A Question I Was Asked:

What - As Far as You Can See - are the Main End-Time Events in which The Church is Attacked and Destroyed?

Please, I'm wondering .....where is Satan being restrained?... Is he in the prison with the fallen angels?... Otherwise, is he in a different prison, maybe hades?? Also what - as far as you can see - are the end-time events in which the church is attacked and destroyed?

UK Apologetics Reply:

No, Satan is not in hades (where human non-believer souls await resurrection), he is in a place of extreme restraint called an "abyss" - see Revelation 20:1-3. It appears that this occurred as the Gospel started to be preached upon earth for the first time. See Luke 10:18-20 and John 12:31-32. Initially, it seems that Satan was able to persecute the fledgling church more when first cast down to earth. See Revelation 12:7-13. But his activities were soon seriously restricted. He and his demons can still exert some influence, but they are restricted; for example, Satan cannot prevent anybody whom God is calling from going on to inherit Eternal Life. However, he is well able to attack the 'stragglers in the pack.'

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9).

So where is this place of Satan's extreme restraint? Nobody can say, but it appears to be earth-based, or near this earth (he was cast down to earth, let us recall). The demons too are severely restricted, there remain strong barriers which they cannot cross.

A little speculation now: a few believe that Satan's place of restraint is below the earth, or below the sea. As we know, Revelation calls this place an "abyss" (Revelation 20:3). The meanings of that word include: a very deep or unfathomable gorge or chasm, anything that appears to be endless or immeasurably deep, such as time, despair, or shame, hell or the infernal regions conceived of as a bottomless pit. Of course of all of this is deep in symbolism and cannot tell us where this place might be. However, right at the end of time, Satan will be removed from there and allowed a little freedom, which he will immediately misuse, leading to far stronger eternal suffering for himself. Let us read it:

When the thousand years are over [editor's insert: the 'thousand years' appear to be symbolic of the age of the Church upon earth], Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth - Gog and Magog - and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And 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. (Revelation 20:7-10).

There is another point there: The Bible only ever talks about Satan being 'tormented day and night forever' - the doctrine that unsaved humans will also be so is a most monstrous doctrine and is not biblical.

The point at which Satan will be released from the abyss and quickly stir up the nations against the Church, and probably Christian nations, is almost certainly also referred to in Revelation 11. This is where the 'Two Witnesses' (representing the ministry of the Church throughout the ages) are attacked and destroyed. God apparently only allows this to happen immediately before Christ's return to earth in power and glory. Revelation 11: 7-13.

After destroying all Christian witness, Satan - acting especially now through a 'beast' and 'false prophet' - apparently stirs up the armies of the world against any remaining Christian organisations and nations. The 'beast' (a great military leader possibly directly possessed by Satan himself, just as many believe that Hitler was directly possessed by a demon or demons) will be active at this time, also a great 'false prophet' (a great religious leader - not of a Christian persuasion!). But the returning Christ will intervene and throw these two evil persons directly into the lake of fire, their all-out last-minute attack on Christianity will have failed - Revelation 20:7-10. This ends all rebellion against God upon this earth for all time. After the Great Judgement, the saints now go on to enter the 'Eternal State' and to possess both heaven and earth forever! No physical beings will now remain upon earth.

The above is my best current attempt at outlining the final end time events upon this earth but, of course, only God Himself knows exactly how and when all of this will occur. I could certainly be incorrect in my basic outline. The main point here is that Christ does return in glory and power and the Judgement follows.

Robin A. Brace. July 11th, 2015.