I'm going to be brave and attempt to help you with our reading from Revelation today! We'll be reading all week about the hope of the Second Coming of Christ. Just as we prepare for His coming at Christmas, so should we prepare for His coming again. The message of Revelation, however you interpret it, is that Jesus is coming again to make things right. Heaven and earth will be redeemed, and sin and Satan will be judged. I think the best way to interpret Revelation is just to simply understand what it says, not to try and manipulate the text to make ourselves more comfortable. With that, let's take a look!
A lot happens in our reading today. Satan is bound, the first-risen saints reign with Christ for 1000 years, Satan is loosed and gathers the nations around his cause, and he is finally thrown into the lake of fire for eternity. Satan is first placed in a bottomless pit... Now, he gets a 1,000 year taste of his own medicine (v. 1). It is interesting to trace the activity of Satan through Scripture. From the beginning, he's been a deceiver. No doubt, he had thought he'd won the day several times! At the fall and at the crucifixion, things looked a little bleak. In Revelation, we see his final efforts sunk into the Antichrist figure and this great final battle. And just like before, it doesn't work. This 1,000 period is a time where Christ will reign with a group of resurrected saints who have been martyred. It also is a preview of Satan's final judgment in the lake of fire (v. 3).
The first resurrection (v. 4) is for those believers who were martyred and had persevered during the period of the Antichrist. It is quite a picture that verse 5 paints for us: Christ and His saints ruling the earth in an unprecedented time of peace! These resurrected saints will be much like Jesus, now that He has risen again (v. 5). They have risen never to die again!
After Satan is let out, he goes out all over the earth in one last ditch effort to fight against God (v. 6-7). (For more on Gog and Magog, see Ezekiel 38-39.) The end comes abruptly. The "beloved city" is, of course, Jerusalem (v. 9). God separates, once and for all, evil from righteousness. Satan's punishment is severe and eternal (v. 10).
Monday, December 20, 2010
A Thousand Years
Each morning I begin my day with the lectionary readings and devotional commentary from Rev. Mike Michie, rector of St. Andrew Episcopal Church in McKinney, Texas. Mike is a biblically orthodox minister of the Word. Here are his thoughts from one of the morning readings for December 20, 2010: