First Baptist Church Charleston
Revelation 20: 7-15
February 20, 2022

Revelation 20: 7-15

February 20, 2022

Satanic Rebellion Crushed

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

The Great White Throne Judgment

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. 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. 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. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Before I read our text aloud this morning, I believe it is very important for us to have some background. 

FIRST: It is clear that only believers enter the Millennium. We learned that last week.

SECOND: Since it is clear that all who are still living in mortal bodies on Earth at the beginning of the Millennium are believers, it must mean that all unbelievers have been purged out and separated for future judgment.

THIRD: There will be children born to these human inhabitants of the earth during the Millennium–children with sin natures who need to be saved. They will live in a perfect environment. You may have wondered over whom we resurrected believers will reign. We will reign over saved Jews and Gentiles who survived the Great Tribulation and enter into the Millennium in their mortal bodies and also the families they will raise. We will not learn what “rein” means until we come back with Jesus in His Second Coming.   

FOURTH: Jesus Christ will be personally present on Earth in His resurrection body to reign for 1,000 years. What an advantage this will be to encourage people in their faith.

            There will be no ungodly, immoral, unbelieving people to corrupt the human inhabitants of the earth at the outset of the Millennium. Everyone living at that point in time will know the Lord. Isaiah said the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the water covers the sea (Isaiah 11:9). The prophet Jeremiah says in the new covenant, God says, “They shall all know Me” (Jeremiah 31:34).

            Jesus will maintain perfect righteousness, perfect justice, perfect equity for all, perfect peace. He will rule with a rod of iron, and no wickedness whatsoever will be tolerated. It will be immediately punished and removed (Psalm 72:1-4; Isaiah 11:4). In other words, there will be no unwholesome influences of any kind. Perfect law and order will prevail at all times.

            Jesus will be assisted in His rule by myriads of resurrected beings who have   been transformed into His likeness–you and me. And we’ll have no sin natures. Our rule will be perfect. What an influence for good this will be on the human  inhabitants of the earth.

FIFTH: The earth itself will be delivered from its curse (Isaiah 11:6-9). It will be more productive than it has ever been since before Adam sinned. There are evidences that sickness will be drastically reduced (Isaiah 35). While people will die during the Millennium, the length of life will be extended (Isaiah 65:20).

Think of it for a moment–at the beginning of the Millennium every living person on earth is a believer, and the children born to them are exposed to a perfect physical, social, moral, and spiritual environment.

SIXTH: Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:1-3). There will be no Satanic influence on men’s character, nor Satanic enticement to sin.

That is the background we must have in our minds when we read in Revelation 20:7-10:

The Last Rebellion and the Judgment of Satan
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 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. 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. 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.
           

Now remember, in the 1000 years of the Millennium, we have had ideal conditions. While the number of people who actually enter the Millennium will probably be small because the unbelievers are weeded out, it is certain that with the ideal conditions we have been discussing, the earth will be teeming with people at the conclusion of the 1000 years. And every person born during this 1,000-year period will have had to make a decision at some time during their life to accept or reject the reigning Son of God.

When Satan is released for just a short time (verse 7), and attempts to rally people together for his final revolt against the kingdom of Christ, he finds hearts that are ready to follow him in rebellion.

            It becomes obvious now that many have only submitted outwardly. Their sinful hearts have remained unchanged. They have never really trusted Jesus Christ to  give them a new nature and everlasting life.

            Secular psychologists and sociologists contend that man’s basic selfishness and sinfulness is due to his environment. They believe that if we can only change society and eliminate poverty, men’s wicked natures will be changed. They teach that the problem is with the man’s environment but not man himself.
No passage of Scripture destroys that Satanic lie more decisively than the one before us today–
Revelation 20:7-15.

WHAT A SAD COMMENTARY ON THE HUMAN HEART! Is there any doubt now that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked? Can anyone question that man is totally depraved and hopelessly alienated from a holy God?

The Communists, Socialists, and liberal thinkers continue to tell us that if only we can change man’s environment, we can change people. And so, they labor to better the social conditions, to eliminate poverty and to establish a utopian atmosphere, hoping thereby to change people’s nature. BUT IT CAN’T BE DONE. After 1000 years of perfect utopia, people’s hearts and nature will be unaffected. We ought to do everything possible to eliminate poverty, to give every living human being an equal opportunity to life happiness. But let us not fall into the Satanic trap of thinking for one minute that governments shall change people’s hearts or their nature.

The only thing that can radically transform man’s sinful nature is personal trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for deliverance from sin. That’s true today, and it shall be true in the Millennium. If you are willing to confess that you are not the person you ought to be, I can tell you on the authority of God’s Word, you never shall become that person apart from the personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Savior. No social or economic advantages can change your heart. You need the Lord Jesus. Will you accept Him now?

Why should God permit such a thing in the releasing of Satan after 1,000 years?

I believe the question has already been answered:

            Faith, to have validity, must be tested.

            How else do we really know, unless that faith is tested, whether it is genuine?

                        Job’s faith was tested. Paul’s faith was tested. We are tested.

Many people of our evil world now and also later in a perfect environment will profess allegiance to Jesus Christ. But in the hearts of others, there will be secret rejection.

This has been God’s purpose in every dispensation: to show that no matter to what degree He revealed Himself to men, they remain totally depraved and incapable of remedying their sinful condition apart from receiving His grace. That’s the doctrine of total depravity. Man cannot save himself. And now the conclusive proof of all will be offered. Even after 1000 years of righteousness and peace on earth, sinful men are eager to follow Satan in his final rebellion against the Savior.

But what is this “Gog” and “Magog” in verse 8?

“And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle.”

There is a battle by the same name predicted in Ezekiel chapter 38-39. For that reason, some Bible teachers have identified this battle in Revelation 20 with that one. But study the two passages in Ezekiel and Revelation sometime. There are tremendous differences. In Ezekiel, Gog and Magog represent a great northern power; in Revelation, they represent all nations of the earth (“the four quarters of the earth”). The chronology of Ezekiel 38 and 39 places that battle before the Millennium. The chronology of Revelation 20 places this one after the Millennium. In Ezekiel, the bodies fall on the mountains and it takes seven months to bury them; here they are devoured by fire from heaven.

Why then the same name? There are two possible explanations.

            The first is that “Gog” is a general term in Scripture that represents the rulers of the earth and “Magog” represents the people.

            The second is that “Gog and Magog” is simply an expression used to describe a disastrous battle much as we would use the term “Waterloo”.

In verse 9 we see the object of their attack. It is the camp of the saints, the beloved city, and an obvious reference to the city of Jerusalem. This is the seat of Christ’s authority over the earth, and naturally, it becomes the object of the assault for Satan and his rebellious followers. The Lord permits them to set their armies in array all the way around the city, then suddenly fire comes from God out of heaven and devours them.

Satan’s destiny is described in verse 10. The devil, who deceived them will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. This is Hell. God didn’t make Hell for people (though there will be people there, according to Revelation 20:13-15); it was prepared for the devil and his angels according to the Lord Jesus in Matthew 25:41, and now Satan shall occupy it.

Is there any doubt that this is a literal place of conscious torment? You might recall that the Antichrist and his false prophet were cast into the lake of fire 1000 years before this (Revelation 19:20). They are still there, 1000 years later, still suffering torment. “And they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

There are skeptics who claim to believe the Bible but insist that a God of love could not punish people forever.

            The Antichrist and his prophet are people and they shall be tormented day and  night forever and ever.
I wish that weren’t so–but it is hard to imagine language being more specific and emphatic than that.

            People who believe Satan’s lie and reject God’s gracious offer of salvation in His Son, are going to experience eternal separation in Hell away from God’s presence.  That doesn’t make God happy, but He cannot overlook sin. His justice requires it.

Now let’s look at the Last Resurrection and Judgment of Sinners: Revelation 20:11-15

Now the last rebellion and the judgment of Satan is completed and the scene changes.

“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” (Revelation 20:11).

We have seen other thrones in the book of Revelation but none just like this. It is great, in the sense of being a momentous occasion, when all the unbelieving dead from all ages of human history stand before God. It is white, symbolizing the absolute purity and justice in which judgment will be made. And it is a throne, indicating the place of authority and judgment. It is the Great White Throne. The judge who occupies the throne can be none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. John 5:22 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.”

Revelation 20:12

“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.”

First, let’s establish who these dead are.

They cannot be believers, since all believers were raised before the Millennium (Revelation 20:4-6). Back in that passage we read, however, that the rest of the dead–that is, unbelievers–would not be raised until after the Millennium.

This is the judgment of the wicked dead from all ages: Old Testament, New Testament, Tribulation, and Millennium. They are characterized as “small and great,” that is, from all walks of life. Kings and peasants, masters and slaves, employers and employees, famous and obscure–all will be here, all who never trusted Jesus Christ for forgiveness.

Notice from where they come. “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” (Revelation 20:13).

            The dead came from three places:

            The Sea: God will find every body of unbelievers and they will face judgment.

            Death: which is a physical experience, gives up the bodies it captured.

            Hades: which is the intermediate abode of the souls of unbelievers, gives up souls.

                        Hades is the equivalent of the Old Testament place called Sheol. The intermediate abode of the unbelieving dead. It is not the eternal state; it is intermediate. Luke 16 says it’s a place of torment. Hades is cast into the lake of fire, which is hell, so hades is not the same as hell. Gehenna or the lake of fire are names used in Scripture to describe hell, the eternal state of the lost.

                        So, hades gives up the soul to be reunited with death’s bodies to face God.          

Now having seen from where they come, look next at their standard of judgment. “And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (v.12). “And they were judged every man according to their works” (v. 13).

Works? Immediately some will ask why we say salvation is by grace, when we read here that the dead will be judged according to their works.  The answer is found in verse 15. “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

The books filled with the records of every unbeliever’s works have nothing to do with whether or not they are consigned to an eternal hell. The only issue which condemns a person to hell is the fact that their name is not found in the Book of Life. When a person dies without having received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, his name is blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life. And none of those standing before the Great White Throne will see their names in the Book of Life. They rejected Christ: their names were removed, and that is why they are here at this last resurrection and judgment.

You might ask: “If a person is going to Hell, what difference will their works make?

There are Scriptures that imply degrees of punishment for the wicked. Matthew 11:22-24 tells us it shall be more tolerable for the inhabitants of Sodom in the day of judgment than for those of Capernaum, because Capernaum had “more revelation” by the fact that Jesus was right in their midst. Luke 12:47-48 tells us that the servant who knew the master’s will and refused to do it is more responsible than the one who did not know it.

Revelation 2:23; 18:3-6; 22:12 are other passages as well that state that evil men shall be judged according to their works. Every unsaved person from every age will be here, and will be consigned to Hell, but not all will experience the same degree of punishment.

Revelation 20: 14-15 says “And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” There will be no more need for death which claims the physical body. No more need for hades, the intermediate abode of the lost soul. Both of them, and all who were a part of them are cast into the lake of fire. This is called the second death.

How long will they be there? “Tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Please don’t let that doctrine destroy your faith in God’s love and God’s grace. God is infinitely holy; He cannot allow sin in His presence. But the very fact that He provided a means to escape this eternal punishment, even when it cost Him His own Son, that enhances His love and grace; it doesn’t destroy it. He gave His only beloved, begotten Son, and He let Him hang on that cross and bear in His body the penalty for our sins.

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