After these things (19:1)
After the destruction of Babylon religious and commercial, chapter seventeen and eighteen.
I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God (19:1):
The judgment of the earth, as far as God’s wrath being poured out, has been completed on Babylon. We have one final little battle here to take place in chapter nineteen. The vials have all now been dispensed upon the earth of the judgment and the wrath of God. Now, the time has come for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself to return in power and great glory and establish God’s kingdom upon the earth. And because of this there is great rejoicing in heaven. That great multitude, I expect personally to be a part of that multitude. I expect to be there in that heavenly scene declaring, “Alleluia, salvation and glory and honor and power unto the Lord our God.”
For true and righteous are his judgments (19:2):
All the way through we have had this affirmation that the judgments of God are true and righteous. And I think that this has been declared all the way through, because this is one of the areas that Satan constantly challenges concerning God, the fairness of God’s judgments when he deals and meats out His judgments upon man. There are always those who are ready to challenge the fairness of it. There are always those that say, “What about the people that haven’t heard? What about little babies?” and so forth. God is going to be fair and just. This is the declaration that is made all through the period of judgment, “true and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord”.
The concept that Satan brought to Eve in the Garden of Eden was that God was not fair, that God was trying to hold her back from something that was beneficial, that God was somehow trying to protect Himself. He had His own self interest at heart when He told Eve not to eat of the tree. That God is holding back something good and He really isn’t fair to you was the insinuation behind Satan’s remarks. All the way along the fairness of God’s judgment has been challenged.
I don’t know what God is going to do in a lot of cases. I do know that whatever He does will be absolutely fair. “True and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord.” Never worry about the righteousness of God’s judgments. You can be worried about the righteousness of my judgments. I sometimes make snap judgments. I sometimes judge without having all the facts in hand, and so my judgments are often wrong. And I have to apologize sometimes for my judgments. That is something that God will never have to do, apologize. It will never happen. “True and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord.”
for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication (19:2),
That is spiritually in chapter seventeen, that great religious system that corrupted the earth. Who was it; Marx, that said, “Religion is the opium of the people?” I agree one hundred percent. I think that religion is a tremendous curse upon the earth. I have a hard time stomaching religious people. I believe that religion is vastly different from Christianity. I believe that religion is man’s endeavor to reach God. And it is the various ways by which men are attempting to reach God. Christianity teaches that God is reaching down to man; exactly the opposite of religious thoughts, man trying to reach God.
In Christianity you have a God that is reaching out to man. That is why religions fail. You can’t start with a finite base and reach to infinity. That is why Christianity is successful. It is no problem for the infinite God to reach to finite man. Religions tell you that you have to do certain things in order to please God. You have to accomplish certain works in order to be accepted by God. Christianity tells you that your righteousness is as filthy rags. You just have to come on the basis of God’s grace and love for you and cast yourself upon His mercy, but that God is merciful. But there is really no good work that you can offer to God that would be acceptable in His sight, but He will accept you just as you are if you will just cast yourself upon His mercy and just ask for His mercy and grace. “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
So, the great religious system, spiritual fornication is that endeavor to worship God in an unprescribed way. How does God tell us to worship Him? “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). And if you try to worship God in an unprescribed way, setting up little idols or whatever, which God has forbidden, that is spiritual fornication. That is worship of God in unprescribed ways. That is religion. That is letting religion enter in. God wants a loving relationship, not religion. He doesn’t want you to be religious. He wants you to have a relationship with Him, a loving relationship, not a legal relationship.
So, God has judged the false religious system that corrupted the earth with her spiritual fornication.
He has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand (19:2).
Jesus found Himself at opposition with the religious forces of His day and it was the religious people who prompted the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was the religious leaders that insisted that the Roman government put Him to death. Jesus Christ was a threat to the religious leaders as He would be to all religious leaders. He is a threat to them, because He tells you, you don’t have to be religious to be accepted by God. God loves you and receives you just as you are on the basis of His grace, love and mercy. So, Jesus was at odds with the religious leaders of His day and they are the ones that prompted His crucifixion. It was the religious leaders that prompted the persecution against the church in its beginning and throughout history.
There is even at the present time, one of the leaders of the YWAM program who has been charged in Greece with a charge of proselytizing, because he gave a Bible to a Greek sixteen-year old boy, and he has been charged in the Greek courts with proselytizing. And of course, this proselytizing law was prompted by the Greek Orthodox Church, and he has been sentenced to spend three and a half years in jail in Greece. He is an American citizen and his base is in Sunland, California. He is in charge of the Anastausus Ship, but he is facing a jail sentence of three and a half years in Greece because He gave a Bible to a sixteen-year old Greek boy and the boy accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior. Now, this law that has the backing of the Greek Orthodox Church, or it was instituted because of the Greek Orthodox Church against proselytization, is the law that they used to charge him.
In Egypt it is a capital offense to lead a Muslim to a faith in Jesus Christ. One of our pastors, Imad, spent some time in the Egyptian jail. He was a medical doctor there. He had a great desire to bring his brothers, Egyptian brothers to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He wrote several tracts and was instrumental in leading several Muslims from their religion to a real relationship with God in Jesus Christ. And as a result was thrown in jail in Egypt and was then released because of the family influence, and told to get out of the country for his own welfare or he would be put to death if he stayed. So, he is one of our pastors here, but that is what religion does. Religion is threatened by life, by spiritual life.
So, God has judged that religious system and has avenged the blood of His servants at her hands. A lot of the persecution against the Christian has come from religion, religious leaders.
And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever (19:3).
That is of the judgment against Babylon.
And the twenty-four elders [representing the church] and the four beasts [cherubim] fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia (19:4).
Here we find the term “Alleluia” used really for the first in the New Testament and it is used four times here. It is a Hebrew word that has become universal, “Allel”, “u”, “yah”, which means, “praise to Jehovah” or Yahweh.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great (19:5).
So here is the praise being given to God and now the encouragement for that praise coming from the throne of God.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as a voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (19:6).
Imagine the millions upon millions of Christians that will be gathered in that glorious assembly and when the voice of the Lord comes exhorting us to praise God and give glory to Him, and in our response to it that tremendous praise, crescendo of praise that will arise. And John heard it as the voice of many waters or rushing waters and the voice of mighty thunderings.
Glory. I can hardly wait.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready (19:7).
So the marriage feast of the Lamb will take place here on the earth. But now He is ready to return and establish His kingdom and take us unto Himself and the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife, or bride, has made herself ready.
And to her [that is the bride of Christ, the church] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints (19:8).
What is the righteousness of the saints? Paul, the apostle said as he was recounting to the Philippians his past credits as a Jew, “Hebrew of the Hebrews, circumcised the seventh day, the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, concerning zeal persecuting the church”, but he said, “Those things that were gain to me”, those credits that I had, those brownie points, “I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, for whom I suffer the loss of all things and count them but refuse that I may know Him and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which was of the Law”, circumcised seventh, eighth day and so forth, not having that righteousness which was of the law, “but now having the righteousness which was of Christ through faith” (Philippians 3:5-9).
So, it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imparted to me through my faith in Jesus Christ. God accounts my faith for righteousness. So, I will be clothed in linen, pure and white and clean. And the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. That righteousness that God puts on my account because I believe in Jesus Christ. So it is imputed righteousness given to you by your faith in Christ. It is not a righteousness of works. It isn’t that you have been faithful in your devotions, and you have witnessed to so many people, and read so many chapters of the Bible, and spent so many hours in prayer, and you have done all of the religious devotional things, not that at all. I am accounted righteous by God because I believe and trust in Jesus Christ. There is the basis for my righteousness. That is good. If my righteousness were dependent upon my keeping the Law, or keeping rules or regulations—
Let’s say that we said that every day you should be reading five chapters out of the Bible. Every day you should be spending twenty minutes on your knees in prayer. Every day you should witness to at least two people. Every day—and we set up these rules for righteousness. Then you may be very good all week long, and you put your little star behind each of the categories each evening. Yes, all my gold stars, but Friday you blow it and you didn’t get your prayer time in. Too bad, your unrighteousness Friday night. Just hope the Lord doesn’t come Friday night. You might get left. No. My righteousness is not on such a tenuous thing as my faithfulness to devotions or works or whatever. My righteousness is something God accounts and imputes to me because of my faith in Jesus Christ. Thank God.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God (19:9).
Now the Lord in the end here is really putting a lot of emphasis upon the fact that these are true sayings. Over and over we will find this repeated as we approach the end of the book, these are the true sayings of God. You can believe this. You can trust in this that these are the true sayings of God.
It is interesting to me how that God took such pains to protect the innocency of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. Judas returned the money to the priests saying, “I betrayed innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). Pilate said, “I find no fault in Him. I have examined Him. I find no fault in Him” (Luke 23:14). The thief said, “We are here because we deserve to be here, but this man has done nothing amiss”(Luke 23:41). God is making sure that you know that Jesus is innocent as He hangs there on the cross. It is not for His crime or guilt. It is for your sin that He is dying.
Now, as the Lord closes out His revelation to man, and as He begins to talk to us about the glories of this coming age, the marriage supper of the lamb. Blessed are those that are called to be a part in this. These are the true sayings of God. You can believe this. You can trust in this.
And I fell at His feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God (19:10):
Now, John like so many people, we want to worship the instrument that God uses to bring His knowledge or love or grace to us. One of the great dangers of being in any kind of ministry where God is using you, one of the great dangers of exercising any spiritual gift, is that people so often look at the instrument that God uses. They begin to admire the instrument. They begin to worship, in a sense, the instrument that God has used. And here is John falling on his knees before the angel that is giving him all of this revelation and he is so overawed and thrilled with what is in store for him he falls at his feet to worship him. And he says to him not to do that because he is a fellowservant, but to worship God.
You see it is a apart of man to need and want to worship something, and man seems to find it easier to worship an object that he can see rather than an object that he cannot see. And so this is the hang-up of man as Paul said in Romans one, “They worshipped and served the creature more than the creator.” Man gets hung up and he stops short. He sees the glorious creation of God and he worships the creation, rather than the creator.
And so John is making the same mistake and the angel corrects him and says don't do that. I am a servant of God just like you are. You worship God. And if you are wise and involved in any kind of ministry at all when attention and adulation and these kinds of things come your way, you will be wise as the angel and say, “Don’t worship me. Worship God.” God doesn’t want you taking credit for the work that He does, receiving glory for His work.
for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (19:10).
That is prophecy centers around the person of Jesus Christ. That is what prophecy is about. That is what history is about. History is actually "His story." He is the center of it. It all focuses before Christ and after the year of our Lord, but He is center, the focal point of history. It is “His story”. So, Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. It is all centered around Him. The Lord is not so interested in telling you who you are going to marry or what is going to happen to you next week, the spirit of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The prophecy centers around the person of Jesus Christ. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, the witness of Jesus.
And I saw heaven open, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True (19:11),
We find that Jesus is called the faithful witness. And He is called the True witness. Then He is called the “True and faithful witness” in the third chapter of Revelation. So here He is sitting upon a white horse.
and in righteousness he doth judge and make war (19:11).
Again the righteousness of His judgment attested to.
His eyes were as a flame of fire (19:12),
Again speaking of that burning judgment.
and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God (19:12-13).
In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was light; and that light was the life of man. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) And now again He comes as the Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses (19:14),
I will be a part of that army, as will you, because we are clothed in the fine linen white and clean, which is the righteousness of the saints.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword (19:15),
The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. Out of his mouth goes this sharp sword, His word.
that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (19:15-16).
Now, this vesture dipped in blood is probably a reference to Isaiah sixty-three. It is not his own blood, but the blood of his enemies that he tramples as he tramples out the rebellious. Isaiah sixty-three says, “Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?” And that is the question the prophet asks and Jesus answers, “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” The prophet asks, “Why are you red in your apparel, and your garments like those that have been treading in the wine vat?”
It used to be that they put the grapes in the vat and then they would crush them with their feet. They would have a big dance and party, as they would crush all of the grapes, they would get the juice out of them. And you could imagine the grapejuice stains all over your clothes after having spent a day treading the wine vat therein. The wine vat actually with your feet pressing down all of these grapes, you can imagine what your clothes would look like.
“Why are you red in your apparel, and your garments like the ones that have been treading in the wine vat?” He answers, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come”(Isaiah 63:3-4).
So, He is coming to bring an end of man’s rebellion. He is coming to trample the wine vat. There will be here upon the earth millions of people who have gathered together to war against Him at His coming. The whole Middle East area of Israel all the way through the land from the Valley of Megiddo clear on down to Edom will be crowded with the vast armies of the world. They will probably number into the hundreds of millions. There is a Scripture that would indicate maybe two hundred million.
And that is when the blood will flow to the horses bridle all the way through the Valley of Megiddo clear on down to Edom through the valley of Jehoshaphat as they gather together against the Lord and His anointed. And there will the second Psalm come into play. “Why did the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing, for they have gathered together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, Let us break His bands asunder, let us cast off His law from us; but He who sits in the heavens will laugh for He will have the nations in derision.”
And so here we see Him, clothed in a vesture dipped in blood. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword by which these rebellious armies are destroyed. That is He destroys them with His word.
Now, we are told that He was in the beginning with God and that He created all things. We look at the vast universe in which we live, the material universe, and we realize that He created it. How did He create it? He spoke it into existence. It is known as a divine feat in the theological term, which means the capacity of speaking things into existence. So, darkness covered the face of the deep and God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. He just said it, “Let there be light,” and light existed.
And in the Hebrew it is even more intensive. “Owr hayah owr hayah”, “Light be and light was”. God said, “Light be,” and light was. I like that, God speaking into existence the world in which we live. And God said, “Let the waters above the firmament be separated from the waters below the firmament.” And it was so. And God said, “Let the water bring forth and let the earth bring forth.” And it was so. He spoke these things into existence; the power of the Word of God.
If we would only realize the power of the Word of God. The Word of God is alive and powerful, if we would only realize the power of the Word of God. We will in that day when He returns and all of the vast military might of the world gathered and assembled together to destroy Him at His coming and He just speaks the Word and it is all over. The battle is through. Oh, the power of the word of Jesus, the sword that goes forth out of His mouth. He destroys the assembled rebels who have gathered together against Him. I don’t know exactly what He will say. It will be interesting to find out. I think that it might be just, “hey, you’ve had it.” Like when this guy was breaking up with his girl, he said, “Can I have one final kiss?” She said, “You've had it.”
On his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,
And I saw an angel standing in the sun (19:17);
You can’t do that unless you are an angel. These angels are going to be interesting creatures to meet, aren't they? They have the capacity to stand in the sun. What is it, seven hundred and fifty million degrees Fahrenheit or something like that?
and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God (19:17);
Now, we have just been rejoicing because we are coming to the marriage supper of the Lamb. There is going to be another supper, a supper prepared by God for all the birds.
That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and those that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast [that is the antichrist], and the kings of the earth [which have been drawn by the demonic forces], and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army (19:18-19).
The folly of Satan thinking that he would be able to fight against God. Well, the folly of men today that think that they are able to fight against God and to come out victorious. There are a lot of people today fighting against God. There are those who have set themselves deliberately and conscientiously to fight against God.
The humanists in their Humanist Manifesto have declared their intention of destroying God out of the minds and conscientiousness of men. To free men from the restraints that they may feel that have any kind of a Biblical base, so that you will not be feeling guilty over those things that are prohibited in the Scriptures. But you can go ahead and do these things without pangs of conscience trying to destroy God out of our society, out of our lives. They will be gathered together at the inspiration of Satan.
And the [antichrist] the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and those that worshipped his image. These both [the two of them, the antichrist and his false prophet] were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone (19:20).
Otherwise, it is called in the Scriptures, Gehenna, which is the final abode for the unrighteous dead. It is the place that Jesus said God prepared for Satan and his angels. And so the first two inhabitants of Gehenna will be the antichrist and his prophet and they will be the soul inhabitants, it would seem, for a thousand years. After a thousand years then they will be joined by Satan and the rest of the satanic beings or the angelic beings that joined with Satan in his rebellion against God. And then those men who have chosen to cast their lot with Satan in rebellion against God. Jesus describes it as a place of outer darkness where he said there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Hell or Hades is located in the center part of the earth. The abusso or abyss is probably in the very center of the earth, because it is called and correctly translated “bottomless pit.” And there is probably an area right in the center of the earth that is hollow and because of the rotation of the earth and gravitation and all you would be constantly falling. You would never hit the bottom. It would be a constant fall. It wouldn’t have to be more than ten miles in diameter to hold all of the unrighteous from Adam until now. And of course all of our finest scientific equipment could not locate such a thing there in the heart of the earth.
the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse (19:21),
What is the sword? The word that goes forth out of His mouth.
which sword proceeds out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh (19:21).
So, vultures are invited from all over the earth to come and feast on the supper that God prepares.
I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand (20:1).
Now, earlier under the fifth trumpet there was a fallen angel that had the key to the bottomless pit, the abusso, and he opened it and released upon the earth a horde of demonic beings. Now, the angel comes with the key and the purpose is not in releasing those in the abusso, but in incarcerating now in the abusso. So, he had a key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and he bound him for a thousand years (20:2),
And so Satan is not put into Gehenna, but he is put into the abusso for a thousand years. Later he will be put into Gehenna, but at this point chained and put into the abusso.
The various names for Satan; dragon, serpent, that is the one who came to Eve in the garden in the form of a serpent, and Devil. The word Devil means slanderer or accuser, and “Satan” which word means the adversary.
And cast him into the abusso, and he is shut up, and they set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed for a little season (20:3).
Satan at the present time is in control of the world system. Paul the apostle said, “At one time you all walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air that even now is working in the children of disobedience among whom you all once had your manner of living” (Ephesians 2:2). But he called Satan the prince of this world. Jesus refers to him as such. Satan is in control. It belongs to him.
When Jesus came, He came to redeem the world back to God. Satan offered Him a deal. “Bow down and worship me and I will give you the kingdoms of the world and the glory.” And Jesus said, “It is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shall you serve.” But Satan was offering a compromise. He was offering an escape from the cross. But Jesus paid the price and redeemed the world that it might be God’s once again. And when He comes, he is coming to claim that which He redeemed, to claim His purchased possession. And so the world is still in Satan’s hands. Technically, it now belongs to Jesus. He paid the price to redeem it, but He has not yet taken possession of that which He has purchased; will do that in the near future.
To me it is interesting that it has been under Satan’s power and control for about six thousand years. If you go back to the time that Adam disobeyed God and turned the world over to Satan and was ejected from the garden, that was just about six thousand years ago; short just a few years. And I believe the Lord is going to allow Satan to have it for six thousand years. When a man was sold into slavery he remained a slave for six years and our period of bondage and slavery to sin is about over. Satan has just about had his time, his realm. The day of redemption is at hand.
And all creation groans and travails as they wait together for the manifestations of the sons of God to wit the redemption of our bodies. So, now the time has come and Satan is cast into the abusso during the thousand years that Jesus reigns upon the earth with His church. Satan will be bound. He will not be deceiving the nations, but Jesus will be reigning. His kingdom will be here on earth and His will being done here on earth even as it is in heaven.
I saw the thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them (20:4):
So, these first thrones that he sees are the thrones upon which the church does sit. Jesus said to the church of Laodicea, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne even as I have sat down with my Father on his throne”(3:21). And so the promise of sitting on their thrones and judgment given unto them. “Know ye not,” Paul said, “that you are going to judge the angels”(1 Corinthians 6:3).
I saw then secondly the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (20:4).
So, those martyred saints during the Great Tribulation period who had faced the antichrist and had been killed by the antichrist for their refusal to receive the mark, they too will be numbered with the class who reign with Christ in his reign upon the earth for a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead [the unrighteous dead] do not live again until the thousand years are accomplished. For this is the first resurrection (20:5).
Now the first resurrection began with Jesus Christ. He is the first fruits of those who rise from the dead. When Jesus rose from the dead, he lead the captives from their captivity, those Old Testament saints that were waiting in faith with Abraham for the promises of God to be fulfilled. Jesus went into the prison, preached to those souls in prison and when He came out he lead them from their captivity. “He who has ascended,” Paul said, “is the one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth and when he ascended he lead the captives from their captivity”(Ephesians 4:8-9).
And he opened the prison to those that were bound. And He set the captive free according to the prophecy in Isaiah sixty-one. That is the beginning of the first resurrection. The first resurrection will be complete when the final person is martyred, who is to be martyred by the antichrist during the Great Tribulation period. That will make up the group in the first resurrection. Going back to the time of Adam and Abel, those righteous of the Old Testament who waited for the promise of God, on through to the church and beyond the church, to those martyred saints during the Great Tribulation all making up the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (20:6).
So, this millennial reign of Christ in which we will reign with him upon the earth for a thousand years. Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment upon the earth was a prophecy by Enoch quoted in the book of Jude. Paul said, “When Christ who is our life shall appear then shall we also appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). And so coming with His saints to establish His kingdom upon the earth.
Now, this is different from the rapture of the church. Then He is coming for His saints. When He comes again in power and glory, He will be coming with His saints. I expect to have a part in both.
Now when the thousand years are over, Satan will be loosed out of his prison, He shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth [or the north, east, south and west], Gog and Magog (20:7-8),
These names are synonymous with rebellion against God. We find those names used in Ezekiel to identify Russia as the leader of the rebellion against God’s people in the last days. But this is not to be confused with Ezekiel thirty-eight and thirty-nine.
And he gathers them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea (20:8).
It is amazing that after one thousand years of Christ reigning upon the earth that people living in the reign of Christ will be deceived and turn with Satan to try to destroy Jesus Christ again. Multitudes of them will try, as many as the sand of the sea. That is a numberless multitude.
You say how could that be? I don’t know. How could it be that man rebels today? I don’t see how a logical thinking reasonable man could really set himself against God and rebel against God. I don’t see how a person could do it, except that Satan has blinded their eyes that they cannot see the truth. They are really blind spiritually. “The natural man does not understand the things of the spirit neither can he know them” (1 Corinthians 2:14). And that is the only explanation I can give.
Having eyes to see, they will not see. There is none so blind as those who will not see. And there are people who just say, "I don’t want to see it or don’t want to hear it. Don't confuse me with the facts. I have made up my mind. Just leave me alone." And they just set their mind against it. And why and for what purpose? I don’t know. For God only has your good at His heart. God is only interested in what is best for you. Why should you fight that? You are fighting against your own good and your own welfare, your own destiny. And why a person would want to do that I cannot understand, but such is and shall be the case.
Now, these souls that Satan deceives are those who are born during the thousand-year reign of Christ. We will be in our glorified bodies. Now what all the capacities of these bodies will be, I do not know. "We are now the sons of God. It doth not yet appear what we are going to be, but we know when He appears we are going to be like Him. We will see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2). I am certain we are going to have a lot of interesting marvelous capacities in our new glorified bodies.
For one I am not going to have to get on a stupid 747 to get all the way over to Israel and take seventeen hours in the air and arrive there weary and tired from jetlag. I really believe that in my new body I will be able to get there, zip, in a moment of time. "Hey, let's cruise over to Jerusalem and see what is going on." Poof. We're there. I think there are going to be a lot of capacities in our new bodies that the Lord has for us. They are sort of a universal body. We can say, "Hey, let's head out to the moon and see what is happening there." They are adaptable for anywhere. This body is only adaptable for the planet earth. It is out of the earth and for the earth. I am going to have a new body, which is of the heavens and universal. We are born in the image of the earth, earthy, so shall we bear the image of the heavens.
So, I am sort of excited about the new body. I know it is not going to have gimpy knees and crumbling teeth and fading eyesight. In fact, we'll probably have telescopic type of sight right through the walls of the houses. I think that we will have precognition. I think that we will know in advance when someone is planning to do something wrong. So, zip, we are right there and we can say, “No, no, no.” And if they persist then, “bong”, ruling with a rod of iron. It is going to be interesting to say the least.
So, Satan deceived them that have been born during the thousand-year reign of Christ, who have never really had an opportunity to express their rebellion against God. They have been forced to serve Jesus Christ. They have been forced to live by the laws of God. And man will reveal once and forever the righteousness of God’s judgment in ridding the world and the universe of such rebels. The fact that after living for a thousand years in the ideal environment of God’s kingdom and at that they rebel.
Now, notice that Satan is really a tool of God and under God’s control. When God wants, He can chain him and will, and then release him again for a short time and then incarcerate him forever. But he is just serving a purpose of God. But it sort of points up the fallacy that some people so foolishly declare, and that is, hey, God says that all are sinners. So by my sin, I am only proving that God tells the truth. So how can God judge me for sinning when I am only proving that He is a true God? Such type of reasoning deserves its own judgment. “Let us do evil that good might come, because where sin abounds grace overflows” (Romans 3:8). Well, then lets go out and sin, so God can show His grace.
So the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire [Gehenna], where the beast and the false prophet are (20:10),
Not where they were, not where they were destroyed, not where they were consumed, not where they were annihilated; but where they are.
and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (20:10).
“Aionios perusi aionos:” from the ages to the ages. It is the Greek word for eternity. Is Gehenna then eternal torment and punishment? Is that fair for God? I am not going to touch that issue. That is what it says here. Now, you may do what you want with it to explain it or explain it away or whatever, but I am not going to touch it.
For over in chapter twenty-two I read, “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away His part out of the book of life and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in the book. If any man adds to the words of this prophecy, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book” (22:19). So, I am not going to touch it. You do what you want with it, but I am going to accept it as it is. You say, "Well, I don't understand it?" I don't understand it either, but I'm just going to leave it alone.
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 (20:11).
God’s Great White Throne Judgment of which you have heard so much.
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things that were written in the books, according to their works (20:12).
Now, there are several books. There is the book of life. There are mentions of this book of life in the Old Testament and also in the New.
the sea gave up the dead which were in it (20:13);
Now, who are the dead which are in the sea? I don’t know. Maybe the sea covers a previous civilization that also rebelled against God. There are indications that Genesis one is not original creation, except in verse one. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, “barra”, out of nothing and brought something into existence. “And the earth was without form and void.” God doesn’t create things without form and void as a general rule. On each of the days of creation, God saw that He created and said, “It’s good.”
We are told in Isaiah forty-eight that God did not create the earth wasted and desolate. He created it to be inhabited. The Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters. The word “moved” in Hebrew is brooded as though in anger. It would seem that perhaps there was another civilization that existed on the planet earth prior to man in our present form that was destroyed in the wrath and the anger of God covered with water. The earth was then covered with water, the great ice age, and the pervious civilizations buried.
and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them (20:13):
It could be that there is something to the legends of the lost continents of Atlantis and all. Who knows? I don’t. But here it is interesting, it could just mean those that were buried at sea or those whose ashes were spread out over the sea, because no matter where your body is placed when you die, if you are unrighteous your soul is in hell. So, hell will disgorge its inhabitants separate from those in the sea. The sea gives up those, which are within it.
“And death and hell deliver up the dead which are in them.” So, hell is not eternal. It is not the place of eternal punishment. It will come to an end as it disgorges its inhabitants that they might stand before the Great White Throne Judgment of God. Then when the sentence is pronounced upon them at that point, they are sent into Gehenna which is the second death and that is permanent. So, "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. 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 (20:13-15). Men judged according to their works, their evil works. They said to Jesus one day, “what must we do to do the works of God?” He said, “This is the work of God, believe on Him who he has sent. Men who do not do the work of God will be judged then according to their own works”(John 6:28-29).