Meditation for Monday

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. Revelation 20:2

The Nuremberg Trials in 1945-46 resulted in the conviction and sentencing of most of the top officials of Nazi Germany. A few of those tried were acquitted, several were convicted and executed, and others were convicted and ordered to spend various terms in prison, including some who received life imprisonment. One of the latter was Rudolph Hess, at one time the deputy fuhrer until he flew to Scotland in 1941, in a strange attempt to persuade Britain to strike a peace deal. Hess was committed to Spandau Prison, where he became the last imprisoned member of Hitler’s cabinet, dying in his cell in 1987. He served a long sentence, many say not nearly long enough, for his crimes. But others have served longer sentences, some of them worse criminals than Hess. Our text talks about the greatest criminal of all time serving the longest sentence of all time.

I have sat in courtrooms and listened to judges hand out lengthy sentences for some criminals, saying that the length of sentence was for the protection of society, to keep the criminal from being able to hurt anyone, for as long as possible. That is certainly part of the purpose of having the devil locked up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. The absence of the devil is part of the blessing of the thousand years’ reign of Christ. His absence means the absence of many of the temptations that the devil torments people with today. His absence means the absence of cruelty, hatred, and violence, which are the hallmarks of that old serpent. Without the devil around, this world will be free to enjoy the glorious reign of great David’s greater Son. His perfect righteousness will be unimpeded by the fiery darts of the wicked one. Most days, you and I could wish the devil were locked up now, that we might be free of his evil wiles. But it is comforting to know that this earth will one day enjoy a millennium without him.

Did you notice who it was that bound the devil? It wasn’t the Lord Jesus, or Michael the archangel (as far as we can tell), or Gabriel, or any of the highest order of angels. It was a regular angel, just one angel. And he apparently had no difficulty in laying hold of the devil, and binding him. How tremendously humiliating that will be for the one who was the highest in creation, the most powerful of all the angels, the ultimate in the spirit world. All of his power goes for naught, as a humble and unnamed angel grabs hold of him and subdues him easily. That surely is a comfort for us to know that our tormentor and accuser will be so humiliated.

On the cross, the Lord Jesus defeated all our enemies. We rejoice at the wonderful prospect that we will be spectators to the defeat of our worst enemy. – Jim MacIntosh

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