Growing up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania while I was delivering papers, cutting grass, taking a shortcut through a yard, or riding my bicycle, on occasion I might encounter a snarling or barking dog. It would growl deeply, bare its teeth, bark, and run after me. I was bitten on two occasions. Which is why it was always a great relief to me, though not to the dog, when a collar and chain were in place which restrained the pursuing canine often with a jolt.
Revelation 20:1-3 are some very interesting verses, “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”
While I am not going to get into the eschatological debate and apocalyptic theories concerning this amazing vision by John, I would like to ponder this image of the dragon on a restrictive, angelic leash made from a great chain. As I write, I am looking at a rather frightening, yet comforting image of a painting in my office which portrays this scene. Part of me desires to turn away from the diabolical chained dragon, while a greater piece of me finds joy knowing the devil is a defeated foe. For even though he has not yet been completely subdued, he is restrained and his time of utter destruction is coming.
Our adversary, “the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan” is not ever to be messed with. He is a mighty foe. In 1 Peter 5:8 we are warned, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Also in a rather obscure passage in Jude 9 we are admonished to never take him too lightly, “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Our ultimate adversary is on a mighty leash and locked away. For us this means:
1) Always be very cautious and on your guard. Even though chained and locked up, never underestimate satan. Too many times, too many think they have figured out how far the dragon can pursue us before the chain snaps him to a sudden stop. But don’t play this game of Russian roulette with evil. Like a lion in a cage at the zoo, don’t ever mess around with seeing how close you can get without being devoured. He is the master of lying and deception. He may trick you into thinking his chain is shorter than it actually is and you will end up stuck in his jaws. Our chained adversary has been given limits on how far he can pursue and stalk. But, because of our free will, we have no set limits placed on our approaching and engaging our chained foe. Be careful little feet where you go.
2) Be at peace, have confidence, and know joy. Always remember the evil one is presently limited and is ultimately defeated. Know that your Daddy, your Heavenly Father, is bigger, all powerful, and love. Know you are always safe when you have placed your faith in Jesus and stay with Him. Yes, the roaring lion can make a lot of noise and sometimes cause the hair to stand up on the back of our necks, but as Followers of Jesus, we are Children of God and our Father is a jealous God who will ultimately protect and bring us to be with Him forever in His House.