If the Millennium represents the Day of the Lord as I claimed in my previous blog, and the Day of the Lord represents the time of judgment between the Lord’s ascension and his return to this earth, one may ask, “Isn’t Satan bound at the beginning of the Millennium? How can there be so much evil today if he is already bound and not troubling man?” I hope to answer this question in this study; nevertheless, we need to understand that we have three enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil (Ephesians 2:2).
Our first enemy is this world’s system: this highly sophisticated and overly organized culture or way of life (1John 2:15-17). It is a place where only a few have a kind of peace, and even they must guard against losing what they have, because it is totally dependent upon others not having the same! It is an alluring way of life that decays with its use. The best is given first, like that commercial that says: “It doesn’t get any better than this!” That’s true! It is all downhill from there! The tantalizing, alluring part is always given up front, but once I’ve grasped it, the surprise is that it has captured me! Now I must give all my energy to keep the good life. Life is lived to hold onto a few precious days a year on the one hand or one more mind dulling moment of shooting up on the other. The world advertises its way of life, styles, positions of glory, and places it all out before everyone to entice us into its labyrinth of goodies, out of which there is no escape. All its joy and pleasure is but for a season.
Secondly, there is nothing good dwelling in our flesh (Romans 7:18), because man without Christ is totally corrupt, (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; cp. Romans 3:10-18). Even among the righteous there is found evil within (Romans 7:15, 20). We cannot excuse our behavior by saying, “If Satan were bound and taken out of the way, we would naturally seek God and do those things which please him.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
The flesh is an enemy and craves satisfaction. It battles against the spirit for control of the body (Galatians 5:16-17). Its fruits are manifestly contrary to those of the sprit (cp. Galatians 5:19-21 with 22-24). One cannot enjoy the peace of the spirit and at the same time be filled with hatred. One cannot manifest the temperance of the spirit and also the excess of drunkenness. How can one love and at the same time separate brethren (sedition). The power of the flesh supports the life in the world. The world, for example, in order to create a market for its goods communicates to the excesses of the flesh. It exploits the weaknesses of the flesh to overpower the body to inordinately desire its goods.
In like manner the political systems of this world thrive on the flesh’s propensity to separate into parties, even to the point of hatred of the other. Our educational systems and sports organizations create a market through man’s desire for strife, heresy and variance. The world system as we know it would not exist in a society comprised of people filled with the Spirit of God. Neither could the Kingdom of God continue in a society void of the Spirit of God and filled with the excesses of the flesh. The Spirit manifests the Kingdom of God and the flesh produces and maintains this world’s system for its own perverted satisfaction.
Satan doesn’t make us evil; we are evil! Evil is the natural fruit of our natural mind. So, even without Satan there is plenty of evil desires and plenty of rebellion to put down. It must not be forgotten that Christ’s reign is not characterized by peace and praise toward God, because Christ reigns to restore all things to God, our Father. He reigns for the purpose of putting down all rebellion and every evil (1Corinthians 15:24-28), and once he does this, he doesn’t withdraw to give ground to Satan. When he gives up his rule, it is to place his throne and all mankind in subjection to Father!
Why then is Satan bound? Revelation 20:3 says so he cannot deceive the nations (viz. the gentiles) any more. Christ said, if he casts out demons by the Spirit of God, the Kingdom of God has come sooner than expected (Matthew 12:28-29). No one can enter a strong man’s house (viz. Satan’s house – this world), unless he first binds the strong man. Once the strong man is bound, anyone can enter his house spoil his goods. This is what has occurred in the Gospel age.
Now we are able to see who the angel is in Revelation 20:1-3. Remember the word angel is a transliteration from the Greek angelos, and means messenger. In Malachi 3:1 Christ is called the Messenger of the covenant. Jesus is not an angelic being (Hebrews 2:16; 1:13-14), but God (Hebrews 1:8) and is worthy of our worship (Hebrews 1:6, Revelation 1:17-18).