Revelation 20:7-15

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

November 5, 1997

Introduction

When Jesus comes back at His second coming, Satan will be bound by a great chain in the bottomless pit, called the abyss.

He is bound there for a thousand years, while Jesus reigns on the earth.

:7-10 The Final Rebellion

:7 Satan shall be loosed out of his prison

During the thousand years, there will be a certain group of people living on the earth, those who became believers during the tribulation, yet were not killed.

This group will enter into the thousand year reign of Christ in their old bodies. That means they will reproduce and have children, grandchildren, etc.

These children will grow up, never having a choice between serving God or Satan, the only choice for a thousand years will be God.

So, Satan will be released briefly ("for a short time") in order to give them that choice. He will go out to deceive the nations once more.

The only people affected by this "deception" will be those who have been born during the millennium.

We will be in our glorified bodies and will not be deceived.

:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth

As we mentioned last week, the kingdom that Jesus establishes on the earth is not a single, world-wide kingdom. It is the kingdom of Israel, as it was meant to be.

Israel will be the dominant nation over the other nations of the world, but there will still be other nations in existence during the kingdom age.

:8 Gog and Magog

In Ezekiel 38,39 there is the description of a large battle in Israel, an invasion from the north by "Gog and Magog", whom we believe to be Russia and possibly some of the former Soviet Islamic republics.

Is this and Ezekiel 38-39 the same battle?

Characteristics of Ezek.38-39:

    1. It will happen during the "end times" (38:8,16)
    2. It will happen when Israel has been restored and living securely (38:8,11).
    3. They will come and attack from the north (38:15) (Rev.20 seems to indicate attack from all sides)
    4. God will destroy them with an earthquake, the sword, pestilence, rain, hail, fire, and brimstone (38:19-23) (here it's just fire from heaven, 20:9)
    5. Their bodies will lie there for the birds and animals to eat (39:4,17-18)
    6. The Israelis will burn the weapons for fuel for seven years (39:9)
    7. It will take seven months to bury the bodies, there will be special burial details to handle the bones carefully, maybe like radiation... (39:12,14-15)
    8. Israel will know God is Lord then, God's Spirit will come on the nation then (39:22,29)

When does Ezek.38-39 occur? A couple of choices -

1. It happens after the millennium

Problem: Why take seven years to burn the weapons when the whole earth will burn? How come there's bodies left to bury?

2. It happens at the end of the tribulation, at Armageddon.

Problem: It is to come when Israel is dwelling peacefully and securely, unwalled villages - not the description of Israel during the end of the tribulation period.

3. It happens before the tribulation.

Ez.39:29 for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel...

Romans 11:25-26 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

The fullness of the Gentiles refers to the present age when God's Spirit works mostly on the Gentile church.

This fits in with...

2Thess.2:6-7 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

The one strains is the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. When the rapture happens, the church is gone, then the fullness of the Gentiles will be over, and the Spirit will come upon Israel, as in Ez.39:29.

We tend to think that it's this last choice that's the best, meaning that though Gog and Magog might be the same nations, it seems to refer to different battles.

:8 the number of them is like the sand of the seashore

Lesson:

Man is basically bad.

There are many people who think that man's sinfulness is simply a matter of his environment. If you only clean up man's environment, give him a better place to live, give him a better education, etc., then man will be better.

This final deception of Satan will prove once and for all that man's heart is basically evil, not good.

After being under Christ's wonderful rule for 1,000 years, mankind will once more be deceived by Satan, multitudes of them.

:9 up on the breadth of the earth

NAS "broad plain of the earth"

platos - breadth

Is this because the hills and valleys were made plains at the second coming? And so the whole earth is flat during the millennium?

At the seventh bowl, all the islands and mountains fled away with the great earthquake. (Rev.16:20)

Isaiah 40:4-5 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

:9 fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

Just as Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen.19)

Just as Nadab and Abihu. (Lev.10)

Just as Elijah's enemies. (2Kings 1)

:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone

Here's the last time we'll ever see the devil. He will never, ever, ever appear again.

Lesson:

Satan will one day be gone forever.

I find that encouraging when I get hassled by him (like today!), or when I see others hassled by him.

He will come to his end.

We will be in heaven enjoying pleasures forever in the presence of God. He will be in the lake of fire, being tormented forever and ever.

:10 where the beast and the false prophet are

Notice that they're still there. Even after 1,000 years.

:11-15 The Great White Throne

:11 a great white throne

The word "throne" is used over 30 times in Revelation, but here John sees a "great white" throne. This description is to distinguish this throne from all the others mentioned before.

This is what's known as the "great white throne judgment" that is taking place here.

Here's some facts:

1. Jesus is sitting on the throne.

Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead. ( also John 5:22,27; Acts 10:42)

2. It is a judgment of unbelievers.

It is at this throne that the "second resurrection" takes place. The "first resurrection" (Rev.20:5-6) was of believers who died before the millennium, the second resurrection is for the "rest of the dead", unbelievers, and is the one which leads to the lake of fire.

As believers in Jesus, we will escape this judgment.

John 3:18 He who believes in Him (Jesus) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus took upon Himself the judgment meant for us, when He died on the cross.

Galatians 3:13-14 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" - in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

I believe that when Jesus died, since He took our penalty on Himself, and our penalty was the lake of fire, then Jesus experienced the pain and agony of the lake of fire, enough for the whole world, enough forever, upon Himself.

That's what He did because He loves us.

What about believers who die during the millennium, or those who simply live through the millennium? When is their resurrection and judgment?

We can assume that these will happen, but Scripture seems silent on these issues.

The judgment for believers

(2 Cor 5:10 KJV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

The judgment seat of Christ (bema, not thronos as in Rev.20:11) is what we as Christians will face rather than the great white throne.

It will be a time where our deeds done for the Lord will be judged and we will be rewarded.

As to when this takes place - it could be when we die, it could be at the Rapture, but it is separate from the "great white throne".

(1 Cor 3:13-15 NLT) But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. {14} If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. {15} But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.

We will be judged on how and what we build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ in our lives.

It will be a trial of fire. Whatever survives the fire will be our reward.

(1 Cor 4:5 KJV) Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

The basis of God's judgment is that God will judge our motives

(1 Cor 13:3 NASB) And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not , it profits me nothing.

The motive God is looking for in all our works in LOVE - His agape love as described further in the chapter.

Summary:

Believers will judged in order to receive rewards, with the basis being our motives, especially, love.

:11 earth and heaven fled away

The next section starts with telling us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

Why? God's plan is finished with this old earth. He's starting over again.

(2 Pet 3:10 KJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

It will all burn.

Col.1:17 says "in Him all things hold together". He's the one who holds the very atoms together. He'll simply have to let go, and it will all dissolve.

Lesson:

How attached are you?

(2 Pet 3:11 KJV) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

What kind of attachment should we have to this world? Are you going to be sad when it goes? Do you get bummed out when someone scratches your car? How will you feel when it burns?

:11 there was found no place for them.

I kind of get the picture of the cartoons where a cartoon character is left standing in the middle of the air with nothing underneath them.

:12 I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God

No one will escape this judgment.

All will be there, small and great.

:12 were judged out of those things which were written in the books

There are records of what we do.

Can you imagine a person being called by God to stand before him, and having his entire life read back to him? Perhaps it will all fit on a CD ROM.

:13 the sea gave up the dead which were in it

This is a mystery. What does this refer to???

One commentator (Walvoord) suggested that this is referring to those unbelievers who died at sea, where their bodies were scattered over the water as they disintegrated. These and all those who died similarly, who were not buried in a grave, will be resurrected too.

:13 death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them

Death giving up the dead refers to a resurrection. All the unbelievers come back to life.

Hades giving up the dead refers to the temporary place where the dead reside, Hades. When they are resurrected, Hades will be emptied out. See last week's tape for more details on Hades.

:13 they were judged every man according to their works

This is a fulfillment of the principle:

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Does this contradict salvation by grace?

We know that we are saved, not on the basis of what we do, but on who we believe in.

(Eph 2:8-9 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

It is not a contradiction because...

1. The first "work" that God requires is to believe in Jesus Christ.

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

2. All works apart from Jesus deserve the lake of fire.

We can only be saved by a gift from God, by grace, and once we've passed up God's grace, what we'll face is not salvation, but judgment, and the judgment is on our works.

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them."

Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

3. An unbeliever's works will decide on degrees of punishment.

Just as there are different degrees of reward for the believer in heaven, there will be different degrees of punishment in the lake of fire. (see Mat. 11:20-24)

To whom much is given, much is required.

:15 the book of life

This phrase is found 8 times in the Bible, and it always refers to the list of those who are saved, those who have accepted Jesus Christ. (Phil.4:3; Rev.3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27; 22:19)

The ultimate deciding factor of who goes into the lake of fire is the "book of life". The ultimate deciding factor is how a person stands with Jesus Christ.

:15 the lake of fire

we discussed this in length at the end of chapter 19, check out that tape.

Note: Just as the righteous are raised with bodies suited to spend eternity in the presence of God, the wicked are also given bodies suited to spend eternity away from God, in the torments of the lake of fire. The lake of fire is forever, it never ends.

Illustration:

A farmer was walking home one day along the railroad tracks. Evening was approaching and he lit his lantern. As he was walking along, he came to a section of the track where the rail was split and broken. He looked at his watch and realized that a train with several hundred passengers heading towards Chicago would be passing by in a few minutes. He knew that, if the train hit the broken section of track, many people would lose their lives. He started running down the tracks in the direction from which the train was coming. After a while he heard the whistle of the train in the distance. He increased his speed, even though he was almost totally exhausted. Finally, he saw the light of the train as it approached. He went running right down the middle of the tracks towards that onrushing train waving his lantern. At the last moment he jumped aside and threw his lantern up through the cab of the locomotive and hit the engineer right in the face. The engineer pulled on the emergency brake and the wheels began to throw fire. The train was brought to a halt a few feet short of the broken rail.

Some of you are headed down the track towards destruction, and God's hitting you square in the face with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He wants to stop you in your mad dash to hell. You can do one of two things. You can say that the man is a lunatic. He's making it up. And you can keep on going towards your absolute destruction. Or you can put on the brakes and receive Jesus Christ. And you can be sure that it will never happen to you, for God will save you from the wrath to come.