"He laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the
Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him
into the abyss, and shut him up and sealed it over him that he
should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years should
be finished; and after that he must be loosed for a time."—#Re
unscriptural views we once held respecting hell naturally led
us into unscriptural views respecting Satan.
we held the thought that hell was a vast furnace of fire—we
knew not where, "beyond the bounds of space and time"—we
were deluded into believing that Satan was in that far-off place,
master of ceremonies, and chief over a host of fire-proof demons
employed chiefly in causing indescribable pain and anguish to
thousands of millions of the human family who passed into his
control by Divine foreknowledge and intention, the number of new
arrivals approximating ninety thousand per day. But with Satan
afar off and more than busy, we could not think of him as giving
any particular time and attention to the comparatively small number
of humanity still living.
when we get the Scriptural idea of hell, that Sheol and Hades
are the names for the state of death and unconsciousness into
which all mankind, good and bad, go at death and from which both
the just and the unjust are to be resurrected at the Second Coming
of Christ, it throws a different light on the whole subject. As
for the term Gehenna fire, symbolically used to represent the
Second Death—the utter destruction of the incorrigible—we
find that rightly understood its flames are no more literal than
those of the "fiery trials" which the Lord promised
should come upon all of His faithful to consume their dross and
under Divine supervision; to prepare them for the Heavenly Kingdom.
Since then we see clearly that Satan and the fallen angels, his
associates and servants, are not engaged in furnace stoking, it
prepares us to note what the Scriptures have to say respecting
them and their present occupation and their relationship to mankind
and their future. We do well, too, to remember that we have no
personal knowledge on this subject—that we are confined
to the Scriptures for every whit of the information on this subject.
distinctly do the Scriptures teach the personality of Satan and
his malevolent character. Moreover, they show clearly that he
is not another god who has existed from eternity, but a creature
subject to Jehovah.
the Scriptural declaration is that "God’s work is perfect"
(#De 32:4), it follows that He could not have created Satan in
the condition in which he now is, an adversary to God and to righteousness.
In harmony with this thought the Scriptures assure us that he
was created an angel of a very high order—a cherub; that
he was beautiful, high in authority and wise, but that he allowed
ambition, pride, to enter into his heart and to seduce him from
loyalty to his Creator. The time when his ambitious designs began
to take shape undoubtedly was when he beheld our first parents
in Eden and set about to capture them as his subjects. He is represented
as saying in his heart, "I will ascend above the stars [be
higher than the other angels—captain and leader]. I will
be like the Most High" [similar to the Most High in the sense
of being an independent ruler not subject to him].—#Isa
14:12-14; #Eze 28:16.
Satan beheld our first parents possessed of the quality of procreation,
the power of developing a race like themselves, he discerned that
this was something that neither he nor the angels of the spirit
plane possessed, and that by capturing the hearts of the first
human pair he could become the ruler of the world. The success
of his deception need not be told.
disobedience of our first parents and the fulfilment upon them
of the Divine sentence, "Dying thou shalt die," has
involved a race whose numbers now approximate probably twenty
thousand millions, a groaning creation, suffering under the sentence
of death through its effects upon their minds, their morals, their
our Lord Jesus declares of Satan, "He was a murderer from
the beginning and abode not in the Truth."
8:44.) He lied to our first parents, and through that deception
he brought them under the Divine death sentence. Thus Satan is
the murderer of the entire race.
is not necessary for us to determine that Satan’s original
lie was of full determination to misrepresent.
told our first parents that he would be their real friend and
guide them to greater knowledge; that God, their Creator, was
selfish and that the prohibition of the fruit of the tree of knowledge
of good and evil was a deliberate attempt on God’s part
to keep them from useful and profitable knowledge because He did
not want them to so closely approximate His own wisdom. It is
possible that as the human mind, getting out of accord with the
Lord, might deceive itself, so Satan’s mind, poisoned by
pride and ambition, may have reached the false conclusion that
God was really working against the best interests of our first
parents and their race. It matters not which view we take, in
either event Satan was a liar and deceiver and thereby was our
murderer, as our Lord pointed out.
ANGELS THAT SINNED"
risked everything when he took the course that he did, which not
only alienated him from God as an adversary, but separated him
also from all who were loyal to the Creator. Thenceforth his entire
time and energy were devoted to the building up of the human empire
which he had designed. He had no authority from God to rule mankind;
but by involving humanity in sin, by alienating them from their
Creator, he was able more and more to gain control; for no sentence
of death had been passed upon him and no impairment of his personal
powers and vitality had been experienced. Mankind, on the contrary,
under the death sentence, rapidly lost mental, moral and physical
ability to cope with him.
the 1656 years from Adam’s creation to the Flood, a certain
amount of intercourse was permitted between humanity and the angels.
God’s design in permitting this was to teach a great lesson,
and to test the loyalty of the angels. The lesson taught was that
sin is very contaminating. So far from the intercourse between
angels and men tending to uplift mankind, the course was downward.
The influence of evil taking hold upon many of the angels, of
whom the Scriptures say that they left their own habitation—that
is to say, permitted to materialize and to associate with mankind—some
of them through lustful temptation preferred the human plane,
thus sinning and transgressing the Divine arrangement of their
account in Genesis very briefly tells us that these angelic sons
of God, beholding the fair daughters of men, were enamored of
them and took them for wives, with the result that a new race
began to spring up in the world—"giants," "men
of renown." The lesson having been taught and the angels
having been tested as to their loyalty to God, that dispensation
ended, the Flood of Noah’s day wiping out the hybrid race
and all of the human family except Noah and his family. Of Noah
we read that "he was perfect in his generation." (#Ge
6:9.) He and his family were of pure Adamic stock, not contaminated.
was at this time, according to St. Peter (#2Pe 2:4) and St. Jude
(6), that God placed a ban upon the disloyal angels, consigning
them to Tartarus, the atmosphere of this earth, mistranslated
hell in our common version. The Divine sentence against these
angels which kept not their first estate was not, however, a death
sentence, as in the case of man; it was that they should "be
confined in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great
Day." Thus the Apostle indicates that in due time there is
to be a future judgment or decision rendered of God respecting
those angels—in connection with the inauguration of the
Millennial Day, the seventh thousand-year epoch of man’s
history. Meantime, isolated from fellowship with God and the holy
angels and hindered from materializing and thus having no intercourse
with mankind as previously, these fallen angels—called in
the Scriptures demons (mistranslated devils)—have undoubtedly
had an unhappy time of it for now more than four thousand years.
Satan is spoken of as their prince or leader, though nowhere are
they mentioned as being of as high rank or order as is he, nor
as responsible as is he.
is fair to suppose that some of these fallen angels are of repentant
mind and sorry for their sins, and that they no longer strive
against the Divine regulations.
they have special opposition from Satan and the others. The Apostle
distinctly shows us that the death and resurrection of our Lord
Jesus became a great sermon to these fallen angels, instructing
them respecting the love and compassion of God for His human creatures
and of His Power even to raise the dead and His willingness to
reward our Lord Jesus with high exaltation because of obedience.
This lesson respecting the true Divine character became to some
of these fallen angels a lesson of hope, and gave them room to
anticipate that if they would turn from sin and manifest their
loyalty to God He might in their judgment day grant the blessing
of forgiveness. The Apostle Peter speaks of these in his Epistle,
saying that Christ preached to the spirits in prison who once
were disobedient in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing.
(#1Pe 3:19,20.) The sermon was not one of audible words but a
pantomime discourse. As we sometimes say, "Actions speak
louder than words." So the facts in our Lord’s case—His
death as a sacrifice and His resurrection by Divine Power on the
third day—constituted a great lesson, a great sermon for
those who hitherto had been without much foundation for hope of
without knowing the proportions of those favorably inclined, we
do know of the fact that there are legions of these fallen angels
who, under the leadership of Satan, are the direct enemies of
the human race, tempting, misleading, deceiving, putting light
for darkness and darkness for light. Seemingly they enter fully
into Satan’s spirit and work as his associates. Not permitted
to materialize in the past they have sought intercourse with mankind,
have preyed upon humanity.
that they would be dreaded if their real character was recognized
they have personated the human dead, thus helping to further and
corroborate Satan’s original falsehood—"Ye shall
not surely die."
various delusions humanity has been taught that its members, instead
of dying when they appear to die, really become more alive than
ever. This view was successfully propagated amongst the heathen
to the Israelites God gave special instructions, that the dead
were dead, that they must not be worshipped or prayed to; and
the Israelites were commanded not to allow a witch or wizard or
necromancer to live in their midst. They were told that their
dead were really dead, and that the hope for their living again
lay in the resurrection, which the promised Messiah would accomplish.
were distinctly told that the "dead know not anything,"
that their sons come to honor and they know it not, they come
to dishonor and they perceive it not of them. (#Ec 9:5; #Job 14:21.)
They were told to do with their might what their hands found to
do, because there is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in
Sheol, the grave, the state of death, Hades.—#Ec 9:10.
CAST OUT DEMONS
the protection of the Lord’s Word, the fallen angels, demons,
succeeded in gaining considerable influence over the Israelites,
so that in our Lord’s time that form of insanity which results
from obsession—from these evil spirits getting possession
of the mind, the brain—was common. Many of our Lord’s
miracles and those of His disciples consisted in the casting out
of such demons, in one instance a legion possessing one poor man
and making him crazy. The teachings of our Lord and the Apostles
in the New Testament respecting the dead are in full harmony with
those of the Jewish Ages in the Old Testament. Our Lord tells
us that at His Second Coming all that are in their graves shall
hear His voice and shall come forth. The approved of God will
come forth perfect by a life resurrection; but the disapproved
will come forth imperfect, that they may have a resurrection by
judgments, chastenings and stripes for assisting them up, up,
up to full perfection if they will. There is no intimation here
that the dead are alive, but that they are in their graves, that
they are dead.
when our Lord awakened Lazarus He told the sisters first that
in Him were the resurrection and the life power; and He did not
call Lazarus from Heaven or from Purgatory or elsewhere, but merely
from the tomb.
was our Lord Himself who declared that no man has ascended into
Heaven. (#Joh 3:13.) It was the Apostle Peter who when pointing
out our Lord’s resurrection and how it had been foretold
by the Prophet David saying, "Thou wilt not leave My soul
in hell [Sheol, Hades, the grave]," incidentally mentioned
that "David had not ascended to the heavens" but was
still in his sepulchre. (#Ac 2:34.) It was the Apostle Paul who
declared that if there be no resurrection of the dead all mankind
are perished—even those who have fallen asleep in Christ.
(#1Co 15:17,18.) Thus the united voice of the Scriptures is in
harmony with the facts as we see them, that God’s sentence
upon our race was a death sentence, which has affected all, and
that the hope is that as a result of our dear Redeemer’s
Sacrifice there shall yet be a resurrection both of the just and
of the unjust.
resurrection of the dead implies that they are dead, and not alive.—#Ac
and the demons have worked against this truth of the Scriptures,
deceiving mankind and thus fostering doctrines of Purgatory and
of masses for the dead, in this way leading us to blaspheme God’s
holy name by believing that the dead are in torment somewhere,
and thus blinding the minds and hearts of the vast majority, even
in civilized lands. Even the civilized fear God, and because of
the misrepresentations cannot love him. Thus has the work of Satan
and his demon hosts progressed; and the wonder is that demonism
has not accomplished more than even the dreadful things that we
has fostered sin of every kind; and of the immense numbers in
insane asylums it is not unreasonable to believe that fully half
are there because of obsession by evil spirits, the other half
suffering from softening or decay of the brain and physical derangements
which affect the mind.
REIGN OF SIN AND DEATH
over the heathen world and noting their benighted condition of
mind—the belief of some of them in numerous hells, the belief
of others in the transmigration of souls, etc.—and then
looking over Christendom with its multitudinous errors, indicating
the effort of mankind to get free from the ignorance and superstition
of the Dark Ages, we may well be appalled. What a power Satan
has exercised! How weak man has been in his hands! Only in proportion
as the Word and Spirit of God have given enlightenment and strength
has a measure of freedom from the Adversary’s toils been
acquired. The Apostle reminds us of our Adversary’s cunning,
saying, "We are not ignorant of his devices" and of
his cunningly devised fables. (#2Co 2:11.) He declares Satan to
be the god or ruler of this world by virtue of the deception which
he has accomplished in the blinding of the minds of men as respects
the light of truth. He assures us that as Christians we are not
merely contending with flesh and blood, with human beings, but
that beyond the adversaries of the true Church are the wisdom
and cunning of the Adversary himself and his many agents. He says
we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with wicked spirits in
high positions.—#Eph 6:12; #2Co 4:4.
since the Lord began to lift the veil of ignorance and to grant
enlightenment, bringing forth the invention of printing and later
electricity and the internet, our Adversary has been kept more
busy than formerly. As he is the Prince of Darkness and all of
his work of deception upon the human family is favored by ignorance,
by darkness and benighted conditions, so everything that has tended
to lift the pall of the Dark Ages has tended to liberate mankind
from the snares of Satan’s ignorance, superstition and deception.
We may well believe then that our Adversary is extremely active
and increasingly so in civilized lands and that even amongst the
heathen he is necessarily more active, more vigilant.
THE STRONG MAN"
one of His parables our Lord represents Satan as being the householder
at the present time; that the whole world is his household, or
dominion, over which he has control. This is a similar picture
to that used by the Apostle when he describes Satan as the prince
of this world, and the god or ruler of this world. Our Lord, referring
to His Second Coming and the gathering of the Church and the breaking
up of present institutions in the end of this Age, says that if
the householder (Satan) knew in what hour the thief would come
he would be on the alert and take means to prevent the despoiling
of his household and goods. Hence many things connected with the
Second Coming of our Lord have been kept secret until the due
time of their fulfilment.
Lord, however, does show that at the time appointed of the Father
He will come and will first of all bind the strong man, Satan,
and then He will spoil his goods, overthrow his arrangements and
institutions that are in so many respects deceptive, so that in
the overturning our Lord, as the new King, the Prince of Light,
may bring to all the slaves of sin, superstition and darkness
the light and the blessings so long foretold in the Word of God
and hoped for and prayed for by all the saints—"Thy
Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven."—#Mt
is our opinion that we are living in this particular juncture
at the present time; that the Prince of Light has already begun
the work of binding the Prince of Darkness. We are not to expect
that Satan will meekly submit. Instead, we should understand that
while this name Satan applies to our personal Adversary, the Devil,
it covers in a general sense all the influences for evil and unrighteousness
in the world, however ignorant some of his dupes. Hence when we
read of the binding of Satan, that old Serpent, the Devil, we
should have in mind properly all the evil influences, all the
sinful tendencies, all the injustices and untruths whereby mankind
have been enslaved for centuries.
sets free the light of Truth incidentally binds in similar proportions
the darkness. Hence we might say that to some extent this loosing
of the light and binding of the darkness has been in process for
three centuries, but only in our day is the matter reaching a
climax. That climax has not yet been reached by any means, but
we believe will be attained in a very few years.
whole world is waking up to the evils which have oppressed it.
As, for instance, opposition to intoxication is spreading not
only in this land but abroad. A wave of opposition to all injustice
is also spreading, favoring the interests of all the people as
in opposition to those of the few disposed to exploit the many
for their own personal advantage.
Russia, for instance, one of the darkest of the so-called civilized
lands, a Jubilee Trumpet is heard, and the masses are awakening
and grasping for their human rights and liberties. We do not mean
to say that all that is said in favor of total abstinence is true,
that all that is said and done in favor of the people and against
wealthy magnates, aristocrats, bureaucrats is true. We do not
mean to dispute that many liberties are sought and desired to
be grasped for which many people are not yet prepared. But we
call attention to these things as indicating that the power of
darkness is losing its hold, its shackles are breaking from the
human minds. We do not say that this means eventually what the
Scriptures describe as a Time of Trouble such as never was since
there was a nation. (#Da 12:1.) We do say that the strong man,
the Adversary, and his numerous allies entrenched in power and
privilege, will hold on like grim death; and that this will mean
much suffering to all concerned.
we are, too, that we can see beyond that awful time of anarchy
which the Scriptures so clearly outline, the Golden Age, the Millennial
Kingdom, the Reign of righteousness, peace and love—the
blessing of all the families of the earth.
only might we expect that the Adversary and his various agents
would be exceedingly active in this present time, but the Scriptures
particularly admonish us that this will be the case; and that
the Lord, who could crush the Adversary otherwise, will permit
his activity for a special purpose, partly for the testing and
sifting of the Church for the selection of the Very Elect, and
partly for lessons of discipline to the world in general. As,
for instance, the Apostle, speaking of the present time, says,
"God will send them strong delusions that they may believe
a lie: that they all might be condemned who believed not the Truth,
but had pleasure in unrighteousness [untruth]."—#2Th
we near this time we realize that no one is secure from the Adversary’s
power, from the influence of the demons, except as he is on the
Lord’s side, consecrated to Him and under His promised protection.
We realize that His protection will be in large measure through
the impartation of knowledge, light, which will guard from the
darkness. Thus those who know that the dead are dead and will
remain dead until the resurrection, and who know that those who
represent the dead through spirit mediums, etc., are the demons—these
are specially protected by their knowledge from many of the deceptions
which are ensnaring thousands and which ultimately will cause
thousands to fall into hurtful errors. Moreover, the Scriptural
intimation is that in some manner in this present time the Lord
will permit the fallen angels to find a manner by which they may
circumvent and avoid His prohibition to materialization. So, then,
we may expect that materializations will occur on the part of
many of these demons, and that these will be an active agency,
a pernicious influence. It is consoling to know that the Lord
guarantees that in the end of the struggle Satan will be fully
bound, shut up, sealed, that he can deceive the nations no more—"UNTIL
THE THOUSAND YEARS ARE FINISHED"
blessedness of the Millennial Day, so graphically portrayed through
the prophecies and the New Testament, could not be imagined except
as we grasp the thought that Satan, the deceiver, will be restrained,
will not be permitted further to deceive humanity. Instead the
glorious light of the Millennial Day, the Sun of Righteousness,
Christ and His elect Church in glory, will shine forth for the
scattering of all darkness and superstition, and that the light
of Divine Truth will illuminate the whole world and cause the
knowledge of the Lord to fill the earth as the waters cover the
blessed! How glorious! Shall not we who have been called to this
High Calling of joint-heirship with Christ as His elect Church,
His Bride, His joint-heirs in the Kingdom—shall not we rightly
value the things of darkness and the things of light and cast
all of the weight of our influence and time on the Lord’s
side, the side of the Truth? May we not thus to some extent be
used of the Lord in the shining forth of the light which will
bind the Adversary, restrain the evil? Let us, as the Apostle
suggests, lay aside every weight and every besetting sin and run
with patience the race for this prize of our High Calling in Christ
clear declaration of the Scriptures is that at the close of the
Millennial Age the Lord will permit a brief period of liberty
to Satan for the purpose of testing those who will have received
knowledge and uplift to perfection throughout the Millennial Age,
to the intent that none of the human family or others shall go
beyond that time or have eternal life except as they shall be
in heart obedience to the Lord and His righteous requirements.
The verses following our text tell not only of the First Resurrection
of the Church and of their reign with Christ for the thousand
years, but also tell us how the world during the thousand years
may come up to perfection of life and live in the true sense of
the word at the close of the Millennium.
will come the testing time already referred to, and such as will
be found disloyal to the Lord will be counted as the messengers
and co-laborers with Satan and with him will be destroyed in the
lake of fire, which is the Second Death—utter destruction.