Questions From Readers
● Revelation 20:7 speaks of the loosing of Satan from the abyss after the 1,000-year reign. Does this final testing come in the closing years of the 1,000-year period, or after it? Does it come within the seventh creative or rest day of 7,000 years, or after its close? Also, does Christ turn the Kingdom back to Jehovah before or after the test by Satan?—W. G., New York.
Revelation 20:7 is explicit in stating that Satan’s loosing is after the 1,000-year reign is over: “Now as soon as the thousand years have been ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison.” (NW) In this section we have previously shown that the 1,000-year reign of Christ and the 1,000-year abyssing of Satan and his demons run concurrently, that they start and end together, and that hence when it says of Satan that “after these things he must be let loose for a little while” it is conclusive that the final test comes after the 1,000-year reign has ended. (See The Watchtower, March 15, 1951, and Revelation 20:1-6, NW.) Then it is that Satan and his demons are brought forth from the abyss “for a little while”.
Christ’s rule for a full thousand years without any encroachment or interference from Satan and his demons allows for the accomplishment of the things foretold at 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 (NW): “He hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed all government and all authority and power. For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be destroyed. For God ‘subjected all things under his feet’. But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected’, it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him. But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the one who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”
All government and authority and power contrary to Christ’s kingship will be eliminated, and at the last even the enemy death will be destroyed. That is to say, the death resultant from Adam will vanish by Christ’s wiping out every evil trace of that death and its consequences in the human family. From then on the human family could live forever in their physical perfection. They would no longer die because they were descendants from Adam, all condemnation inherited from him being gone. Then it is that Christ turns over the Kingdom government to Jehovah God, that He might be “all things to everyone”. It is necessary for Jesus to do this, because Jesus himself cannot grant everlasting life to this group of human creatures. The Scripture principle remains true that it is Jehovah God who justifies, or, in modern translation, “God is the One who declares them righteous.”—Rom. 8:33, NW.
Now, if God is going to justify them or declare them righteous and worthy of everlasting life he must be the one that acts as a judge. Jesus, by his Kingdom for a thousand years, has acted as a screen over mankind so that the wrath of God might not be exercised against them while he is uplifting them to human perfection and sinlessness. Then at the end of the thousand years when he turns over the Kingdom to God he also turns over the human family for God’s attention and for God to act directly as the judge of the human family. In order that he can apply a test on which he can base judgment for or against, he lets the Devil loose. He uses Jesus to loose the Devil because Jesus is the one who abyssed the Devil and demons. Out they come, and they put humanity to the test.
We would not say that it is to tempt them, because humanity will have knowledge then. It is the same as Adam, who was not deceived, because he had knowledge from God, but when the test came upon him he went into temptation because of his own lust and selfish desires with respect to his own wife. Then he sinned, willfully so, and not because he was deceived. So it will be at the end of the thousand years. They are not to be deceived because of any lack of knowledge, but the Devil will work on humanity to stir up evil and selfish desires and to lead them into temptation in that way. God will permit it as a test, to see who really loves him with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. Any who yields to selfishness and follows the Devil and demons is destroyed, and finally the Devil and his demons are pitched into the “lake of fire and sulphur”, the antitypical Gehenna. (Rev. 20:8-10, NW) Thus Jehovah arranges for the test, passes judgment for or against, and executes the sinners and rebels, visible and invisible. He is the one who crushes Satan, as foretold at Romans 16:20, but in doing so he uses Christ Jesus as his executioner and thereby brings about fulfillment of Hebrews 2:14 (NW): “Through his death he might destroy the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil.”
While the Scriptures definitely establish that Satan’s abyssing at Armageddon for a thousand years thereafter runs concurrently with the thousand-year reign of Christ, and that the loosing of Satan for the final test comes after the millennial reign is over and Christ turns the Kingdom government over to Jehovah God, we cannot say at this time whether this final testing will fall within the 7,000-year rest day of Jehovah or whether it will come right after its close. We shall have to wait and see when Armageddon ends and the millennial reign begins before we can be definite on where the final season of testing at the end of the millennium will come relative to the 7,000-year day. If Armageddon ends before we reach the 6,000-year mark in human existence, then the 1,000-year reign would also end before the 7,000-year rest day would, and the final test could occur within the 7,000-year day. But on this we cannot be definite, but must await Jehovah’s disclosing of our exact position in the stream of time before we can locate with any reliability the placement of the testing period with regard to the 7,000-year day.