Revelation 20:7-15

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 1, 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 are at the climax of history. One more review the major events in our future:

1. Gog War (Eze. 38-39)

This is what we’re beginning to see develop in the Middle East. In this war, nations Russia, Iran, and Libya will be forming a coalition to invade Israel.

2. The Rapture (1Th. 4:17)

All those who have died before the rapture as well as all living believers on the earth will receive their glorified bodies at that time.

3. The Tribulation (Rev. 6-18)

That terrible seven year period where the antichrist rules the world and God’s wrath is poured out on the earth.

4. The Second Coming (Rev. 19)

Jesus comes back on His white horse, with us behind Him.

All the unbelievers alive on the earth will be put to death by Jesus.

5. The Millennium (Rev. 20)

Satan is bound up in prison while Jesus sets up His kingdom in Israel and will rule the world for a thousand years.

20:7-10 The Rebellion

:7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison

:7 expiredteleo – to bring to a close, to finish, to end; to perform, execute, complete, fulfill

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

:7 Satan will be released

Satan has been bound in the bottomless pit during the entire 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth.

There are some who teach that Satan was bound at the cross.
The problem I have with that theory is that if Satan has been bound for the last two thousand years, I’d say he was on a pretty long chain, because he has sure caused a lot of messes in this world.
This theory essentially collapsed 100 years ago when World War I broke out and it became quite obvious to everyone that Satan was not exactly bound … yet.

:8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.

:8 will go outexerchomai – to go or come forth of

:8 to deceiveplanao – to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive

:8 GogGog – “mountain”; the king of the land of Magog who will come from the north and attack the land of Israel

:8 MagogMagog – “overtopping: covering”; a land north of Israel from which the King of Gog will come to attack Israel

:8 to deceive the nations

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.

:9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

:9 went upanabaino – ascend; to go up

:9 breadthplatos – breadth; suggesting great extent

:9 surroundedkukloo – to go around, lead around; to surround, encircle, encompass

:9 the campparembole – an encampment; an army in a line of battle

:9 belovedagapao – to love

:9 devouredkatesthio – to consume by eating, to eat up, devour; by fire, to devour i.e. to utterly consume, destroy

:9 upon the breadth of the earth

NAS – “broad plain of the earth”

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)
(Is 40:4–5 NKJV) —4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

:8 to deceive the nations


The Choice

For a thousand years, mankind will be living on an idyllic planet.
No more disease.  Total prosperity.  Satan will be nowhere in sight.
There will be two races of human beings on the planet.
There will be those of us in our glorified bodies – those of us who either died, were raptured and were given new bodies.

In our new bodies, we will no longer have the old “sin nature”.  We will not be tempted by Satan.

There will also be a new race of people on the earth who will be the descendants of those people who came to Christ during the Tribulation, and somehow survived without being martyred.

The kids and future generations from these people will repopulate the earth.

They will still have the old bodies with the old sin nature, but without having Satan around to tempt them.

Satan is released for a short time to see how mankind will respond.
I think the release of Satan is all about giving this race of people in the old bodies a chance to make a decision – follow God or rebel.

This will be the “last cut” of who will enter into the last phase of history – eternity with God.

God has always given man a choice.
In the Garden of Eden, this is why God allowed Satan to tempt Adam and Eve.

He was giving man a choice to either follow God or Satan.

Joshua wrote about the choice.

(Jos 24:15 NKJV) And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

You are no different.  You too have to make a choice.

You can’t even get by with saying that you don’t want to choose.

To be undecided is to be decided … against God.

:8 Gog and Magog

We’ve already talked about a battle with Gog and Magog mentioned by Ezekiel (Eze. 38-39). Is this the same battle?

Some think so.
I don’t think so. Ezekiel’s battle has some problems fitting in this time slot.
Wrong destruction

In Ezekiel, God will destroy the enemy with an earthquake, the sword, pestilence, rain, hail, fire, and brimstone (38:19-23) (here it's just fire from heaven, 20:9)

Timing issues

Ezekiel’s battle ends with seven months of burying the dead and seven years of burning the weapons (39:4,4,17-18)

When our battle ends, the earth also ends.

Israel’s conversion

Ezekiel’s battle ends with Israel knowing God as their Lord, while our battle comes after the Lord has ruled Israel for 1,000 years.

Ezekiel’s battle fits better happening before the Tribulation.  This is a different battle, same nations.

:8 as the sand of the sea


Man’s Problem

There are going to be a LOT of people choosing to follow Satan.
There are many people who think that man's sinfulness is simply a matter of his environment.  If you give mankind a better environment, then man will be better.
There are some who think that if we just fix the world’s economy, and everyone has enough money, then people would be nicer.
There are those who think that the answer to the world’s problems is getting a better education – that people’s lives improve significantly when they are better educated.

I’m all for education.  Education does have a lot to offer us.

But it doesn’t deal with the root problem of man – his heart.

Here we will see an amazing sociological experiment at work.
For a thousand years, mankind will be living in circumstances similar to the Garden of Eden, except without Satan to tempt them.
When Satan is reintroduced into the environment, will man have grown smarter to realize that it’s stupid to follow Satan?


Man is NOT basically good.
(Je 17:9 NKJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

This is why we need Jesus in our life.  He gives us a new start.

Until the heart is changed, mankind won’t change.
Only Jesus can change the heart of man.

It’s only the life that makes the choice to follow Jesus that has a chance at a different kind of life.

He gives us a new nature.

(2 Co 5:17 NKJV) —17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

As believers who still have our old bodies, we have a battle going on inside of us between the new nature and the old nature.

Your holiness, your change towards being more like God doesn’t come automatically.  It comes as you learn to yield your life more and more to the new nature.

:10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

:10 tormentedbasanizo – to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal; to question by applying torture; to torture

:10 cast into the lake of fire

This is the last we will ever see of Satan.

He will never be seen again.


Hell was meant for Satan

Hell was not designed for people, it was designed for the devil.
(Mt 25:41 NKJV) “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
If people end up in hell, it’s not because God designed hell for them and they were predestined to go there.
God loved the whole world and He gave His Son to die for the whole world.

(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.

God does not wish for any to perish.

(2 Pe 3:9 NKJV) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

When Jesus died for you on the cross, it’s as if He was saying, “You’re going to hell?  Over My dead body!”

There will be humans sent to the Lake of Fire.  If you end up in hell, it’s only because you chose today to reject Jesus.

:10 where the beast and the false prophet are

They're still in the Lake of Fire.  They haven’t burned up.  Even after 1,000 years.

20:11-15 Great White Throne

:11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.

:11 whiteleukos – light, bright, brilliant

:11 greatmegas – great

:11 fledpheugo – to flee away, seek safety by flight

:11 a great white throne

We’ve already seen other thrones set up where we will rule and judge the world during the Millennium.  This one is a little different.

Comparing  those thrones to the great white throne is like comparing an ordinary shark … to a great white shark.  This is a throne for serious judgment.  This is the judgment that will end in eternal hell.

Some facts:

Jesus is on the throne
(Ac 17:31 NKJV) because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
It is for 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.

(Jn 3:18 NKJV) “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

When Jesus died on the cross, He was paying the price that would keep us from facing this judgment. (2Cor. 5:9)

(2 Co 5:19 NLT) For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.

But those who refuse to believe in Jesus have no one to take care of their sins and they will face God’s judgment.

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.

:11 the earth and the heaven fled away

This current earth and heaven are now gone.

Peter writes that the “elements will melt with fervent heat” (2Pet. 3:10)
(2 Pe 3:10–13 NKJV) —10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
There will be a new heaven and earth (21:1)

:11 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.

Play Wile E. Coyote clip

:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

:12 booksbiblion – a small book, a scroll, a written document; a sheet on which something has been written

:12 lifezoe – life

:12 which were writtengrapho – to write, with reference to the form of the letters; to write, with reference to the contents of the writing

Perfect participle – they have been written in the past and continue to be written down.

Perhaps the idea that as things happen, they are recorded.

“They were judged, the dead, out of the things written in the books according to their works”

:12 books were opened

It seems that in heaven there is some sort of record of our lives.

It might be words on a page.  It could be video of your life.
Lives will be opened up and examined.
If you are a person who has made excuses and bluffed your way through life, you’re going to be in trouble.  You might claim one thing, but God has actual tape of you living your life.

:12 the Book of Life

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.

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)

Those who are in this “Book” will not be judged at the Great White Throne, but they will have already faced a judgment of another sort.


The Believers’ judgment

Our judgment will not be about where we will spend eternity.  Our judgment will be about “rewards”.
Our judgment is sometimes referred to as the “bema” seat of Christ, from the Greek word Paul uses to describe the judgment that believers will face.
(2 Co 5:10 NKJV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

It will be something like the Olympic medal ceremony.  We will be judged by Christ and given rewards based on the things we did in this life.

Paul describes how the “judgment” works:
(1 Co 3:12–15 NKJV) —12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

We have a choice as to how we will “build” our house, our lives.  We can choose to build with things that will withstand the fire of judgment, or we can use materials that will burn up in judgment.

The believer who spends his time building out of “wood, hay, and straw” will find all his works burnt up, and he will make it into heaven, but not with much to show for his life.

Paul gives us an example of the kind of criteria God will be judging our works on:
(1 Co 13:1–3 NKJV) —1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

We might do all sorts of “good” things in the name of God, but if we are doing them for the wrong reasons, like just trying to get attention, they will burn up.

If we are doing them because we love God and love people, then it’s a treasure in heaven.

You have a choice right now what kind of life you’re going to provide for yourself when you get to heaven.
You can live for what you get in this life and end up with very little, or you can choose to live your life now in such a way that will effect eternity.

Jim Elliot was a Christian who decided to take God seriously.  He would eventually become a missionary pilot and give his life for the sake of the gospel as he tried to reach a backwards people in the jungles of Ecuador.

When he was just 22 years old, he wrote this entry in his journal on October 28, 1949:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

When Chuck Smith was in his late teens, he too came to a similar realization.

Play Chuck Smith “What God Hath Wrought” clip.

For What or Whom are you living your life for?

:13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

:13 The sea gave up the dead

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 Hades delivered up the dead

Hades is the temporary place where the unbelieving dead are kept.

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

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.

:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

With Death and Hades cast into the lake of fire, there will be no more death, there will be no more hell.

:14 second death

The lake of fire is the second death.

Except for those who will be caught up in the Rapture, everyone will die the “first death”, where our body dies and our spirit lives on.
Those who reject Jesus will face a “second death” where they will spend eternity separated from God in the Lake of Fire.

:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

:15 found written in the Book of Life

That’s the big issue here.  Is your name written in the Book of Life?

Have you opened up your heart to trust in Jesus?
If you haven’t, you are facing a horrible end.  This is the time to change your destiny.  This is the time to turn around.  It’s time to …




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 it’s possible I’ve thrown something uncomfortable into your face. 

What are you going to do about it?  Are you just going to complain and call me a mad man?  Or are you going to put on the brakes and open up your heart to Jesus Christ?