ANSWER: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33 NKJV). God is active and on the job – sovereign and all-powerful. Who are we to question how He runs His business? “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?” (Rom. 9:20). With much longsuffering, God is still enduring Satan, this wicked being, “that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory” (9:22-23).
Satan knows that he has been defeated at the cross of Calvary and that his doom is sure. Yet he is fighting as hard as he can. In a day to come his access to God as the accuser of the brethren will be ended. He will be confined to the earth and sea, having great wrath because he knows that he has a short time (Rev. 12:7-12). A few years later, at the end of the tribulation period, comes the next step in his public degradation. Revelation 20:1-4 tells us that a single angel will lay hold of him, bind him with a great chain, and cast him into the bottomless pit and confine him there for 1000 years to prevent him from deceiving the nations during this time.
Much as he might like to have people think so, Satan is not an independent creature. He was the most highly placed angelic being, but he rebelled and fell. God is dealing with him in absolute justice. Since his rebellion was public, his disgrace must be public too. Since he led a tremendous host of angels and then billions of human beings astray, both angelic and human beings must witness the perfect righteousness of God’s dealings with him. To simply wipe Satan out would not bring God the glory that is due Him.
In New Testament times when a Roman general won a decisive victory over the enemy, the enemy leaders were brought back to Rome in chains and were paraded through the city at the tail end of the victor’s triumphal procession. At the conclusion, when all had witnessed their defeat, they were put to death. In a similar manner God will make Christ’s triumph over Satan openly known and celebrated. We often ask, “Why hasn’t this happened yet? Why doesn’t God act more quickly?” God’s reckoning of time is not the same as ours. To Him, 1000 years are as a day and a day as 1000 years (2 Pet. 3:8). And all His ways are right – who are we to question them!
God has been testing man in different ways down through the dispensations of time. One major test still lies ahead. Man likes to lay the blame for his wickedness on the devil, saying, “The devil made me do it.” Man also likes to blame his wickedness on other factors outside himself – the environment, the injustice all around him, etc. During the Millennium Satan will be bound for 1000 years, entirely powerless to deceive or tempt man. Jesus will rule in absolute righteousness. The desert will blossom as a rose, thus the earth will be fertile and the environment will be totally cleaned up. If man sins, he will have no one and nothing outside of himself to blame.
After 1000 years of this “heaven on earth” Satan will be released for “a little while.” He is still the same wicked opponent of God and the Lord Jesus. He will go out to deceive the nations of the world and gather them together to battle against the saints and the beloved city. A countless number “as the sand of the sea,” with no thankfulness for the many years of tremendous blessing under the benevolent rule of Christ, will choose to follow Satan. The incurable wickedness of the human heart will thus be fully demonstrated. God will send down fire from heaven to devour this mighty host and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire where he will be tormented forever and ever (Rev. 20:7-10). In these brief words God lets us know that He is in full control of matters and that He has His perfect plan and will work it out in due time. All will reflect His glory.
Our first parents chose to follow Satan rather than God in the Garden of Eden. God’s Word plainly tells us, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Man can only blame himself for the judgment he is facing, for God is still offering His salvation freely to everyone who will accept it.
Answer by Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org