To the Christian, history matters. Our joy and sorrow began unknown thousands of years ago in a now-hidden garden called Eden, where the loveliest creature performed the deed most foul. And ever since it has walked to and fro the earth, accusing, tempting, corrupting, destroying. But now – in this chapter – the book of time slams shut, sealing Satan within its pages like a loathsome butterfly.
Like a mad dog the devil is bound with a chain and thrown under seal, lock and key into the Abyss. For a thousand years godly men rule as judges over the earth, just as it was in the days of Adam, and as God directed Moses through his father-in-law Jethro. Those who died for King Jesus live and reign with Him on earth. Whoa – that’s Lord Jim Elliot over there in South America, and with him is the well-named Nate Saint! Dietrich Bonhoeffer is busy making Deutschland uber alles evil, and says to whoever will listen, "now THAT's a thousand year reign!" Over every tongue, tribe and people, Jesus and his 144,000 rule the earth.
….And then……for a moment, the book of time reopens and Satan wriggles back into human history. “Spanning the globe to, one last time seeking the thrill of victory but knowing the agony of defeat... this is Satan’s Wide World of Rebellion.” By comparison, The devil’s final demise makes the falling Wide World of Sports ski jumper look like Elijah ascending into heaven. His army circles the Holy City, it’s looking bad for the hometeam, but then that old bugaboo of satanic armies – fire falling from the sky – consumes them. And the last, benighted thought of many a warped weekend warrior is, “gosh, I wonder where THAT came from?! He told us we would win.” And then finally – finally – yea I say to you verily FINALLY – “the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Just and true are your ways, Lord, yay God.
And then –
Earth and sky flee from the presence of God on the throne. Creation has no place for them. From the four corners of earth and sea come the dead, great and small. A bunch of books, including the Book of Life, are opened. A celebrity’s Rolex and 22 movie credits will do him no good here, for it says – twice – “each person was judged according to what he has done.” Taken in context with the rest of Revelation and scripture, this would seem to mean how well believers who were “created for good works in Christ” actually did so. Adam and Eve forfeited the Tree of Life; Jesus hung on a tree of curses to buy it back; and those who are His creations of faith leading to good works are regrafted into that wondrous vine and their names are written in the Book of Life.
And as for the weeds and other counterfeit plant life – “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
For sin, death, and the devil, the story is over. The book of time slams shut, this time forever. The End Times are history. But for my brothers and sisters and I – the real story is just beginning.