September 22, 2021
Scripture: And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:9-10 ESV
Observation: Chapter 20 of revelation describes Satan and his followers’ dramatic demise. But how are we to understand this war with earlier descriptions of the outpouring of God’s wrath. Is this the fourth and final battle that follows those described in chapters 16, 17, and 19? More likely, John is envisioning one apocalyptic war from four different perspectives. Here, John places an exclamation mark on Evil’s end. But Chapter 20 is not the first mention of Gog and Magog (Magog means land of Gog). Ezekiel foretold their invasion (Ezekiel 38-39) but placed it during the Messianic period that Jesus walked the earth. If we understand Gog and Magog as symbolic of those who seek to accomplish Satan’s mission to destroy the Son of God and his followers, then both Ezekiel and John’s revelations make sense. The first attempt failed when Jesus went to the Cross and rose from the grave. This time Satan and his followers go to their grave (a place of torturous separation from God and all that is good).
Takeaway: No matter how scholars interpret these enigmatic moments of the end times, we can rest assured that Evil has its end, that a day is coming when we no longer struggle with sin nor suffer from the ill effects of a fallen world (chapter 21). So knowing the end of the story, we have every reason to live fearlessly through these remaining chapters that lead to the dramatic conclusion. (I have to pause and laugh at myself at this point. I have my brave-heart moments, but fear still rears its ugly head.) Thankfully, when we stop looking at the conflicts around us and focus on the One who defeated Evil and the sting of death, who promised that he would be with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20), we will find relief and boldly press through life’s battles, knowing who gets the victory.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your Son, who has sabotaged the master plan of Satan and has eradicated the consequences of sin. So when we succumb to fear, please help us refocus on the One who is with us each step of the way and who will bring about Evil’s end. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling