Love Under Fire


The Banishment of Satan

Now the event takes place that was foreshadowed in the last solemn service of the Day of Atonement. When the sins of Israel had been removed from the sanctuary through the blood of the sin offering, the scapegoat was presented alive before the Lord. The high priest confessed over him “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, ... putting them on the head of the goat” (Leviticus 16:21). Similarly, when Jesus has completed the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary, then, in the presence of God and heavenly angels and the legions of the redeemed, the sins of God's people will be placed on Satan. He will be declared guilty of all the evil that he has caused them to commit. As the scapegoat was sent away into an uninhabited land, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth. LF 264.7

After presenting scenes of the Lord's coming, John continues: “I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3). LF 265.1

The “bottomless pit” represents the earth in confusion and darkness. Looking forward to the great day of God, Jeremiah declares: “I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void;* and the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down” (Jeremiah 4:23-26). LF 265.2

This earth is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years. Limited to the earth, he will not have access to other worlds to tempt and annoy those who have never fallen. In this sense he is “bound.” No one is left on whom he can exercise his power. He is cut off from the work of deception and ruin that has been his one delight. LF 265.3

Looking forward to Satan's overthrow, Isaiah exclaimed: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; ... I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’” (Isaiah 14:12-17). LF 265.4

For six thousand years, Satan's prison house has received God's people, but Christ has broken his chains and set the prisoners free. Alone with his evil angels Satan realizes the effect of sin: “The kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house [the grave]; but you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch.... You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land and slain your people” (Isaiah 14:18-20). LF 265.5

For a thousand years, Satan will gaze on the results of his rebellion against the law of God. He suffers intensely. He is now left to think about the part he has acted since he rebelled and to look forward with terror to the dreadful future when he must be punished. LF 265.6

During the thousand years between the first and second resurrections, the judgment of the wicked takes place. Paul points to this as an event that follows the Second Advent (1 Corinthians 4:5). The righteous reign as kings and priests. John says: “I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them.... They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4, 6). LF 266.1

At this time “the saints will judge the world” (1 Corinthians 6:2). In union with Christ they judge the wicked, deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the punishment the wicked must suffer is set, according to their works, and it is recorded against their names in the book of death. LF 266.2

Christ and His people judge Satan and the evil angels. Paul says, “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3). Jude declares, “The angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). LF 266.3

At the close of the thousand years, the second resurrection will take place. Then the wicked will be raised from the dead and appear before God for the execution of “the written judgment” (Psalm 149:9). So John says: “The rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5). And Isaiah declares concerning the wicked, “They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished” (Isaiah 24:22). LF 266.4