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Revelation 20:7-10



When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

(verses 7-9)

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What strikes me here is the decisive, almost anti-climactic, end to this cosmic conflict.


An angel from heaven has seized the devil and bound him for a thousand years. Regardless of the chronology, and whether the time-frame is literal or figurative, the point is the same: the devil is outmatched and his activity is always only under the watchful eye of the Sovereign Lord.


When he is released, deception abounds. If our Lord is “the truth,”the evil one is “the lie.” It’s exactly how he started in the Garden, enticing Eve through deceptive reasoning. His ongoing activity throughout history has been steeped in this same modus operandi. Jesus gave this evaluation: the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). How true to form, then, that his final activity on Planet Earth is that of deceiving the nations.


he resulting scene is one of great drama, the full massing of human strength and might infused with the undergirding presence of supernatural evil. The assembling of this massive army, marching “across the breadth of the earth,” is horrific. I think Tolkien, devout believer that he was, must have been influenced by these scenes of graphic evil as he drafted his epic tales of Middle Earth’s confrontations with evil in “The Lord of the Rings.” Here at the end, the massed armies, innumerable as sand on the shore, surge forward with all their threatening power and malevolent intent, surrounding the encampment of God’s people at “the city he loves.” The drums of war boom loud. Tension draws taut. The enemy gloats.


But then the end comes with one fell stroke. All the power of collected evil, human and supernatural, is overcome in a decisive blow. Fire falls from heaven and devours the lot. There is no ebbing and flowing of conflict, no surging of enemy advantage, no brinkmanship. The confrontation ends with the hammer-fall of heaven.


Once again, the devil is seized. The one who deceived the world is finally, decisively, thrown forever into the lake of burning sulphur, never to be released again. His fate is sealed. His punishment executed. He “will be tormented day and night, forever and ever”(verse 10).


The end.

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Lord, praise you that you came to destroy the works of the devil. That work is done. Victory is already secured. The final triumph is assured. Praise your name.

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Reflect:

Apply this scene of final victory to any evil you see around you – whether in circumstance or relationship, close at hand or on a world scale. Affirm to the Lord that he is the Victor. Praise him. Pray afresh: Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

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Photo by Andy Watkins on Unsplash


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