Must satan be released?
|"New Jerusalem" EPrata photo|
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
(Isaiah 46:9-10, emphasis mine)
We worship a God who is that powerful. He ordains every event, every heart, every minutiae throughout the entire universe. Yet He tells us - His created creatures - what He is doing and will do.
For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7).
but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name. (John 20:31).
In the Word of God AKA the Bible, God has set down a progression of past and future history which we can read and study and understand. This is what is called fulfilled prophecy and unfulfilled prophecy. Prophecy remaining to be fulfilled includes (but is not limited to),
- The Rapture of the Church
- The Great Tribulation
- Jesus' Second Coming to Earth
- Vanquishing of the Armies at Armageddon
- All Israel Will be Saved
- The Millennium Kingdom
- Satan Bound in the Pit during the Millennium Kingdom
- Satan released
- Great White Throne Judgment
- Destruction of earth and universe, New Heaven and New Earth
Omnipotence is an attribute of God alone. It is the quality of having all power (Psalm 115:3). He can do all things that do not conflict with His holy nature. God has the power to do anything He wants to do. However, God cannot do that which is contrary to His nature. For example, God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).Omnipotence is referred to in Job 42:2.
I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.
As Jesus returns and protects all the recently converted Jews at Petra at the end of the Tribulation, and swings over to Armageddon and slays the collected armies, then lands on the Mount of Olives which then splits in two, Jesus subsequently sets up the kingdom on earth which will last for a thousand years.
The Millennium Kingdom is a period of time where all the promises to Israel about inhabiting their promised lands without need for fighting to keep it or to fend off attacking armies will be fulfilled. The Messiah will personally rule and reign and the world will be in peace.
The people who are alive at the end of the Tribulation will include both saved and unsaved. In order to determine who will be allowed to enter the Kingdom (saved) Jesus will gather all the nations in front of Him, and He will separate the believers from the unbelievers. This is the Sheep and Goats judgment, as explained here. (Matthew 25:32-33).
Jesus will also have an angel cast satan (and by implication, his demons) into the pit to be sealed in for 1000 years- the entire period of the Millennium Kingdom. (Revelation 20:1-2). Imagine those who are born into the Millennium Kingdom living with Jesus reigning perfectly and peacefully, and no satan or demons around to tempt them or to deceive the nations!
However, just because believers enter the Kingdom, it does not mean that their offspring will necessarily be believers. As people are born and grow up, they live on the planet under Jesus' rule and outwardly submit, because He rules with a rod of iron. (Revelation 2:27). Inwardly they are rebelling. This is because people are still sinners with a sin-nature. Not all are glorified yet.
But Jesus knows this, and he has a plan.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3, emphasis mine).
The Master's Seminary published an essay in Spring 2014 addressing the question, why must satan be released?
As with all previous “must statements,” it is not only that Satan will be released, as seen with the future tense in Rev 20:7 (“And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,”), but also Scripture plainly states that after the thousand years are over, Satan “must be released for a short time.” Chafer considered that, “No small mystery gathers around the fact that Satan is released from the abyss even for ‘a little season.’” He further refers to it as “this strange release.” Based on the normal use of “must” in other Scriptures, many scholars also mark its use in Rev 20:3. Thomas writes in regard to Satan’s release, “It is a divine necessity. . . for the dragon to be released ‘after these things.’” Swete concurs, writing in reference to the future release that “it must come; there is a necessity for it (dei).” Alford refers to the usage as “the dei of prophecy; must according to the necessity of God’s purposes.”For it is written of satan's final defeat:
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10).
The Master's Seminary article continues:
In addition to the other reasons, Satan must be released to deceive the nations and bring about not only the final rebellion, but also the final deaths of all humans who reject the Messiah. Further, God’s promise “to curse the ones who curse you” actually relates to all enemies of Israel and not only to the Gentile nations. In keeping with God’s Word, God curses Satan and throws him into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). Then when death has been abolished forever and after the Great White Throne judgment of the eternally damned (Rev 20:11–15), when all evil will have been divinely eradicated, then the new heavens and new earth—and New Jerusalem—will arrive.And what a day that will be!