Author: Ron Graham
Times of Tribulation (Revelation 6-11) >Seven Seals >Excursus on time and suffering (4)
We have already discussed the short season that is the key time-frame in Revelation. We have related this little season to our own life time and the tribulations we suffer during our time on earth. However, perhaps we don't realize how this shortness of time frustrates and angers Satan, for it greatly hinders him.
The little season of Revelation 20:3 ties in with the earlier visions in chapter 12. The Dragon threatened the woman and made war with her other offspring, that is to say everyone saved by God's grace because they obeyed God's commandments and held to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17).
The Dragon did this for "a time, times, and half a time". That is a very short while compared to a whole 1000 years. This reminds us that what we suffer as Christians is not worthy to be compared with the eternal joy and glory we have in store (Revelation 1:6,9, Romans 8:18, 1Peter 5:8-11).
There are aspects in the life of every Christian which are pictured by the little season in which the Dragon arises from the Abyss. Satan stalks like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1Peter 5:8). Christians are a threatened people. Some are even actually slain because of their testimony of Jesus. It is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
But there is good news: God will never allow us to be tested beyond the limit of our endurance (1Corinthians 10:13) and there are "seasons of refreshing" the joy of which is like a thousand years when compared to the sorrow we endure which is like a little season (Acts 3:19, Revelation 20:2-4).
One of the messages about Satan in the book of Revelation at first appearance seems discouraging, because it is a "woe". However on closer examination we realize that we can take heart from it...
"Woe to the earth and the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, and he is furious knowing that he has but a short time" (Revelation 12:12).
Satan is angry because he knows he has been foiled by time. In the vision, he is cast down from heaven to earth (Revelation 12:7-9).
That is the same as saying that he was cast from eternity into time, and was entrapped by time as we are.
Satan is furious because time frustrates him so much. Time is fleeting; although Satan has his moments, and they seem terrible, they do pass; he cannot maintain them.
Time also will come to an end, and Satan does not know how far off the end of time is. It is God's deep secret (Matthew 24:35-36). The end of time is also the end of Satan (Revelation 20:10). He is aware of that. Satan is therefore having to use short-term strategies against the eternal God.
No wonder he is enraged, and no wonder we can resist him successfully (James 4:7).