The Key and the Book
While Bible scholars and students disagree over the interpretation of certain prophetic passages, the absolute sovereignty of God over all the affairs of human history is never in doubt.
Today’s reading: Zechariah 10-12; Revelation 20
16 For behold, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.
17 “Woe to my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be wholly withered, his right eye utterly blinded!” Zechariah 11:16-17
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. Revelation 20:1
When the Bible addresses the final events of time, not every detail is clear, but what is clear is that God reigns over all and that every person will stand in judgment before Him. There are three possible responses to these passages: comfort, terror, or ridicule. For those who believe in the Triune God revealed in Scripture, there is great reassurance that, for us, all will be well. For those who do not believe, their attitude may be to dismiss the assertions with ridicule or to ponder with terror the possibility that they may be true.
Zechariah shows us that God is the One raising up leaders, even evil ones. He is the One who is also judging them and putting them down. God doesn’t merely permit some wicked to gain power. He actually controls their ascendance and uses it for His purposes, in some cases to discipline His own people. In the end, He brings judgment on these ungodly powers.
In Revelation 20, God’s control of the cosmos is demonstrated by the key and the book. The key, entrusted to an angel, is the key to the bottomless pit, the place where Satan is cast and held impotent. Satan is completely wicked but he is not in control, not even of his own actions and destiny. There is also a book, the book of life, in which are written the names of those chosen to live and not be condemned to the lake of fire.
Those who consider these claims to God’s sovereignty over all things and of a final judgment to be mere myths are left, it seems to me, with the alternatives of a universe which is out-of-control and human existence which is without purpose. I don’t find this comforting or reassuring at all, do you? Praise God for His sovereignty and wisdom. He holds the key and the book.
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