The Removal of Mankind’s Chief Disturber
WE OFTEN see a situation where a change of administration is made, a person placed in a political office of rulership by vote, the hope of the people supporting him being that he will bring about better conditions. But after a little while complaints arise, even some of his own supporters blaming him for the undesirable things taking place. It may be a bad economic situation, unemployment, or it may be a war, or certain groups may not feel that they are getting equal treatment and enjoying their civil rights.
Everyone is aware that there are many corrupt politicians, and sometimes some of the conditions may be partly due to corruption on the part of the individual in office. But, again, everyone realizes that one man, no matter how honest and zealous for good government and the good of the people he may be, cannot by himself correct the many bad situations that exist. Actually no individual can be singled out as the cause for the trouble. No, it is the system of things that controls. Things are so interrelated and there is such a hopeless tangle and conflict of interests that it is impossible for one man or a group of honest men to straighten it out.
That is why the Bible shows that the entire system of things, first the false religious systems, followed by the political and commercial systems, will have to be wiped out in completion. But one may ask, How will that do any good? Men will just start over and do the same thing again, as past history shows.
THE REAL DISTURBER
That is a good question, but there is an answer, for in asking such a question we are overlooking one important thing, namely, the cause for the world’s taking such a course, when actually the majority of people would much prefer to live in peace. The real cause is an invisible one, but, nevertheless, very powerful and influential. Even in the present-day materialistic system people are afraid that they are being watched by some unseen and menacing enemy. They really believe and fear that creatures from outer space may be watching their every move. Fear is heightened by the unexplained flying saucers or “unidentified flying objects” sighted in different parts of the earth. The real source of earth’s troubles, however, is much more dangerous and insidious and is absolutely invisible. The Bible describes this source as being the one who is called “the god of this system of things” and “the ruler of this world,” who Jesus said had no hold on him and who would be cast out. (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30) It is none other than Satan the Devil, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth. (Rev. 12:9) That is why, not only this system of things, but also the ruler of the system must be put out of action for the earth to have rest from constant trouble.
FIRST, AN EARTHLY FIGHT
In our previous issue we discussed the war of Har–Magedon (Armageddon), which takes place after false religion has been wiped out by the political rulers and which war, in turn, wipes out all politics on earth and those who stubbornly hang on, trying to perpetuate man’s sovereignty. Although the “wild beast,” representing the political organization of earth, got its authority from the Dragon (Rev. 13:2), the Dragon is unable to back it up and support it for success and salvation in the war of Armageddon. Because the great issue of universal sovereignty is between Jehovah God and Satan, God purposes that Satan will get to see his entire earthly seed destroyed, knowing that he personally must be next to come into direct clash with the heavenly commander of God’s armies. His earthly “seed” will be destroyed before he faces the bruising of his head.—Gen. 3:15.
The destruction of Satan’s visible political organization means the finale of the “time of the end” that began when the Gentile Times ran out in the year 1914 C.E. (Dan. 12:1, 4; Luke 21:24) To clean up the universe the only need left after that is to put Satan and his demon hosts out of action. Since this is a heavenly act it is undoubtedly the greatest part of the cleanup work. Can it be done?
Well, in 1914, when God’s Messianic kingdom was set up in the heavens, the first act of the newly enthroned King was to start war against this enemy of God to hurl him and his demons down to the earth, cleansing the heavens. There the angelic forces under Michael, which is the heavenly name of Jesus Christ, were victorious. Since that time the wrathful Dragon and his demons have made it their prime business to “wage war with the remaining ones of [the woman’s] seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” Their efforts are more than ever concentrated because these invisible enemies of God can no longer have access to the heavens.—Rev. 12:3-17.
In 1914 Jesus Christ ended his nineteen-hundred-year-long wait at God’s right hand and took up the long-promised Kingdom authority. He went forth subduing in the midst of his enemies, first conquering by hurling the demons out of heaven and later to conquer by completely crushing all the visible earthly seed of the Dragon. (Ps. 110:1-6; Rev. 6:2) These enemies have made it hard on the remaining ones on earth of the 144,000 who are to be kings in heaven with Jesus Christ. Additionally, they have made it hard upon the great crowd of persons who have given heed to the good news of the Kingdom as proclaimed by the woman’s seed and who have taken up the proclamation of the Kingdom themselves, hailing the King enthroned. But right up through the battle of Har–Magedon Satan is powerless to crush them out. Har–Magedon completed, there will be no danger to these faithful ones on earth.—Rev. 7:9, 10, 15.
LAST, A HEAVENLY BINDING
But there would be danger to them if Satan and his invisible demons were left to war against them. Therefore, John, in the vision, describes the next step to be taken: “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while.”—Rev. 20:1-3.
Who is the angel, here unnamed, who has the key to the abyss and who comes down out of heaven to bind the Devil? He must be one of tremendous power, for he accomplishes the binding of Satan without any help. We know that it is harder to bind a strong man than it is to overcome and kill him in combat. Let us identify this angel, for it is important to our understanding.
Since Satan has seen all his earthly seed go, the rest of the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 has to be fulfilled: his head must be bruised. Who is the one to do the bruising? The prophecy says the seed of the woman. In the fight just preceding this, namely, Har–Magedon, none other than the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ himself, in command of Jehovah’s invisible army, destroyed the wild beast and the false prophet and gave the bodies of the kings and military commanders as food for the birds of heaven. (Rev. 19:11-21) It was the same one, the archangel Michael, who hurled Satan and his demons out of heaven earlier, 1914-1918. Therefore, it is unreasonable to think that it would be anyone less than the Son of God Jesus Christ himself who would be assigned to such an important task, one requiring such great power.
WHERE THE DISTURBER IS PUT
Are the demons also defeated along with their leader Satan even though they are not mentioned here in the Revelation vision? Yes. This is in harmony with the custom of mentioning only the leader of an army as losing a battle, the understanding being, of course, that his army actually lost under his leadership. When Jesus was on earth as a man, the unclean demons entreated him not to order them into the abyss. (Luke 8:31) Jesus is the starlike One who has the “key of the pit of the abyss.” (Rev. 9:1) He himself went into the abyss when he died but was raised out of it by his own Father, Jehovah God, on the third day and was given the keys of death and Hades. (Rev. 1:18; Rom. 10:7) Therefore all the evidence points to him as the one whom Jehovah uses to bind Satan and to throw him with his demons into the abyss and shut it and seal it over him, “that he might not mislead the nations any more until the thousand years [are] ended.” He is the mightiest angel of all, the angel of angels, the archangel Michael.—Dan. 12:1; Jude 9; 1 Thess. 4:16; Luke 11:20-22.
Why is it that it is the abyss, not Sheol or Hades, into which the angel or messenger of God, Jesus Christ, hurls Satan? For the reason that Hades or Sheol is the common grave of dead humans and is in the ground of our earth. Satan and his demons are not earthly, visible, but are of a different nature, angelic or spirit. The binding and hurling into the abyss will consequently be something invisible to the eyes of the survivors of the war of the great day of God the Almighty. Already these invisible spirit persons have been cast out of heaven and no one on earth saw this, for it was something in the invisible realm. When Jesus was in the abyss he was dead, unconscious, out of action. The condition of Satan and the demons when they are in the abyss means that they will be in the condition of deathlikeness, likely an unconscious state, with no ability to do anything at all to disturb mankind and mislead the nations into captivity to form another oppressive system of things such as we see today.
A THOUSAND-YEAR REBUILDING PERIOD
According to the Bible timetable, man’s history on earth has been nearly 6,000 years. Adam was created in 4026 B.C.E., which means that six thousand years of human history end about the fall of 1975 C.E. We are in the great 7,000-year rest day of God, starting at the time he rested after the creation of Adam and Eve. There are, therefore, a thousand years left to run. Without Satan and his demons to disturb mankind it will indeed be a restful time. It will be like a sabbath. In a way it will be a sabbath within a sabbath. The last thousand years of God’s great seven-thousand-year rest is a special sabbath over which the Son of man will be Lord.—Matt. 12:8.
Since Satan is to be loosed along with his demons for a “little while,” by the end of this sabbath millennium mankind will have to be considerably changed, so that Satan will be unable to influence them so easily to take the course of wickedness that past history records. They will have to be helped so that they are able to withstand the final test at the loosing of the Serpent and the demons. This work, therefore, is to be done during the thousand-year reign of Christ. During his rule righteousness will be in the earth and the people will be taught righteousness. Christ and his 144,000 associate kings and priests will minister to mankind and raise them up from the imperfect state in which desires of the flesh have such a hold upon them. They will be able to make over their personalities and arrive at physical perfection. But as we go on farther into the Revelation prophecy we get much more detail and enlightenment on this, for the blessings that God has in store for mankind when the Great Disturber is out of the way are greater than man by his own reasoning can conceive.—John 5:22, 28, 29; Acts 17:31; 2 Pet. 3:13; Eph. 4:22, 23.