennium that a physically and mentally weak generation will die off. Prosperity will flourish. People will live longer. Evil will not long be tolerated. They will forget that they are but carnal humans, not in the least a match for Satan, and they will begin to take things for granted.
In reality, isn’t that Satan’s real role, at least after he proclaimed himself the enemy of God? Isn’t the real reason he is still around is to be an example of how wrong thinking can destroy an entire society if not dealt with? Is he not really here to provide antibodies to the diseases of pride and arrogance in which we so easily fall victim to? Those in the latter part of the Millennium simply will not have those antibodies, and their natural proclivity to take it all for granted will have to be dealt with once and for all.
That is why this takes place right before the second resurrection. Those in that resurrection will have already seen the destruction and mayhem of the rule of Satan, unlike those in the latter part of the Millennium. It will also serve as a reminder for those coming up out the graves when the story is told to them that we are but weak, mortal human beings that can easily do ourselves in.
Ultimately, it will be a lesson that without God’s help, we are all similarly doomed. It is only by God placing boundaries upon Satan, just as He did in the case of Job, that we as a race can even survive for a few thousand years (and even then, God had to intervene multiple times). We are no match for Satan. We are no match for his world. In fact, we are no match for our own hearts (Jer 17:9).
Why? Because Satan does not just show us what evil is. He shows us what we are and what we could become without God’s intervention.
I have heard a lot of good sermons this Feast. I have heard a lot of good sermons this year. However, I think nothing more profound came from the pulpit and hit me between the eyes and stung my heart more than the statement that we must not simply repent for what we have done but for who and what we are. That was the lesson Job finally had to learn:
6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
~ Job 42:6
Why Satan Shall Be Loosed?
Other people are a mirror of what we are. We must learn to see ourselves in others’ eyes, else we only think good things of ourselves.
Satan is a reflection of the entire society. He pictures the worst of human nature and then some. He is a mirror of what we will become unless God intervenes. Satan shall be loosed for a season in order that those in the Millennium will see what they really are.
We must repent of not just what we have done but for what we are.
This is the lesson Adam and Eve needed to learn. This is the lesson that those that lived before the Flood needed to learn. This is the lesson that Sodom and Gomorrah needed to learn. This is the lesson that Job finally did learn. This is the lesson that Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, had to learn. This is the lesson that those who fight Christ at His return will need to learn. This is the lesson that those who live in the Millennium and take it all for granted will need to learn.
This is the lesson that you and I need to learn.