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The Reign of Christ

Musical compositions sometimes have a coda, a passage that brings the piece to an end like the final paragraph in an essay or a story. A musical coda can be short, lasting for only a few measures, or it can be much longer. Some composers, including Beethoven, occasionally employ a “false” coda, a passage that seems about to draw to a close but then resumes.

After reading Revelation 20, yesterday’s text may feel a bit like a false coda. Isn’t the war over? Hasn’t Jesus been declared the victor? Today’s passage gives us more details and describes several things that happen after the victory.

First, Jesus dispatches His primary enemy and the chief instigator of all opposition against God. Satan is bound in the Abyss for a thousand years. As we will soon see, this is not Satan’s ultimate doom. It is a temporary measure intended to keep Satan from deceiving the nations until the thousand years have ended (vv. 2–3).

Next the first of two major resurrections takes place. One is for “those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God” (v. 4). They are given a resurrection body and will reign with Christ for the thousand years. This is the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore the kingdom to Israel through the reign of the Messiah (Matt. 19:28; cf. Acts 1:6–7).

After the thousand years, Satan reappears to deceive the nations. This is not a setback or accident. Satan will not escape; he will be released (v. 7). It is all part of God’s plan. But this time his effort to thwart God’s plan is short-lived. Satan is thrown into the lake of burning sulfur with the beast and the false prophet. His long rebellion is over.

Apply the Word

Even Satan is subject to God’s ultimate plan. When all things are against us, God is still working “for our good” (Rom. 8:28). This text does not deny the real challenge and difficulties that we encounter, and we need not pretend that we do not suffer or struggle. But we can still have confidence in God’s unshakable plan.

BY Dr. John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

Dr. John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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