The apostle Paul fought a dragon and won. The ruins of the pagan temples of Athens and Ephesus bear witness yet today. The ministry (angels or messengers) of the early morning church valiantly warred, at the peril of their lives, against the spirit of paganism, that old dragon (Rev. 12:3, 7–11) which had held most of the world under its deceptive spell.
That dragon had thrived in the civilizations of ancient Rome and Greece, and famous philosophers– Plato, Aristotle, Socrates–crowned the dragon’s brow as they infused society with their polished humanism.
So advanced in pride, ancient man took it upon themselves to devise gods and goddesses out of their own imaginations. By the hands of human craftsmen, their ready-to-order gods were produced, bringing no small gain.
Beautiful temples were built to house these gods and goddesses. The art is stupendous; the religion was vain. But this dragon-run craft was indeed lucrative business—business which was wonderfully disrupted by ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” is heard no more … but the battle was fought and won by the blood of those martyred by the dragon’s hand.
We read of this history in the prophetic voice of scripture:
“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.” Rev. 20:1–3a.
By the Word and the Spirit (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal), God’s ministry exposed and bound the spirit of paganism, that devilish system of false religion. Multitudes believed the gospel and, consequently, the temples shut down. The ruins can be viewed today.
For one thousand years the dragon was bound. This is not a literal thousand-year period, for the symbolic language of Revelation cannot be understood as being literal. It simply refers to a long period of time.
This history, as shown in symbols to the apostle John by divine revelation, is true. The book of Acts reveals glimpses of this conflict with the dragon during this time of the early church (Acts 17, 19).
The dragon bound, Satan then developed other false religious systems to deceive the people. The spirit of man-rule or popery (Rev. 13:1–8) was a beastly system which blinded the minds of men for long centuries, making it the Dark Ages in history. This beast was finally exposed and wounded, so the devil disguised himself again and worked through another beast (Rev. 13:11–12) which arose out of the earth (human, not divine)—Protestantism, to deceive the nations.
The Revelation given to the apostle John revealed the history of the church right on through the entire gospel day to the end of time. Let us read more: “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.” The time would come when the thousand years would be fulfilled and the dragon—the spirit of paganism—would be loose again.
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fi re came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Rev. 20:7–9.
This prophecy is not something yet future. Most emphatically, we state that this is presently being fulfilled before our eyes. The nations of old were deceived by the dragon, and it has made a return for the same purpose, to deceive the people.
A revival of paganism has been on the rise for a number of decades now. Behold the New Age Movement, Wicca, fortune tellers, yoga, transcendental meditation, druidism…the list could go on and on; the revival of eastern religions, including radical Hinduism and the Islamic religion. Consider dualistic and naturalistic pantheism revived–save the planet, save the animals, evolution. Abortion and homosexuality suit the surge of the humanistic revolution strongly afoot today. Polytheism and humanism both mark the landscape, including their dragonic infusion into “mainstream Christianity,” schools, the media, and government. The worldview is increasingly pagan and, incrementally, Christians are losing their rights.
We see in Revelation 20:7–9 that now, in this end time, the loosed spirit of paganism has joined forces with the two other beastly false religious systems of popery and Protestantism–symbolically called Gog and Magog, a type of the ancient enemies of Israel. This is a time of unsurpassed religious deception.
This joining of the forces of the dragon and the spirit of popery and Protestantism is evidenced in the ecumenical movement rampant today with its mindless and unbiblical “judge nothing, tolerate all; no absolute truth” heresies—mixed religion and philosophies fighting against the truth. How few understand what real Christianity even is anymore.
Indeed, these combined powers of error are “out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth.” The purpose of their gathering together is “to battle” against God’s true church. This is Satan’s final effort to deceive and destroy souls right before the return of Jesus Christ. The devil knows his time is short. The dragon is loosed for but a “little season,” part of which has already passed. We are surely near the end of time.
This triad of error is in the majority (those on the broad way always are), even “as the sand of the sea.” The beloved city is the minority. But the minority is right. The “beloved city” is the “city of truth,” God’s “little flock.”
The prophecy of Rev. 20:9 is also clear evidence that God has a visible church in this end-time, or she could not be compassed about by the enemy. “The camp of the saints” is separate from the errors surrounding her. Beyond a doubt, Satan knows who the true church is.
Are you in the city that is compassed about or in the triad of error battling against her?