Zechariah 14:1-21, Revelations 20:1-15, Psalms 148:1-14, Proverbs 31:8-9
Today is the 29th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian and its pleasure and, of course, an honor to be here with you in the final days of the year. So, the end is in sight. We have well-rounded the corner and there’s just a few things to finish up here, but they’re the word of God so they’re very important things to finish up before we regroup and start it all over. So, let’s dive in. We’re reading from the Gods Word translation this week and today we will finish up the book of Zechariah, which will leave only one book remaining in the whole Bible that we haven’t touched and that’s the book of Malachi, which we will begin tomorrow and finish on the last day of the year. But first, Zechariah 14:1 through 21.
Okay. So, we have come to a point in the book of Revelation where Satan meets his end, and then there’s a thousand years we’ve got to talk about, this millennial reign, and then the final judgment. And over the course of church history, this section of Revelation has been hotly debated by biblical scholars, which means that it has been viewed and taught differently by different segments of the church, all who support their views by the Scriptures. And the problem of time, of sequence, of chronology that is apparent throughout the book of Revelation comes into play, as does the problem of whether to look figuratively or literally come into play. So, we read from Revelation chapter 20 today, but we were just continuing a longer segment about the final judgment, the fall of Babylon, and we talked about all of that. And as the world system comes unglued, and its foundations shaken, it falls apart. We saw some of the repercussions and implications of that, in light of Jesus judgment of the dark, ungodly forces of the world at the end of time, at the end of history as we know it. So, as we begin today. There’s an angel that comes from heaven, holding the key to the pit, the bottomless pit, and he’s got a large chain and he finds and overpowers the serpent, the devil, Satan. And, so, Satan is thrown into the pit for a thousand years. And this thousand years is traditionally known as the millennium. And there are so many views about the millennium that I’m not sure there’s any way to catalogue them all in one place, but most of thoughts about the millennium boil down to: when will the millennium happen, and is the millennium, literally, 1000 years? So, at its core, there are three ways of looking at the millennium from which all of the other views spring. And they all seek to place the millennium in time so that the order of events can be understood. So, some take what is known as a premillennial view. And this is the view that the millennium begins at the second coming of Christ. Then there are those who take a post-millennial view. And that is basically the view that when Jesus came He inaugurated what we would call ‘the church age’. The church sprang up after Christ came and we are now in that age, the church age, and the millennium will be at the end of the church age. And Jesus second coming will be at the end of the millennium. And then the third line of scholarship would take an a-millennial view, which is basically to say that the millennium began at the moment of Christ’s resurrection and will then conclude at His second advent, at his final coming. And part of the reason for these differing views comes from trying to figure out what is to be taken literally and what is symbolic and then applying that discernment to the 1000 years. And this is certainly not the first or second time we’ve encountered this. So, basically, you start with the author, John, who is exiled on an island in the Roman empire at a specific time in history. And since he’s living at a certain point in history, that’s his influence, it’s what he knows. But all of the things that he is seeing in the book of Revelation, he is seeing by way of vision. So, he’s seeing things that he doesn’t have a reference point for. He’s never seen this kind of thing before, but he has to filter it back through what he does understand. And because we, as the readers, do understand that what he’s seeing is in a vision we have to determine what is literal and what is symbolic. So, some interpreters begin with the literal view and then work their way towards the symbolism, while others say most of this book is symbolic and begin with symbolism and work their way toward literal. And they don’t always end up in the same place. So, for example, when John talks about 1000 years, he also talks about an angel with a chain, he talks about the abyss, the dragon, the serpent, the beast. And most commentators would say this is symbolic language, the same kind of symbolic language used throughout the entire book. And there have been plenty of other numbers used in the book of Revelation that have been looked at both from a literal and a figurative view. So, you know, John has this vision that we’re talking about right now in which a thousand years is made mention of, along with a bunch of some symbolism. So, it has to be determined, is the thousand years a symbol as well? And what is it a symbol of if it is a symbol? So, all kinds of divergent thought and problems arise in the midst of all of this. So, the angel captures the devil, throws him into this bottomless pit for a thousand years, and the Scriptures tell us why. ‘The angel shut and sealed the pit over the serpent to keep it from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were over.’ So, the question becomes, when? When is Satan bound and thrown into this pit? Some would say that this has not yet happened but is something that will happen in the future, while others would say this happened as a direct result of Christ’s resurrection. So, Jesus death, burial, and resurrection were a decisive defeat of Satan and the dark forces of evil. And Satan’s defeat at the cross is supported all throughout the Scriptures. So, if that is connected to what we’re seeing in Revelation 20, then Satan was restrained in this pit and Jesus triumphal resurrection. So, with that way of thinking then Satan is restrained currently and will be restrained between the first and second coming of Jesus. So, if you’re following that line of reason, the question becomes, in what way is Satan bound? Revelation says that the angel shut and sealed the pit over the serpent to keep it from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were over. So, that would mean that its ability to completely deceive has been restrained. And some theologians have defended that with many scriptures, but Jesus saying in the Gospel of Mark, ‘no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strongman, then indeed he may plunder his house’, is one of them. So, if this view is correct then Satan was defeated at the cross and restrained in his ability to deceive. So, why is deception still all over the place if that would be the case? This would take us all the way back to the first deception, where Adam and Eve made a choice. They had an uninhibited relationship with God, but they believed a lie. So, in that case we could say that the deceiver, the serpent, was victorious and was able to dominate humanity through deception. But then Jesus came and defeated the evil one, restoring humanity, and like Eden, can only be successful at deception if we allow it. In other words, Satan has no dominion over us that we don’t give him. Or as Jesus says in Matthew 18, ‘truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ So, following this forward, in the end, Satan will be released for a short time from this restraint. Right? So, in this pit. And this is where you go, like, is this this is allegorical or is this literal? Is Satan going to be or is he currently, actually, in a bottomless pit that is actually locked with a key? Or will he no longer be restrained in his deceptions? If it’s the figurative view, then this short time that the evil one is released or unrestrained in his deception will have a polarizing effect, the sheep and the goats will be clear because Satan will be doing everything that he possibly can to make life very, very trying for those who are true to Jesus, who are keeping their lampstands burning, who are holding true to their witness, so that those who are not so deeply in love with Jesus, that they’re willing to physically die because they know this isn’t the end of anything will be clear, while those who have maybe nominal faith or, you know, socially engaged in their faith or whatever, they’ll be unwilling to endure these difficulties. And this is part of Jesus’s sovereign plan, which could, on the one hand, look harsh, and on the other hand, we’d have to say, Jesus is not asking anyone to do anything he didn’t do first. In other words, God isn’t asking anything of anyone that he wasn’t willing to do Himself. So, then this whole plan of restoration, of making all things new, starts to become apparent. Satan gained dominion over humanity because of his deception of Adam and Eve and their falling for it. God chose Abraham and raised up of people that were set apart to him. But because of Satan’s deception, they were unable to be a light to the nations. Through deception, Israel had an on-again, off-again relationship with God, whereby they broke the covenant, which led to spiritual and physical oppression. They were conquered and carried into exile by foreign nations and ruled over by foreign nations as Satan continued his work of deception in the world. And then Jesus came. Satan attacked Jesus and it looked like he was victorious because Jesus was put to death. But then Jesus was resurrected, taking dominion back from Satan. So, from this view then, Jesus is building His church. That began with his ministry. It is being built currently and the gates of hell will not prevail over it because the keys of the kingdom have been given to the church. And the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome the deception of the evil one, but at some point, Satan is unrestrained and does everything possible to stamp out God’s people on this earth. And without God’s intervention would be successful, but God intervenes and Satan is thrown into the lake of fire forever. Satan is restrained from deceiving the nations because we’re supposed to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. So, what about the millennium? What about the thousand years? This gets contentious, depending on whether it’s a literal view you’re taking, or a figurative view. If we’re taking a straight up, straight literal view, those who had been beheaded for the cause of Christ will rule with Him for a thousand years, and the rest of the dead will live after the thousand years are over. So, even those taking a more literal view of this don’t take it to mean, literally, only beheaded Christians. Rather, they would look more figuratively and say, martyrs. And this view certainly has its place in church history. During times of open persecution some longed for martyrdom, but they certainly weren’t all martyred, they certainly weren’t killed all by beheading. Right? So, some were stoned, some were thrown to the wild beasts, while others were crucified, just to name a few. So, there have been those all along, including today, who would long for martyrdom because of the apparent promise in Revelation, which says this is the first time the people come back to life. ‘Blessed and holy are those who are included the first time the people come back to life. The second death has no power over them. They will continue to be priests of God and Christ and they will rule with him for 1000 years.’ So, the idea is that if you die a martyr’s death, you’ll be the first to rise, will reign with Christ, and you have no fear of the second death, nothing can ever touch you again. If you’re taking a more figurative view, then the thousand years isn’t a literal, chronological number. And the reason that many theologians and scholars think this is because they believe that numbers are used figuratively elsewhere in the book of Revelation. The language like the bottomless pit etc., seems to be figurative. So, most of what John is talking about here seems to be figurative. The book of Revelation itself seems to be largely figurative. The number 1000 used in the Old Testament is used figuratively. And in early Jewish and early Christian writings, 1000 years was used as a metaphor for eternal blessing. So, if you take that figurative view and follow it out, then Christ defeated Satan at the cross. Satan was then restrained. Believers experience the first resurrection at the moment they believe, or some would say at the moment of their baptism. Right? So, the person that you were before you knew Christ has died and you have been resurrected into new life with Christ, no longer dominated by the deception of the evil one and you are now reigning with Christ. The thrones, then, wouldn’t be literal pieces of furniture, but, rather, the status of believers who are in Christ. And if we’re continuing to look figuratively at the martyrs then we’re not just talking about only those people who died by being beheaded. Or, for that matter, we’re not just talking about people who were martyred in any way. We’re talking about those who were obedient to one of the main themes of this book, those who endured to the end, no matter what. They will not experience the second death. So, in other words, those who are in Christ have already died to who they were without Jesus and were raised to new life in Him. The second death is eternal separation from God, or the fiery lake, or outer darkness, or however you view that, but believers will experience it because Jesus is the firstborn of this new family of God, and we have followed Him. We are in His kingdom. We are His kingdom. Okay, so moving us forward, no matter how you view this, Satan is set free for a short time to deceive as many as possible, which results in an attempt to stamp out God’s people for good. Fire falls from heaven, whether literally or figuratively. Satan loses the battle and is thrown into the fiery lake of sulfur forever and ever. And then we find ourselves before the great white throne of God. And the first thing that we see is that the earth and the sky fled from his presence, but no place was found for them. So, this is striking imagery. And most agree that this is the passing away of the world as we know it, making way for a new heaven and a new earth, all things being made new. And this is the final judgment. The books are opened, whether literally or figuratively, and the final judgment occurs. So, what we call the book of life is actually the book of life of the lamb who was slain, or the book of life of the lamb. And those whose names are in that book are those who have been sealed in Christ. Right? They have the seal of God on their forehead. These people go through the judgment but do not suffer what they would otherwise deserve because Jesus suffered that on their behalf. And that is about the best news I have ever heard. In pulling together all that we’ve read in Revelation, those are the ones who were true, those are the ones who endured into the end, and no matter what happened, those who were willing, or did lose their lives on account of the gospel, those who kept their witness burning, those who are pure and true to Jesus.
Jesus, we want this to be a description of who we are. And we are well aware of the deceptions we have fallen for and continue to fall for. And yet, clearly it doesn’t have to be that way. You have promised that Your Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. And, so, that’s what we ask for. You would lead us into all truth, every step we take, every thought we have every, word we speak, everything about us. May everything about us radiate Your glory into this world. May our very lives be a living testimony to who You are. And may we be true to You no matter what happens, no matter what comes our way, may we endure. Come, Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hey DABbers, this is Matt from Cincinnati. First time calling in. Been listening since about January or February and I’ve been really amazed by the prayer request line and how gracious and loving you guys have been with all the prayers being sent out. And I just want to offer a prayer request on behalf of this family who happened to lose the father of the family unexpectedly last night. And right now it’s Christmas eve. And it’s a family with four children. And it’s really hard. It’s a family from our local church. And I just want to lift them up because that…it’s just…a very tragic thing that no one wants to experience, especially during the holiday time. So, not only should we lift that family up, but also others who experienced unexpected losses this year, especially with, like, all the mass shootings that have been happening. I just definitely want to urge you guys to just reach out and pray for those people as well and those who are experiencing loneliness during the holidays, because that can be tough and I’ve been through that before. But God is a God of restoration and redemption and He is good. He’s a good Father. So, if you guys don’t mind doing that, that would be awesome. Thank you. Merry Christmas.
Hello everybody in my wonderful Daily Audio Bible family. This is Meg from Rhode Island and today is December 25th, Christmas. And I was at the gym and I turned on my iPod and there, just like clockwork, is the Daily Audio Bible broadcast for Christmas day. And I got to listen to Brian read the scriptures today, Christmas day. And I just wanted to say thank you, Brian, and Jill, and the whole team for everything you do. I wanted to say Merry Christmas to you and just let you know that this one person here, I sure appreciate having God come into my life through the scripture readings every day. And I want to thank you for your loyalty…for just…your devotion… for being so diligent…keeping…and every day, sticking with it. I know it must be hard. So, anyhow, that’s all. Just thinking of you guys everyday like I do every day. And I’m still here. I think this is my 7th year listening. And I just love everyone in this community. And it’s changed my life and I’m looking forward to a new year with you all. Okay. Bye.
Good morning Daily Audio Bible friends and community. This is Diane Olive. B. from Newburg Indiana. Shalom, Shalom. That means nothing is missing, nothing is broken. It is December 26th at 2:19 in the morning and I just listened to about half way through the Christmas wishes and I just felt the presence of the Lord in my heart and I wanted to call and thank Brian and Jill and thank the Daily Audio Bible community because this has been one of the hardest seasons of my life and I have really been struggling. I want to share my prayer request and praise report. I have bi-polar and I have suffered with depression and anxiety. I’m over 100 pounds overweight and my son, who is 37, my youngest son and only son - I have a daughter who is 38 and a daughter who is 40 - but my son has struggled with drug addiction from when he was in junior high until now. And he went back into drugs again. We had to ask him to move out of our home and we haven’t been able to give him things because we were enabling him and I just ask for your prayers because it breaks his mother’s heart to see…
Hi. My name is Angelique. And I am from Washington State. I am a new listener. A friend of mine let me know about your program. So, I am a newbie in the last week and I am grateful. I have a prayer request for my two sons. I have three sons, but my first two sons are prodigals and I would like to ask for you to be praying for them. First son is Joshua and my second born is Grant - 23 and 20 years old. They accepted Christ when they were boys. They have chosen to walk away, they’ve gotten older. I will begin praying. Father God, I lift up Joshua and I ask You Father that you would open his spiritual eyes, that he would see that the world is not satisfying. I pray that he would look to You for guidance and not to himself. I also ask that You would take his desire for fast cars away from him Lord. You know that he has gotten in two car accidents this last summer with 2 corvettes that he totaled. Thank you for sparing his life. I pray that you’d reveal Your purpose and plan for him. Also lift up my second born, Grant, who’s 20 year old, Lord who professes to be an atheist. And God, I ask that You would reveal Yourself to him in an amazing way so that He could not deny Your existence Lord. I pray that he would commit his life to You and live for You and, again, not for himself. And I ask this in Your name, Jesus. Amen. Thank you.