Rev. 20:1 – Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. (HCSB)
Sin spoils everything
“Sin spoils everything,” writes Chuck Swindoll. “It pollutes skies, encourages corporate greed, leads to physical and emotional illness, destroys marriages, prompts addictions, and inspires wars. Sin corrupts the legal system, corrodes governments, erodes economics, and promotes false religion. No area of society and culture has escaped its sinister influence. Just as sin destroys an individual’s life, so it decimates a community, country, and planet…. Yes, sin spoils everything … but one day Christ will redeem everything” (Insights on Revelation, p. 256).
The closing chapters of Revelation tell the story of how Christ sets things right. The Creator has come to earth as the Suffering Servant, giving His life as a ransom for lost people, conquering sin and death, and restoring spiritually dead men and women to life through an everlasting and unbreakable relationship with the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
He returns to earth as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as the King of kings and Lord of lords, destroying the wicked, rewarding the saints, and removing the curse of sin from the cosmos. He begins setting things right in Revelation 20 by dealing with the source of all that is wrong: “the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the Devil and Satan” (v. 2).
Few passages of scripture cause more controversy among evangelical Christians than Rev. 20:1-10, in which John mentions a 1,000-year period six times. The main point of debate is whether the “millennium” should be understood literally or figuratively.
Generally, those who believe the 1,000 years are literal and in the future are called premillennialists. They look for Christ to return and establish a “millennial kingdom,” or a reign of 1,000 years, after which He puts down Satan’s final revolt, resurrects and judges unbelievers (Christians are judged before the millennium), and creates new heavens and a new earth.
Those who believe Christ is returning after the millennium are called postmillennialists. The 1,000 years are not necessarily a literal time frame, but they represent a period during which much of the world turns to faith in Jesus.
Those who see all references to the 1,000 years as figurative and without merit as a reference point concerning the timing of the Lord’s return are called amilllennialists.
There is diversity within each of these camps as to the order of events surrounding the second coming.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s important to follow a biblical principle for exploring tough passages: Start with the simple and straightforward teachings of scripture, and seek to understand the difficult passages in the light of the simpler ones.
With that in mind, let’s rally around 10 simple truths regarding the return of Jesus.