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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 13

The Loosing of Satan

Revelation 20:1-3. “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

Only as we understand the thousand year mystery and the binding of Satan, can we understand what is meant by the loosing of Satan. As Satan’s binding was not absolute nor accomplished with a literal materialistic chain, neither is the loosing of Satan a physical or tangible act. As the binding of Satan is a process accomplished by numerous factors over a period of time, so is the loosing of Satan.

Until we recognize that much symbolism has been used to keep the natural man from prying into God’s secrets, we will never know what is meant by the loosing of Satan. I am persuaded the key, the great chain, the bottomless pit, the thousand years, and the binding and the loosing of Satan are figures of speech that were never meant to be understood by natural men. I Corinthians 2:14.

Being spirit, Satan and his demon forces cannot be confined nor influenced by that which is material. Spirit only responds to that which is spirit. This being true, the binding and the loosing of Satan is accomplished as man’s spirit is made to reject or receive the influence of evil. As God expresses himself through yielded human vessels, Satan is likewise expressed or loosed through humanity. To accomplish this it was necessary for man to first be led into bondage through the lusts of his own flesh.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

According to the scriptures this age will close out with man living to the lusts of his flesh. He will be lawless, proud and violent. He will be concerned about the good life here and totally unprepared for the coming of Christ. Luke 17:26-30. II Timothy 3:1-5.

Inspired by Satan and drawn by his own lusts, man has been led into a carnal, materialistic way of life where he has little time or disposition for God. The over emphasis of sex, pleasure and material things to the exclusion of moral and spiritual values is part of the conspiracy of Satan to take control of man. Satan has cleverly used the power of these things to prepare man for this day and hour.

Although there is nothing intrinsically wrong in these things when they are made to serve man, they become idols when they begin to monopolize his life. Anything that binds man’s will and puts him in bondage is evil. This is what Paul meant when he said, “... all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” I Corinthians 6:12.

WATCHMAN NEE

I was recently amazed and then greatly encouraged by the teaching of Watchman Nee which confirmed our own views on this subject.

Quoting form the book, “Love Not the World”, pages 54 and 57, we found this interesting comment by Brother Nee:

“In Revelation 9 we read of a development which, to the author of that book, lay far in the future. ‘The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven fallen unto the earth: and there was given to him the key of the pit of the abyss. And he opened the pit of the abyss; and there went up a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace ... And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was said unto them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only such men as have not the seal of God on their foreheads’ (verses 1-4). This is figurative language, but the star falling from heaven obviously refers to Satan, and we know that the bottomless pit is his domain -- his storehouse, we might say. Thus it appears that the end-time is to be marked by a special release of his resources, and men will find themselves up against a spiritual power with which they had not before had to contend.

“Surely this accords with conditions in our day. While it is true that sin and violence will be greater than ever at the close of this age, it is apparent from God’s Word that it is not specifically these evils with which the Church will have to grapple then, but rather with the spiritual appeal of far more every-day things. ‘As it came to pass in the days of Noah, even so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise even as it came to pass in the day of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded: but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all’ (Luke 17:26-29). The point being made here by Jesus is not that these things -- food, marriage, trade, agriculture, engineering -- were outstanding characteristics of Lot’s and Noah’s day, but that they will in a special way characterize the last days. ‘After the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed’ (verse 39): that is the point. For these things are not inherently sinful; they are simply things of the world. Have you ever in all your days paid such attention to the good life as now? Food and raiment are becoming the special burden of God’s children today. What shall we wear? What shall we drink? Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For many these are almost the sole topics of conversation. There is a power that forces you to consider these matters: your very existence demands that you pay attention to them.

“And yet Scripture warns us that ‘the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness’ and so on. It bids us first of all seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and assures us that as we do so, all these things will be added to us. It bids us be carefree regarding matters of food and clothing, for if God cares for the flowers of the field and the birds of the air, will He not much rather care for us, His own? Yet to judge by our anxieties it would almost seem that they are cared for, but not we!

“Now here is the point that needs special emphasis. This condition of things is abnormal. The undue attention to eating and drinking, whether at the extremes of subsistence or luxury, that characterizes so many Christians these days is far from normal; it is supernatural. For it is not just a question of food and drink that we are meeting here; we are meeting demons. Satan conceived and now controls the world order, and is prepared to use demonic power through the things of the world to lure us into it. The present state of affairs cannot be accounted for apart from this. Oh that the children of God might awaken to this fact! In past days God’s saints met all sorts of difficulties; yet, in the midst of pressure, they could look up and trust God. In the pressures of today, however, they are so confused and bewildered that they seem unable to trust Him. Oh, let us realize the Satanic origin of all this pressure and confusion!

“The same is true in matrimonial affairs. Never have we met so many problems in this field as today. There is confusion abroad as young people break with old traditions but lack the guidance of any new ones to replace them. This fact is not to be accounted for naturally, but supernaturally. Marrying and giving in marriage are wholesome and normal in any age, but today there is an element breaking into these things that is unnatural.

“So it is with planting and building, and so too with buying and selling. All these things can be perfectly legitimate and beneficial, but today the power behind them presses upon men until they are bewildered and lose their balance. The evil force that energizes the world system has precipitated a condition today where we see two extremes; the one extreme of utter inability to make ends meet, and the other extreme of unusual opportunity to amass wealth. On the one hand many Christians find themselves in unprecedented economic difficulties: on the other hand many are faced with no less unprecedented opportunities of enriching themselves. Both of these conditions are abnormal.

“Enter any home these days and listen in on the conversation. You will hear remarks such as these: ‘Last week I bought such-and-such goods at such-and-such a figure, and I have thereby saved so much.’ ‘Happily I purchased that a year ago, otherwise I would have lost badly,’ ‘If you want to sell, sell now while the market is good.’ Have you not noticed the way people are rushing hither and thither, feverishly making business deals? Doctors are stocking up with flour, cloth-manufacturers are selling paper, men and women who have never touched such things before are being swept off their feet by the current of speculation. They are caught up in a marketing maelstrom that is whirling them madly around. Do you not realize that this state of affair is not natural? Do you not see that there is a power here which is captivating men? People are not acting sanely; they are beside themselves. Today’s buying and selling spree is not just a question of making a little money -- or losing it. It is a question of touching a Satanic system. We are living in the end-time, a time when a special power has been let loose which is driving men on, whether they will or no.”

It is quite obvious from Brother Nee’s writing that he saw the loosing of Satan and the demoniac kingdom behind man’s great bondage in these last days.

HELD IN CHECK

II Thessalonians 2:7 tells us of the mystery of iniquity working in Paul’s day but held in check until the falling away when the restraint would be removed. The falling away is simply man turning away from God in rebellion. The loosing of Satan is God by his Spirit removing the forces that hold Satan in check until that day. With divine restraint removed Satan takes control of rebellious man through whom he (Satan) begins to manifest his wrath.

Let’s note some other translations of the last part of verse seven.

“... only, he who checks it now will be able to check it, until he is removed from the enemy’s path.” (Knox).

“... But its activities are restricted until what I have called the ‘restraining power’ is removed.” (Phillips).

“... But the evil work is held in check and will be held back until the time when He who now restrains will be set aside.” (Norlie).

The fact that Satanic power was restrained or held in check in Paul’s day is made very plain by these translations. The only question needing an answer is how this restraint was imposed upon the forces of evil. If we know how Satan was bound it is simple to know how he is loosed.

TRADITIONAL TEACHING

Popular teaching is that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit. And the way the restraint is removed is when the Church is raptured. The catching away of the Church with the indwelling Spirit will, they say, allow Satan to come forth in great power. This, they say, results in the tribulation which will be followed by the millennial reign of Christ and then the final loosing of Satan. This false teaching is part of the conspiracy of Lucifer to lull men to sleep so they won’t recognize the final loosing of Satan before the coming of Christ.

Certainly we recognize that the Holy Spirit in the Church is one of the great deterrent forces that holds Satan in check. The Church’s influence in the legislating of laws, the proclamation of the gospel and its very presence in the earth has served to curb the forces of evil. The presence of the Holy Angels battling against the unseen forces of evil have also been a great factor in holding Satan in check.

But what happens when the Lord of hosts calls his people and the angels out of places where they have been holding back the forces of evil? The answer is simple, the demoniac kingdom will take over. When this happens, authority is overthrown, law and order is despised, anarchy and rebellion are condoned. This is accomplished as wicked spirits (master spirits) in high places of influence begin to reshape the thinking of the people. Judges, lawyers, educators, politicians, civil rights leaders, and preachers under the influence of these master spirits all make their contribution to the conspiracy.

BABYLON

Babylon used symbolically in Revelation, chapters 14 through 19, represents the whole world system of government, commerce, and religion. It is the natural man in all of his earthly endeavors without God. According to Revelation 18:2, Babylon becomes “... the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”

Other translations state it thusly:

“She has become a resort for demons; a fort for every unclean spirit; a refuge for every filthy and detestable bird.” (Berkeley Version)

“She has become an abode of demons; a stronghold of every foul and hateful bird.” (The Twentieth Century New Testament).

Notice the words used in these translations to describe Babylon as the dwelling place of demons: Habitation, hold, cage, resort, fort, refuge, abode, and stronghold. One thing becomes evident as we study these various translations. Babylon or the world system is completely taken over by the demoniac kingdom as this age comes to a close. It is obvious this complete possession didn’t always exist. It is at this point of complete dominion and control by the Satanic kingdom that God calls his people to “... come out....”

Even as he removed Lot from Sodom before he destroyed it with fire and brimstone, the Lord will call his people out of Babylon before he destroys it with fire. Revelation 18:1-8.

In the founding of governments and the legislation of laws, God has overshadowed and influenced men in spite of their lack of knowledge of him. Angels sent from the presence of God have stood by while constitutions were framed and governments formed. Although not aware of what was being done, men have cooperated with God in the establishment of a lawful society that served to hold back the forces of evil until the purpose of God had been accomplished.

Although overshadowed and influenced by God, Babylon is, nevertheless, a substitute for God’s kingdom in the earth.

In the same sense the law of Moses was given, God has decreed conditions during this day of grace that would hold back the forces of evil and permit the propagation of the gospel. As the law of Moses served to held back lawlessness and protect the righteous until the promised seed (Christ) came, God has through organized society preserved and protected his Church during this gospel age. Galatians 3:19 says, “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

Although the mystery of iniquity has been allowed to work, it has been under the restraint of a God-influenced society held together by law and order. This plus the ministry of the Church and the Holy Angels has been the means used of God to hold back Satan and his evil host.

Even though the power of darkness has been held in check, man as a whole remains basically the same. Given freedom of expression, evil will and has come forth in every generation. The fear of apprehension and punishment does not change the heart but it does restrain. Lawlessness is a condition of the heart that waits for its day of opportunity to manifest itself.

As is brought out elsewhere, the best definition of iniquity as is used in II Thessalonians 2:7, is lawlessness. The revealing or the manifestation of the man of sin, II Thessalonians 2:3, is simply what takes place when divine restraint is removed and the spirit of lawlessness is allowed freedom of expression. This is the way Satan is being loosed.

RELATIVE

Another great hindrance to understanding the mystery of the loosing of Satan is the mistake of thinking of it as something that is absolute rather than relative. This is also true of the binding of Satan. Because of the depravity of man’s heart, evil has been present in every age to corrupt governments and the various alliances of human society. This is also true of the Church dispensation. Satan’s binding hasn’t resulted in the absolute banishment of evil from the earth. Neither will the loosing of Satan result in the banishment of righteousness from the earth.

It will be noticed from Revelation 20, verses 3 and 8 that the loosing of Satan has to do with the deceiving of the nations. From verses 8 and 9 it is seen that the result of this loosing is a world gathering of the nations against the camp of the saints and the beloved city (the Church). Verse nine says they went up on the breadth of the earth. Breadth of the earth means the whole earth. The breadth of anything is its width. This coming against the Church will be the result of universal rebellion and hatred against Christ. The nations and their governments will be so completely taken over by Satan until they will openly come against God in this final great rebellion.

This rebellion against God is different from all other rebellions because it has the sanction and approval of the organized society of nations. Although evil has always been present and coming forth in varying degrees, this will be a concerted and united world’s official rejection of God and righteousness.

MANY ASPECTS

There are actually many aspects to the loosing of Satan. One of these will be a manifestation of lawlessness on a worldwide scale such as man has never experienced. Out of desperation man will be forced into a world union of government under the headship of Anti-Christ. It will be in this final form of Anti-Christ union that man and Satan will come against the Church to destroy it. This is also when the Lord will rain fire from heaven and destroy rebellious man.

The lawless aspect of the loosing of Satan before the coming of Christ is being accomplished through sin-blinded man as he ignorantly gives himself over to varied forces of evil. With divine restraint being removed, the world is being literally flooded by Satanically-inspired issues. Revelation 12:15. These issues, coming in many forms are simply the front behind which Satan and his evil host are working.

Being an intelligent creature, man must have something to believe in to justify his rebellion. Knowing this, Satan cleverly supplies him with many causes. These causes are carefully chosen to suit the person’s own political, religious, and racial bias. Through these causes man becomes the channel through which Satan is loosed. Suspicion, prejudice, hatred, and violence are becoming a way of life to this generation. It is common today to be working and fighting for or against something.

It is my conviction that this first phase of the loosing of Satan has begun. We can expect man in general to become more violent and revolutionary as Satan’s wrath increases. The wrath of man expressed toward his fellowman is the manifestation of Satan’s wrath. John expressed it in these words: “... woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Revelation 12:12.

This same time of trouble and distress caused by Satan’s wrath is also referred to by Daniel, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. Let’s consider them in the order given.

Daniel 12:1. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

This time of trouble was to exceed anything that had ever come before. It is also the time of deliverance for God’s people whose names are written in the book. It will also be noticed from verse 2 of Daniel 12 that the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked follows this time of great trouble.

In Jesus’ reference to this time of trouble spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, he confirmed Daniel’s prophecy by saying there would be great tribulation such as there never was before nor would ever be again. Matthew 24:15-22. It is also made plain by Jesus’ teaching that his coming with power and great glory would be immediately after the tribulation of those days. Matthew 24:29-31.

THE GREAT REBELLION

This teaching of Jesus, Daniel, and John is exactly what the Apostle Paul is teaching in II Thessalonians 2:1-12. Called the falling away by Paul, actually it is man in final revolt against God and righteousness. As man rejects God and righteousness, he becomes the vessel of Satan. Lucifer himself has no power apart from yielded human vessels. He must have a body through which he can manifest himself.

Let’s notice that Paul emphatically says, that Christ’s coming and our gathering together unto him must be preceded by the falling away and the manifestation of the man of sin. Other translations of this passage of scripture are real eye-openers as to what Paul meant by the falling away. Let’s notice several of them.

“... It will not come till the rebellion takes place first of all ...” (Moffatt).

“... for that cannot take place until the great revolt occurs ...” (Williams).

“...For that day will not come until two things happen: first, there will be a time of great rebellion against God ...” (Taylor).

“... That day will not come before there arises a definite rejection of God ...” (Phillips).

“... That day cannot come before the final rebellion against God ...” (The New English Bible: New Testament).

One thing is made very plain from these various translations. This falling (apostasia, Gr.) away is something uniquely different from all other times of rebellion. Notice the emphasis of the various translators. “The rebellion,” “the great revolt,” “a time of great rebellion against God,” “a definite rejection of God,” “the final rebellion against God.”

This time of rebellion is different from all others because it is the final and most universal rebellion of unregenerate man against God. It is the same day that Jesus and Daniel spoke of -- a time of great trouble or tribulation such as the world has never experienced. It is the final loosing of Satan before the coming of Christ and the destruction of this world by fire.

God, in longsuffering mercy, has restrained the mystery of iniquity to give man his day of grace. This restraining hand of God, which was actually the binding of Satan, has been accomplished by many deterrent forces that are now being removed. As God’s hand is removed Satan takes over. As this age comes to a close, more and more of the masses of humanity will be abandoned by God. Whole cities will be turned over to demoniac forces of evil as God calls his little elect remnant out. Matthew 11:20-24. Mark 8:22-26.

Evidence of this loosing of Satan is seen on every hand as humanity manifests more and more rebellion and violence. Not aware of the power that inspires and rules him, man is giving himself to many satanic causes in this hour.

The rebellion of children and today’s youth is certainly a manifestation of the loosing of Satan. We have never witnessed such an attitude toward parents and society in general. They riot without provocation taking pleasure in burning the flag, calling the police pigs, and destroying public and private property. Angry mobs of youth on school campuses and the streets of our cities looting, burning, and sometimes killing are not uncommon.

Other signs of the loosing of Satan is the hippie movement, free sex, the insane craze for rock music and increasing drug abuse. Every segment of society including grade school children are being influenced by violent and demoralizing forces of evil. Having been fed a diet of sex and violence through the movies, TV and trashy literature, today’s generation of young adults have been well educated as children to be taken over by Satan.

Without the strength of moral conviction and aided by the use of drugs, many children and young people have been possessed by seducing spirits that make them violent and rebellious. This accounts for the hatred of authority and the terrible acts of violence that are becoming almost commonplace. A case in point is the eight year old boy with a companion who were caught stealing money out of the cash drawer at a filling station in Miami, Florida. Upon being caught by the attendant, he grabbed a gun and tried to kill the attendant. When questioned by the police he showed no sign of remorse but rather boasted and said that he wished he only had one hand with a hook on the other hand so he could kill people with it.

Another case that has been widely publicized is Charles Manson and his deluded followers on the West Coast who were charged with wantonly murdering movie actress Sharon Tate and several other people. While being tried, Manson and his girl followers showed nothing but contempt for the court and the presiding judge. Cursing and condemning the judge and the officers, Manson’s mouth had to be taped shut so that the court could carry on. Even today after being convicted of the crime, it is reported that they show no sign of remorse for brutally murdering people who were begging them for mercy.

Still another case of obvious demon possession is the Zodiac killer in California. This modern day Jack-the-Ripper laughs as he murders his helpless victims. He also takes great delight in taunting the police in their efforts to catch him. Calling by phone and laughingly describing his crime, he gives them information that they alone have so they will know he is the killer. On one occasion he seemed to remorsefully recognize his condition and asked for help before he murdered someone else. He spoke of something inside of him that literally drove him to kill saying he didn’t know how much longer he could keep this thing under control.

Eight young nurses were slaughtered in Chicago, twelve people were killed on the University of Texas campus by a berserk student, and legion are the accounts of multiple murders where whole families are wiped out. Added to these accounts of wanton killings is the still more recent murder of twenty-five itinerant farm workers, also on the West Coast.

Our cities have long been jungles of violence with crime statistics continuing to climb. Fear stalks the streets of America and the cities of the world. At the time of this writing, prison riots are alarming the nation. The Attica prison uprising that resulted in forty-two deaths is one of many recent prison riots that have resulted in bloodshed.

WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

A special article in the September 28, 1970 issue of the U.S. News and World Report says, “Violence is a worldwide problem.” This report goes on to say that bombings, kidnapping, assassination, and terroristic violence are becoming a way of life all over the world. Many accounts of strife, civil war, and violence are given, not only from the United States, but also from Europe, Canada, Asia, South America, and Africa.

Although there has been some manifestation of hatred and violence in the world since Cain killed Abel, this last day expression of Satan’s wrath will exceed anything the world has ever witnessed.

GREAT UNREST

Great unrest prevails in the world today. The terrible prejudice and hatred between the races that has resulted in so much strife and violence is definitely the work of Satan and his evil host. More and more a man’s enemy is black or white, Protestant or Catholic, Jew or Arab, or “that other group.”

Even the women are in rebellion against divine order. The so-called women’s liberation movement designed to free womanhood from the shackles of masculine prejudice is just another sign of the loosing of Satan. This movement supposedly is to free the woman and make her equal with the man in the home, industry, politics, and the world. What an affront to Almighty God this must be, who says the woman is the weaker vessel whose place is in the home under the headship of her husband. I Peter 3:1-7. I Corinthians 11:3. Ephesians 5:22-23. Titus 2:3-5.

Another great evidence of the loosing of Satan is the change in attitude of the courts with respect to criminal activity. Under the cloak of civil rights, the criminal is being favored today and often turned loose to continue preying upon society. The laxity of the courts plus public apathy and censure make the policeman’s job almost impossible. In some instances of rioting and looting they are actually forbidden to make arrests. Those who are arrested are usually turned loose to appease the demands of the rioters.

Muggings, holdups, murder and rape are often ignored by an apathetic public who do not want to get involved. Public sentiment is such that capital punishment is being stricken from the law books of the land. In those few states that still have capital punishment, death row is filled with men, some who have been there for years awaiting execution because no one wants to carry out the sentence of the courts. The spirit of the age is to condone the crime and not punish the criminal. Crime statistics continue to spiral with fewer arrests and fewer convictions of those who are arrested.

Hijackers brazenly hijack huge airliners and boldly force them to fly to various parts of the world. Some demand ransom or release of criminal associates. Often as not, the government or authority involved will agree to the demands of the criminals.

All of this is symptomatic of an evil force at work to destroy man. I believe it is the final loosing of Satan.

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