Revelation 19:17 – 20:3

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 17, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

We have arrived at the climax of history.

The world has gone through that terrible time we’ve come to call that Tribulation, a period of seven years when God’s wrath is poured out on earth.

And the best part, Jesus has returned.  Hallelujah!

It’s now time for the final battle for this present earth.

19:17-21 The Beast’s Defeat

:17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,

:17 an angel

 Literally, “one angel”

:17 standing in the sun

Is this angel literally standing on the surface of the sun?

I wouldn’t be surprised if an angel could do this, even though the surface of the sun is over 5500 degrees C.

He is probably standing in front of the sun.

:17 birdsorneon – a bird

:17 flyingpetomai – to fly

:17 the midst of heavenmesouranema (“middle” + “heaven”) – mid-heaven; the highest point in the heavens, which the sun occupies at noon, where what is done can be seen and heard by all

:17 gather togethersunago – to gather together, to gather

:18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

:17 the supper of the great God


The Last Supper

supperdeipnon – supper, especially a formal meal usually held at the evening
This is the last time this word appears in the Bible –the “last supper”.  J
The same word was used to describe another supper earlier in the chapter:

(Re 19:9 NKJV) Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

The marriage supper of the Lamb is the feast that believers will be having in heaven with Jesus.

It will be a glorious time!  I expect there won’t be too much diet food in heaven either!

It is for all those who have opened their hearts to Jesus.

But the people who show up at this last supper are not going to be so “blessed”.  In fact they will be the main course … for the birds.
Before this angel speaks up, the birds are just sitting around … Play Jungle Book Vultures clip
But when the birds hear the voice of this angel calling them, the birds will flock to the land of Israel in preparation of this “last supper”.
PlayThe Birds” clip. (1963)

It’s interesting that Israel lies on the migration route of thousands of birds as they fly from Africa into Europe each year.  In particular, the Hula Valley is favorite spot for ornithologists to observe all the various species as they make their way north or south.

Throughout history, it has not been a cool thing to die and not have a proper burial.
A proper burial means having your body put in the ground or in a cave, protected from the wild animals.

It’s only criminals and people without loved ones who die and their bodies are left for the animals to eat.

King Ahab and his wife Jezebel were known as the most wicked king and queen in the history of Israel.

Part of God’s judgment on their wickedness involved how they would die.

They brought in the worship of false gods.

They cheated and stole from their people, even having people put to death for stupid reasons.

Elijah heard a word from God about Ahab and Jezebel.

(1 Ki 21:23–24 NKJV) —23 And concerning Jezebel the Lord also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ 24 The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.”

Here was a king and queen, and they would die the death of common criminals – just like the people at this “supper”

:19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

The “beast” is that individual we’ve come to know as the “antichrist”

:19 the beasttherion – an animal; a wild animal, wild beast, beast; metaph. a brutal, bestial man, savage, ferocious

:19 gathered togethersunago – to gather together, to gather

:19 to makepoieo – to make; to do

:19 warpolemos – a war; a fight, a battle; a dispute, strife, quarrel

:19 armystrateuma – an army; a band of soldiers; bodyguard, guards men

:20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

:20 capturedpiazo – to lay hold of; to take, capture; to apprehend

:20 false prophetpseudoprophetes – one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies; a false prophet

:20 deceivesplanao – to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way

:20 markcharagma – a stamp, an imprinted mark; thing carved, sculpture, graven work

:20 worshipedproskuneo – to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverenc; among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence

:20 imageeikon – an image, figure, likeness

:20 alivezao – to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)

The emphasis in this phrase is on this word because it comes first.  The phrase could be translated, “Living, these two were cast into…”

:20 lakelimne – a lake

:20 burningkaio – to set on fire, light, burning; to burn, consume with fire

:20 brimstonetheion (“divine”) – brimstone; divine incense, because burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify, and to ward off disease

In modern times, we call this element “sulfur”.

Sulfur is an important element for living organisms.
It’s used in fertilizers, gunpowder, and sulfuric acid.  It’s found in some types of medicine.
It’s the element that causes the smell of odorized natural gas, skunk scent, grapefruit, and garlic.  Hydrogen sulfide is produced by living organisms and gives the smell of rotting eggs and “other biological processes”.

:20 the lake of fire burning with brimstone

Brimstone is an ancient name for “sulfur”.  I imagine this place stinks, literally.

We’ll see this place again in chapter 20.  It is the ultimate, final destination of all who refuse God’s salvation.

It’s not a place you want to end up in.

:21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

:21 were killedapokteino – to kill in any way whatever

:21 swordrhomphaia – a large sword; properly a long Thracian javelin, also a kind of long sword wont to be worn on the right shoulder

:21 proceededekporeuomai – to go forth, go out, depart; to come forth, to issue, to proceed

:21 birdsorneon – a bird

:21 were filledchortazo – to feed with herbs, grass, hay, to fill, satisfy with food, to fatten; to fulfil or satisfy the desire of any one

:21 the rest were killed with the sword

All those who are alive on the earth and who have not chosen to follow Jesus Christ will die at this point.

The birds were told they would get to eat the flesh of powerful people, but also …
(Re 19:18 NKJV) … the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

The world is about to enter the time period that we call the “Millennium”, when Jesus will set up His government on earth and will rule and reign over this earth for 1,000 years.

The only humans who will make it into the kingdom are those of us believers in our glorified post-Rapture bodies, and those few believers who somehow survived the Tribulation.

How does Jesus put the unbelievers to death?

Since this is the most “epic” of battles, we might think it will look like something from the Lord of the Rings.
Play Lord of the Rings Battle
How will Jesus and His army fight?  With powerful nuclear weapon?  No.
He uses His “sword”.  The sword is what comes from His mouth (19:15)
(Re 19:15 NKJV) Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.
All He has to do is speak.
Perhaps all He does is simply say, “Enough”.

I don’t picture some loud noise that splits the ear drum.  He just has to speak.

The world will be gathered with the greatest high tech weaponry.

He just shows up and speaks.  And it’s over.

That’s how powerful God is compared to us.

20:1-3 Satan Bound

:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

:2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

:1 coming downkatabaino – to go down, come down, descend

:1 keykleis (“to shut”) – a key; since the keeper of the keys has the power to open and to shut; metaph. in the NT to denote power and authority of various kinds

:1 bottomless pitabussos – bottomless, unbounded; the abyss, the pit, the immeasurable depth; of Orchus, very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth; the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons

:1 chainhalusis – a chain, bond by which the body or any part of it (hands, feet) is bound

:2 laid hold ofkrateo – to have power, be powerful; to be chief, be master of, to rule; to get possession of; to take hold of; to hold; to hold fast, i.e. not discard or let go

:2 serpentophis – snake, serpent

Reminds us of the Garden of Eden.  Satan was there.

:2 bounddeo – to bind tie, fasten

:2 thousandchilioi – a thousand

:2 yearsetos – year

:1 the bottomless pit

We’ve seen this place before (Rev. 9).  It’s a prison of sorts, a prison for demons.

It’s where those horrible scary demonic locust creatures came from.
(Re 9:1–3 NKJV) —1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

:1 an angel coming down from heaven

This has to be a pretty hefty angel to be able to lay hold of the devil and bind him.

One possible candidate might be Michael the archangel, since he’s already fought one successful battle against Satan when he kicked him out of heaven (Rev. 12:7-9)

(Re 12:7–9 NKJV) —7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

:2 He laid hold of the dragon


The Dragon

We are told three things about this creature called the dragon, or Satan.
He’s the Tempter
He’s the one in the Garden of Eden who tempted Eve into eating the forbidden fruit.
He slanders
Devildiabolos – prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely
He is the “accuser of the brethren”.
He’s accusing you of what you’ve done wrong.  He’s the initiator of guilt.  He lies about you.
He’s against you
Satansatanas (from the Hebrew word satan) – adversary (one who opposes another in purpose or act)
He is not on your side.  He is out to destroy you.

:3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

:3 bottomless pitabussos – bottomless, unbounded; the abyss, the pit, the immeasurable depth; of Orchus, very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth; the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons

:3 shut … upkleio – to shut, shut up

:3 on himepano (“upon” + “up”) – above

:3 finishedteleo – to bring to a close, to finish, to end; to perform, execute, complete, fulfil, (so that the thing done corresponds to what has been said, the order, command etc.)

:3 be releasedluo – to loose any person (or thing) tied or fastened; to loose one bound, i.e. to unbind, release from bonds, set free

:3 littlemikros – small, little

:3 whilechronos – time either long or short

:3 he must be released for a little while

We will see what this is all about next week in Revelation 20.

:3 deceiveplanao – to cause to stray, to lead aside from the right way

Listen to what Jesus said to the Pharisees:

(Jn 8:44 NKJV) You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
Satan is by nature a liar.  You can’t believe what he says.

:3 set a sealsphragizo – to set a seal upon, mark with a seal

Satan has caused the unbelieving world to have the “mark” of the antichrist.

Now Satan will have his own “mark” or “seal”.

I’m not sure that this means that the place he is imprisoned has some sort of unbreakable “seal”.
The language reads as if this “seal” is put “on top” of Satan, and the “seal” will keep Satan from being able to deceive.

:3 he should deceive the nations no more


No More Lies

Could you imagine 1,000 years where Satan is unable to lie to the world?
Jim Carrey played a lawyer in a 1997 movie where his young son makes a wish on his birthday that for one day his dad couldn’t tell a lie.  Jim Carrey is the kind of lawyer that doesn’t tell the truth.  When he wakes up the next morning, things have changed dramatically.  As hard as he tries, he can’t tell a lie …

Play clip from Liar, Liar

For 1,000 years, Satan will be unable to deceive anyone.
What are some of Satan’s lies?
Sin is harmless.

Sin is fun.  You deserve it.

The truth is: 

Sin is fun, but sin comes with a terrible price.

(Ro 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sin cuts you off from God, your only source of real life.

(Is 59:1–2 NKJV)1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

God is cruel

God is the reason for all the pain and difficulty in your life.

God only wants to make your life miserable by taking all the fun out of life.

The truth is:

There is no one who loves you more than God.

(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

(Ro 8:31–32 NKJV) —31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

God isn’t cruel.  God loves you more than you will ever know.

Jesus isn’t special

Religion is good.  Any old religion will do.  All “religions” are the same.

The truth is:

There is no other way to heaven than through Jesus.

Only Jesus Christ has paid for your sins, removing the barrier that keeps you from heaven.

(Jn 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus is not only “special”, He’s everything to us.

There is no hurry


There is an ancient story about three demons who were arguing over the best way to destroy the Christian mission in the world. The first demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no heaven.  Take away the reward incentive and the mission will collapse.”  The second demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no hell.  Take away the fear of punishment and the mission will collapse.”  The third demon says, “There is one better way.  Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no hurry” and all three immediately say, “That’s it! All we have to do is tell them there’s no hurry and the whole Christian enterprise will collapse.”

The truth is:

We don’t know how much longer we have in this life.

Nobody can tell when their life will be over, whether it is through death, or through the Second Coming of Christ.

The Bible says,

(2 Co 6:2 NKJV)Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Are you ready to meet God?

Are you someone God can use to help rescue a few more from going to hell?

19:19 to make war against Him


Who are you fighting?

The battle we are reading about is the real Armageddon. 
It fascinates me to no end that the world will be gathered to fight against the Second Coming of Christ.  Wow.
We’ve seen glimpses of it through the book of Revelation as the nations of the world are gathered to that place called Armageddon (Rev. 16:16).

(Re 16:16 NKJV) —16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Now we have seen how the actual battle unfolds.
It’s Father’s Day, so let’s see another “guy” clip.  Armageddon.
Play Armageddon trailer

In the real Armageddon the world will be fighting, but it won’t be against an asteroid, it will be against Jesus Christ.

And the world might send what it thinks are “heroes” to defeat the incoming threat, but there’s really no fight at all.

All Jesus has to do is use His sword.

All Jesus has to do is speak.

It’s possible that there are some of you here today who have been in rebellion against God.
Let me ask you a simple question:  Who are you fighting?

Do you really think you are going to be happy fighting against God?  Do you think you’re going to win?

The issue is not about who is biggest and can force you to do what He wants.

The real issue is, what are you doing fighting against the One who loved you so much that He sent His Son to die for you?

What are you doing?

Fred walked into a store and asked for a chain saw that would cut down 6 trees in one hour. The salesman recommended the top of the line model and Fred, suitably impressed, bought it. The next day Fred brought the chain saw back to the hardware store and said, “This chain saw is defective. It would only cut down 1 tree and it took me ALL DARN DAY!” The salesman takes the chain saw and starts it up to see what’s wrong. Then Fred said, “What’s that noise?”

That’s a great picture of what some of you might be doing with your life.  You are so frustrated that things aren’t going the way they should.

Maybe You’re not using your life the way it was meant to be used.

Instead of letting God work in your life, you have been fighting God.

Luke tells us of an account when the apostles were arrested and put before the religious leaders for doing terrible things like healing people, casting out demons, and telling people about Jesus.
During their trial, a famous religious teacher named Gamaliel, spoke up and had a warning for his fellow religious leaders to leave the apostles alone:
(Ac 5:38–39 NKJV) 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

Have you stopped to look at what you’re doing?

You may be stubborn and want to stand on your principles, but you are wrong.

Why would you want to fight against someone who loves you so much?