Satan’s Deceit and Destruction (Revelation 20:7-10)
Freedom is a dear, dear commodity. We remember well Patrick Henry’s words: “Give me liberty or give me death.” As I was doing jail ministry, it was common to see troubled juveniles brought to the jail to see what life behind bars was like. The inmates would always say, “You don’t wanna come to this place.”
This text we’re studying tonight is about liberty—Satan’s liberty. Satan is bound for a thousand years (Rev 20:2), and the text tonight deals with what Satan does after he regains his freedom. We want to examine what Satan does with his freedom and what God does to Satan after his freedom.
The Deceit After His Release, vv 7-8
When the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.
Satan’s binding was depicted in verses 1-3; we are also told there why Satan was bound: “so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished” (v 3). We are told in verse 3 that Satan would be released “for a little while.” How long this little while is is not altogether clear—Since this is figurative language, we are probably not to look for a specific time period. His release is a short while compared to the victory of the saints.
Unlike his binding, no details are given of his release; we are simply told that Satan is released from his prison.
According to ancient tradition, demons who are released from bondage are more dangerous than they were prior to bondage. Luke 11:24-26. Thus, Satan is more dangerous after he is released from the bottomless bit than he was before he was bound there—This is going to be evident by what Satan does.
Satan will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
Satan will go out to deceive the nations; from what we know about Satan we should not at all be surprised that he would go out and deceive the nations.
Satan will deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth. Prior to his imprisonment, Satan had focused his efforts through the imperial cult of Rome—he had deceived the Romans into worshiping the emperor. Now, however, he goes out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth. After his imprisonment, Satan seeks to deceive everyone on the face of the earth.
He deceives Gog and Magog to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
Our understanding of Gog and Magog must be based upon Ezekiel 38-39. “Gog, of the land of Magog,” was the prince of countries to the north (38:2ff), the east, west, and south (38:5) of Palestine. He would command a great horde with which he would invade and cover the land of Israel (38:6-9). His eyes would be upon the spoil of the land to take it for himself (38:1-13). He would continue even in the Messianic period (38:16), but he would be destroyed. Gog of the land of Magog seems to have symbolized all the heathen enemies of God’s people.
Gog and Magog here, as in Ezekiel, seems to symbolize paganism and false religion.
The number of Gog and Magog are “as the sand of the sea.” The expression “sand of the sea” is used throughout Scripture to signify a large number—Abraham’s descendants would be as the sand of the sea. Thus, those caught up in paganism and other false religions would be an enormous number. We know it to be the case that many throughout the world are caught up in paganism and other false religions. They are depicted in this text as doing battle with God and the forces of good.
Those caught up in the false religions of the world do battle against the forces of good. There are many who attempt to convert our children to that type of thinking—whether it’s atheism or humanism or whatever—they want the minds of our children. There are many errors that attempt to be int eh spotlight—think of all the attention those in the pro-abortion movement or the gay-rights movement attempt to get for their point-of-view.
Until the Lord returns, we will be caught up in this battle, and we must stand firm.
The Destruction after His Release, vv 9-10
They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.
Surrounding the camp of the saints is obviously a picture of war. In war, the enemy can surround one’s camp and cause destruction. They surrounded the saints and the beloved city. The image seems to be one of the armies of Satan surrounding Jerusalem and besieging it. The city seems to stand for the church—the idea is that the enemies of God surround the church to attack it. In light of the persecution our brethren faced who first read this book, the attack depicted here probably is persecution. However, as the rest of this verse makes clear, they are not successful in doing so.
Fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
Fire coming down from heaven is common judgment terminology used in Scripture. “The LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens” (Gen 19:24). When Ahaziah sent two captains of 50 with their 50 men to implore Elijah to come down from the mountain, “fire came down from heaven” and consumed them (2 Ki 1:9-12). Thus, the fire from heaven here is obviously judgment upon those nations whom Satan had deceived. Fire is an appropriate image of judgment here, for we are told that the devil “was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (v 10).
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
It is appropriate that the devil received a horrible fate, for he had deceived the nations of the earth. But, notice that this did not relieve the nations of the earth of their responsibility. They could not go up to God and say, “God, we were just deceived. We didn’t really understand what was taking place. Please don’t punish us.” If Satan is successful in deceiving us, we will pay the penalty for being deceived—Eve was deceived by Satan, and she was cast from the Garden of Eden. Let us be cautious about being deceived by the devil.
Satan was cast into the lake of fire along with the beast and the false prophet—the agents Satan used to deceive the world will be cast into hell along with them.
They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. The Greek term “torment” means to torture, to cause pain. Those who end up in the lake of fire will endure more torment than we can possibly describe. Scripture depicts the lake of fire as a place of great pain and torment. The wicked will be cast “into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 13:50). In the episode of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man cried out and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Lk 16:24).
They will be tormented “forever and ever.” They will be cast into hell and never have the chance for escape. Jesus depicted this as “everlasting punishment” (Matt 25:46).
In some way, is it not comforting to realize that Satan will be cast into hell and be tormented for all eternity? He has done well in tormenting us throughout our span on this earth, and he will be tormented in eternity.
But those who follow him will be tormented in eternity with him. Jesus described hell as having been prepared for Satan and his angels—At the judgment, Jesus will say to those on his left hand, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41). Hell was not prepared for you. But will you go there?