“Searching the Seven Churches”
The Binding of Satan – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 1)
As we continue from the previous note you will begin to see what I mean by much of the book of Revelation being symbolic. Look at verse four of Revelation chapter twenty,” and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded”. Are we to take this as being literal, is this how we shall wander around heaven, headless, how utterly grotesque? These are the saints who have already died and are now reigning in heaven. They are full of the heavenly perfection and glory. The others, the wicked unbelieving, they do not love but perish forever (v5). The same symbolism is seen also in verses two and three concerning Satan. It is expressing spiritual reality, Satan being a spirit being, therefore, could not be bound physically, this taken literally would be another absurdity. So who does Satan being bound then mean? Well, it is certainly not by the church. The chain is a great chain (v1), which symbolises the great power by which he is bound, much more power than the church wields. The chain figures the power that binds him, that of the sovereign Christ himself. The bottomless pit signifies that he is placed where his movements and operations are restricted. It is shut and sealed (v2), signifying also the firmness of this binding. And lastly, we are given the purpose for this binding, “so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until..” (v3). The nations of Gog and Magog that is.
We must ever remember that throughout redemptive history, beginning to end, there are always two seeds. And we show the development of two lines, or two seeds if you like. All the way from Eden we have the development of the seed of Satan, the serpent. And the seed of the woman, the elect of God. Both, through the ages, grow and multiply. The seed of the woman is all those donated to Christ by his Father, the church in other words. The fulness of the seed of the serpent is the kingdom of the Antichrist. The latter represented by the nations, Gog and Magog. Satan’s “little while” (v3) when he is loosed to deceived those nations, will result in the manifestation of his empire, the kingdom of this world, Satan’s empire. This culminates, ends with the appearance of the man of sin, the son of perdition (2Thessalonians 2:3). Simultaneously, under the long-suffering of God’s grace, when the last of the elect is born and brought to repentance and faith, and so the full harvest of God’s children is gathered in. The eternal purpose and pleasure of God are reached, the church is saved out of the world, to God’s eternal glory. It is then we will witness the second coming of Christ, and there is only one. That is after the great events revealed to us in the Bibles. The binding and loosing of Satan, the besieging of the beloved City, the gathering of the hordes of Gog and Magog. However, in the meantime, we, the church, are not to be sitting around idle all the day. But preaching and teaching the gospel. We do so knowing God has yet a remnant according to the election of grace, we do so in an attitude of pessimism. But neither are we looking for a future Christianised world. This old world order, for now, is Satan’s territory, under his sway (1John 5:19). But a change is coming, God’s new heaven and the new earth, in which will only dwell righteousness, when, “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). More to follow.
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)