STUDY: PART 64
First let me say that many commentators think that because the Millennium is only mentioned in chapter 20, it’s not really important. Millennium means one thousand years. It’s the length of time God will keep satan captive in the abyss. Although we see Millennium only in this chapter, it’s written six times (Revelation 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7). I think that makes it significant to the story, don’t you?
Before the Millennium, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, can begin satan has to be removed from the earth. He is darkness and sin which cannot be present during this millennial reign of Jesus and the church. As long as he walks the earth there can be no real peace. For this reason he will be confined to the bottomless pit and locked in or sealed for the entire one thousand years of the Millennium.
V. 1-3 – An angel from heaven will come down, bind satan and drag him off to captivity. The “prince of the power of the air” will be overcome, not by the mighty hand of God, but by His angel. What an insult to satan’s pride! It would be bad enough to have God throw him into the deep, but an angel? One of his own kind? That’s the ultimate “put down.”
The angel had the keys to the bottomless pit, or the abyss, with him which we see in Revelation 1:18 (I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.) are the keys of death and Hades which Jesus had. This allows us to understand that God assigned this duty to the angel and gave him the tools he needed to accomplish it.
Look at verse 2. It says that the angel, “…laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old (“serpent of old” meaning the Old Testament in the Garden of Eden where he deceived Adam and Eve), who is the devil and satan, and bound him for one thousand years.” The words I want you to focus on are, “laid hold.” This means that satan in not a spirit, he is a being that can be captured, bound and confined. He is real in spite of what some denominations preach. Satan is real, the abyss is real, and hell is real.
Our support Scripture for this “binding” is found in Matthew 12:29, “Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” In other words, Jesus needs to clean house before He takes back from satan what satan stole from Adam.
Some commentators don’t believe the binding and sealing up of satan is an actual physical imprisonment in the abyss. They believe it means his hands are bound so that he can no longer deceive the nations. I’m of the school that believes if the Bible says it take it literally unless the Bible gives you reason not to. Regardless of which school of fish you run with, satan will be bound and rendered ineffective for the one thousand years repeated here six times. His power over the nations will be stopped for that period of time. He will accomplish no death, destruction, confusion, or sin. He will not fly through the air or roam the earth seeking whom he may devour (Ephesians 2:2; I Peter 5:8). The nations will now be ruled by Jesus and the church. No longer will they be led into idol worship or false doctrine. They will no longer seek to kill the saints of God.
After his one thousand year incarceration, satan will be loosed. Why? It’s because God said so. That’s the only reason and the only one that makes sense. What His purpose is for letting that tyrant loose can only be spoken in speculation, not certainty. We just don’t know why.
V. 4-6 – From our previous studies we know that millions of born-again Christians will be killed during the Tribulation. They will be starved to death or mutilated by beheading. Many will live through that three and a half year period only to be killed at the last minute. Take heart. They are coming back to rule and reign with Jesus too.
From the research I have done it’s not clear who is being referred to when we read, “And I saw thrones and they that sat on them…” It could be the saints of all the ages or the 24 elders that are seated around the throne of God. If it is the saints, the judgment could mean they have been judged and found innocent and are now with Jesus in heaven. If this refers to the elders, it might mean that they have been given the authority to judge others. Since the power to judge was given to Jesus, I believe those on the thrones are the saints. Let’s read Daniel 7:22, “Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” God judged the saints to be holy.
Paul said, in Ephesians 2:1-6, "And you he made alive...and raised us up with Christ with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Jesus gave the saints their seats in heaven.
The souls spoken of here are the souls of those who died during the Tribulation period who have not yet received their resurrection bodies. These are the saints who upheld the Word of God even at the risk of death. They are the ones who did not take the mark of the beast or worship the beast during the Tribulation. They kept themselves pure and still preached the undiluted Word of God which is, Jesus came in the flesh, lived, taught, suffered, died, and was resurrected. They are the ones who will be raised in the first resurrection of the Tribulation dead. The rest of the dead will not be raised until after the liar satan is freed from the abyss.
Those who are resurrected will be “blessed and holy” meaning they are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. They will not taste the second death, which is hell and its fire. They will have the authority as priests during the Millennium to offer sacrifices of praise and worship to the Lord Father and Son. They will sing the praises of the glorious Godhead.
STUDY: PART 65
V. 7 – The Book of Revelations is a book of the prophecies of the end things. The entire book is about endings including the end of satan’s ability to deceive. For one thousand years satan will be in prison in chains, unable to say or do anything to affect what’s going on in earth and the New Jerusalem. What we need to remember as we move toward the final battle between good and evil is, all the people who remained on the earth after the Battle of Armageddon were born-again Christians. All the rebels had been dispatched either to the grave (the people), hell (the beast and antichrist), or the abyss (satan). There were no longer any rebellious antichrists or disobedient people left.
What we must also remember is that those who come out of the Tribulation alive and in Christ will continue to marry and bear children. This does not include the bride of Christ – the church- but only those who survived every attempt of satan to kill them for their belief in Jesus. Now the original command of God in the Garden of Eden to multiply and replenish the earth will be fulfilled. It will be the Garden of Eden all over again. Isaiah 11:6-8 states it this way, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' (viper’s) den.”
V. 8 – Much speculation has been written about what this all means. Who are the “nations of the four corners” and how do we know them? One commentator I read said it’s the dead from the Battle of Armageddon who were raised up like the dry bones in Ezekiel to stand with satan against the Lord Jesus and His faithful ones to try and kill them. This had me crying out , “NO WAY!” Most commentators and pastors agree that this is a real live people talked about here, not people who have died. The dead are already either blessed or condemned to hell, no changing that now.
If all is peace and joy on earth, how will satan change that?
The truth, as I see it is, since Christ will rule and reign from the New Jerusalem with the church and the Tribulation saints, anyone who lives outside of that “beloved city” is the nations. It means the families of those who survived the great battle and have filled the earth with new lives. To me, this proves out what I’ve always said about the Garden of Eden and Adam’s and Eve’s fall. Any human being who is not sanctified in Christ would have fallen for the lie. When satan is released from his prison to roam the earth for a short time, he will once again deceive the people. This time it will be whole nations of people that will be deceived. Watch this now! Luke 6:45 says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Satan will wage a fierce battle against Jesus as he seeks to destroy His kingdom. Many will fall for his lies again, be deceived, and come against Christ because their hearts are wicked all the time.
How will satan raise an army that’s so large John says, “…whose number is as the sands of the sea.” It will not be difficult for satan to raise up that huge army because for one thousand years people will be having babies and raising up large families to repopulate the earth. There will be no death, sickness, disease, or famine to kill them, but the heart of man will not be changed toward God. When satan comes, they will easily turn to him against the Lord believing what satan says as Eve did. Also look at what Revelation 19:15 said of Jesus’ reign when He returns, “He will rule with a rod of iron.” People don’t like to be ruled. They will be ready to rebel.
Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Romans 8:6-8, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
How will the earth hold all the people called for? Look at the number of people on earth today and yet there are vast areas of land that remain uninhabited. When satan is released, the earth will have been filled. If the planet is not covered now by its 6,700,869,900 people, and counting, how many will it take to fill it?
Do you wonder how God will feed all these people? The curse will be removed from the earth that was placed there at the fall in the original Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:17-19: And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” I believe the mountains will be leveled and the frozen areas thawed to make even more room. The land will prosper and produce many times over what it can produce now. Many of you have had farming experience. Imagine your corn field producing 15 or 20 times the ears it does now! That’s food production! But God will do even greater things than that.
This Gog and Magog is not the one in Ezekiel 38-39. Let me give you what J. Vernon McGee says about it. It makes good sense to me.
"Because the rebellion is labeled "Gog and Magog," many Bible students identify it with the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38-39. This is not possible at all, for the conflicts described are not parallel as to time, place, or participants-only the names are the same. The invasion from the north by Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 breaks the false peace of the Antichrist and causes him to show his hand in the midst of the Great Tribulation. That rebellion of the godless forces from the north will have made such an impression on mankind that after one thousand years, that last rebellion of man bears the same label-Gog and Magog."
The example he gives is World Wars I and II. Although two separate incidences, they were similar enough to bear the same name. This will be true after the Millennium. We will claim Gog and Magog I and Gog and Magog II. Just as the Lord ended Armageddon, so will He end this great battle. It’s the final battle before the Great white Throne Judgment.
V. 9 – “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Who went up and to what “camp” did they surround? The nations went up against the camp of God, the New Jerusalem. And God smote them with fire. We saw this in Sodom and Gomorrah and at the Battle of Armageddon. We will see it here for the last time. The righteous fire of God will devour them completely.
In the feel good religions of today, this is said to be symbolic of God’s cleansing of sin from the earth. The proponents of those religions don’t believe a “loving God” would do this to His own creation. If we were to believe that, we could burn the Bible and call God a liar. Everything written in this compilation of books and letters was leading to this very moment. We can read God’s warnings throughout the Old and New Testaments. The entire Bible makes it clear that we need a Savior. In the Old Testament the brass serpent in the wilderness that the people were to look at when they were bitten so that they could live was a type of Christ’s salvation (Numbers 21:5-9). The scarlet cord hung from the window of the home where the harlot who rescued the spies lived was a type of Christ’s salvation (Joshua 2:18). The New Testament is entirely Christ’s salvation. More than that, all this Bible is filled with admonitions, commands, and instructions about how to live a righteous life. The Old Testament people could not do it with the Law, and the New Testament people have not been able to do it under grace. No matter who or when, humans need a Savior: THE Savior.
Rest assured, this is not a bedtime story with a moral to make us wake up and behave better. This is God’s truth. We know by the flood, the cremation of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the captivity of Israel that, if God says it, He will do it. God is not an evil one that sends people to hell. We know by this rebellion after the thousand years of peace that man is wicked in his heart all the time. He sends himself to hell.
V. 10 – Satan will finally taste the defeat he has been threatened with for millennia. As Christians, we have all recited the following, “I read the back of the book and we win!” Now that we are at the back of the book we see that Jesus wins, He has completely crushed the devil under His heel, and because He has, we indeed do win. But the victory is in and through Jesus. We can change the declaration of victory to read, “I read the back of the book, and Jesus wins. That makes me a winner.”
John sees here that Satan had been given his last taste of freedom. Stupidly, he used it to deceive the nations and to war against the Lord. That wicked devil, although he has never been to hell despite what theologians preach, will now join the beast and the antichrist in hell. Hell has been held up to him as his great punishment for his wicked deeds throughout the ages: he will now see it come to pass as he’s cast down into the hell fire and brimstone he’s dreaded for so long.
Again I have heard teachers expound different theses about what hell really is. One guy that claimed to be a Bible teacher, and who used to our home church, said that hell is only for about a thousand years, then the people, the devil, the beast and antichrist will all be vaporized. I do not find this written in Scripture. A “scholar” I read, who for obvious reasons shall remain nameless here, said that the fire and brimstone are only illustrations of how painful being eternally separated from God will be. The mental anguish at being eternally disconnected from God will be the hardest part of hell, but not the only part. Upon study of these comments, I find in my Bible the following words of our Lord Jesus.
Matthew 8:12, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 13:41, 42, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…”
Mark 9:43, 44, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Compare with Isaiah 66:24, “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
It doesn’t matter what man says, only what God says, and He said that satan, the best, the antichrist and all those who choose the devil will burn in hell eternally. That’s not mean, that’s righteous. When I told my children that if they did a certain thing they would get a spanking, and they defied me by doing it, believe they got a spanking. If my threat was not a lie to them, why would God lie to His children? Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” He would not and does not lie!
STUDY: PART 66
V. 11 – “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” Who is “Him” who sits on the throne? We find that out in Daniel 7:9, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” It is the Ancient of Days, the One who was, is, and is to come, Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One into whose hands all judgment was committed, who sits on the throne.
Let’s read John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son…” Father gave Jesus the right to judge. He has the right to call the dead from the grave, the living saints to meet Him in the air, the Tribulation saints to rise up and face the first judgment with the church, and He has the right to judge the world before sending them to hell.
Now we will look at John 5:26-29. ”For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life (first resurrection); and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (second resurrection).” The first part of this, “they that have done good” has already been done. All that’s left now is to judge the “they that have done evil” who have denied the Christ to their own damnation.
The purity of Jesus is like such great fire that it scares away the heaven and the earth. What this actually means is that the old heaven and earth are now destroyed. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (II Peter 3:5-7). There is no place for the old heaven and earth because both have been polluted by sin. Earth was polluted by the devil and all who followed him into sin. Heaven was also polluted by the devil as he accused the brethren before God lying and making false accusations against us. Soon a new heaven and earth will take their place. The newness is as of the Garden of Eden before the fall.
V. 12 – “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life (Daniel 12:1; Philippians 4:3): and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
Do you all remember what Revelation 20:5 said? “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” This is the second resurrection that verse referred to. The earth and the heaven are passed away therefore there are no longer people living. All are dead and now come to the judgment. The problem with the thesis that God is good and will not condemn people to hell is, the Bible says otherwise, and God wrote it. We definitely will all have a trial and will see what we have done and failed to do for God, but praise God for His mercy endures forever for those who have accepted Jesus as Savior. Alas, those who have not given their lives over to Jesus have given them to the devil and will suffer the same eternal torment he will. God is just. His judgments are true. He will send the unsaved to hell. There is no getting prayed out of it. We make our choice for or against the Lord while we have breath. Then, after we die, it’s too late to change that choice.
It says here, “…the dead, small and great…” this refers to the leaders of the world and the lowly citizens. Standing together before Jesus will be religious and political leaders of this world right beside those they had charge over. At this judgment, no one is any better than anyone else. All of the people at the throne have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and will be rewarded accordingly. “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: (Jeremiah.17:1; Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6).
At the judgment, several books will be opened. One will be for the person’s life history of what they did or didn’t do about worshipping Jesus and taking Him as Savior. It will also disclose all their other works. In contrast, the Book of Life will be opened so that these can see their names are not written in it. There will be great sorrow when they realize it was their own choice to be left out. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8), “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). The time of grace and mercy have ended, there are no more “last chance” offers given. For all those who teach and believe we can get to heaven by our works, this clarifies the fact that grace and mercy through salvation are the only vehicles to heaven.
V. 13 – “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” The reference to the sea is obvious. All who have died a watery death whose bodies had not been discovered, and all military personnel who were buried at sea, will be raised. Death is the grave on earth where people’s bodies are buried. Hades is the dark pit where the spirits and souls of the unsaved are stored till the Great White Throne Judgment day comes. Understand here that the spirits of these are what will be eternally separated from God. The soul (mind, will, emotions) will also, but the spirit is what will eternally crave after and long for being in the presence of God, and they will be denied access.
V. 14, 15 – “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
In the Old Testament times, the spirit of people who died went to one of two places to await the resurrection. They either went to Paradise as Abraham and Lazarus did, or to Hades as the rich man did (Luke 16:19-31). Those who were in Paradise are those who were the dead in Christ that Jesus went to redeem after His burial in the tomb. Paradise is now empty.
Hades, on the other hand, is filled with the unregenerate people from all ages who will be raised at the Great Judgment. As soon as Hades vomits up its residents it will be cast into the Lake o Fire. No longer will man have to die. Death and Hades are destroyed. The devil and all the wicked ones are cast into the lake of fire. Death, hell, Hades, the antichrist, the beast, satan, the evil angels, and all mankind who served satan will be in the Lake of fire, the place of everlasting torment.
Let’s close with some Scriptures. First, look at Hosea 13:14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” Jesus is the Judge who will destroy death and the grave.
Second, let’s read I Corinthians 15:26, 55, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Luke 10:20. “...rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”