Sunday, January 27, 2013

Revelation Bible Study - Lesson 48 - Revelation 20:7-15

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (ESV)

Satan’s Final Hour


We have seen how the earth will live in harmony during the reign of Jesus. There will be no external temptations by Satan, and Jesus will stop any other sin from a man’s heart by His tight rule. I believe that He will use us who rule with Him to suddenly appear when someone is about to do evil and stop him. However, at the end of the thousand years Satan will be released again and Jesus will allow him to tempt people. He hasn’t changed in a thousand years of captivity. He goes back to doing what he has done before. You may ask, “How could it be?” How, after a thousand years of being with the Lord, could anyone be deceived to turn against Jesus?

For each of the passages below, explain Satan’s scheme to cause sin and discredit God. How might he do this again at the end of the millennium? 

… And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Gen 3:2-5 KJV)  

Your explanation: 
 

Satan slightly twisted God’s command and Eve fell for it by added to what God said. Satan took advantage of that by introducing doubt of God’s Word and then went on to indicate that God had been holding back goodness from Eve. He implied that there was more to life than God was allowing them to enjoy. In the last times, as he does now, he will probably try the same thing. He wants to produce some dissatisfaction, an unmet need. At the heart of it he instills doubt that God meets all our needs as He has promised in His Word.

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. (1 Chron 21:1 KJV)  

How was it that David was in a position to listen to Satan instead of God? Your explanation: 
 

This verse only says that Satan rose up against Israel and incited David. The previous chapter of 1st Chronicles describes a time of war against other nations some eighteen years earlier. This appears to be a time of peace. It is a time of leisure. It is easy for Satan to catch us off guard when things are going too well for us. We can feel proud of ourselves and take stock of our spiritual strengths. We are no longer humble before the Lord; no longer are we weak and boasting about His strength, but we are boasting about our own. Even in encouraging others, we can fall into this trap. We can say, “Look how far I have come in my spiritual maturity” instead of “look how far the Lord has brought me.” It is subtle and we must never drop our guard. 

Then Satan answered the Lord, "Does Job fear God for nothing? "Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. "But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." Then the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." … (Job 1:9-12 NASU)

And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. (Job 2:4-6 KJV)

Your explanation: 
 

One of the things that Satan does is to cause evil and disease. We must not forget that God allows these things, but Satan would have us believe that it is God Himself that is doing it. Satan asked God to destroy Job’s property, yet God replied that it was in Satan’s hand. It takes a lot of trust in God to believe this, because we ask what the difference is between God allowing it and Satan doing it. In bringing sickness and death, Satan is trying to taint God’s image. He will constantly try to malign God so that we will doubt Romans 8:28 which says that God will work out all the details for the good of us who love Him. He works for the good of everyone whom He has called according to the purpose of becoming like Jesus.

God wants us to be strengthened when undergoing difficulties. A possibility is that when released, Satan will take the people who have lived all their lives in a perfect environment and suddenly dump sickness and calamity on them. In a brief amount of time they will be tested in order to show their true colors. 

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (Zech 3:1-2 KJV)  

Your explanation: 
 

The high priest of God was being accused before God. If Satan is bold enough to accuse the saints before God, who rebukes him and does not listen, then I am sure that he also brings those same accusations against us. He says, “You aren’t good enough, you have sinned, etc.” If a person doesn’t understand that his sins are completely forgiven, he is devastated. How many people have believed that they have committed the unpardonable sin and are devastated by it? I’ve met several. Look at how many Christians cannot get over sin or trouble in their past.

In the last days, Satan will be hammering at people who have never experienced this type of trial before. How many will believe him, that they have no right to be before God? If they truly know the Lord, they will not have a problem, but if they don’t, they will lose hope. Maybe, some will realize for the first time that their hope is only in Jesus. 

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15 KJV)  

Your explanation: 
 

Jesus was tempted in every way that we are. He was tempted by Satan as described in Matthew 4:1-11. He was first tempted to meet His needs in an ungodly manner. He was in the desert for a reason, and it wasn’t to meet His own needs, but to seek the Lord and know His plan. He was developing the spiritual strength that would carry Him to the cross. The Lord has given us some very mind-blowing promises about our prayers. He gave the same promises to Jesus, yet Jesus understood that those promises were not to be used capriciously. He also had to put away all desire for worldly gain and worship God only.

Why does anyone worship false gods anyway? It is not because of the qualities of that god, but because they think they will get what they want. Fertility gods were worshiped to get crops, children, etc., not because the god was worthy. This can be extended to all of the gods. Satan wanted worship and was willing to supply power to get it. Worshiping him or any other god is truly a selfish act.

In each of these cases, the temptation is focused on self, satisfying selfish needs. As soon as we realize this and worship God, the devil leaves and God attends to us through angels, others, or even directly. At the end, people will suddenly be aware of themselves and their “unmet” needs. Satan will promise to meet their needs in return for their worship. 

When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (Matt 13:19 KJV)

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Cor 4:4 KJV)

Your explanation:
 

Satan has some kind of means to prevent some people from understanding the Word of God. Matthew gives us a clue in that the ground is hard on the path. There is already a disposition or bent in the person away from the things of God. Satan doesn’t have to spend much time here, a few “intellectual” thoughts and God’s seed is gone. At the end, there will probably be many who, though they have seen Jesus in Jerusalem, will not really have paid attention to Him. They will have followed the rules, because they were forced. They will have grown up in the church, so to speak. They haven’t really given much thought to Jesus. Satan will rally these to himself quickly, just as he does today. 

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (John 8:42-45 KJV)  

Your explanation: 
 

Satan is the father of lies. When he is locked up, deceit will be almost unheard of. Yet there will be many who immediately believe Satan when he is released. We naturally learn from and do the things our father does. When we are tempted to lie, we need to remember this, and remember that we have been adopted and born again into a new family. When he is released, people who don’t have faith in Jesus will be like those who have been adopted and seek to find their “real” parents. They will feel that something has been missing in their lives and will flock to Satan. 

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; (John 13:2 KJV)

Your explanation: 
 

Satan prompts us to betray Jesus. How can this be, unless the person is really not a Christian? It may be possible, but we also know that His grace is sufficient for us. If we, as Christians, deny Him, then we are relying on ourselves, not Him, to keep us. It would be possible in this case to deny Him because He wants us to learn something in the process. I’m sure that process would entail a lot of grief and guilt until the person actually confesses and is restored to fellowship as Peter was. If the person is not a Christian, then they are only making a statement of what is true. Like Judas, they may feel guilt but they need to be born again, not restored. If they cannot come to that point, despair could drive them to suicide as it did Judas. In the end, many will decide to betray Jesus and actually march on Jerusalem. This is sure suicide. 

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Acts 5:3 KJV) 

Your explanation: 
 

Now, we can’t be too harsh about people who aren’t Christians. It is certain that Satan can and will plant evil thoughts in their minds. Satan will unleash all his demons to possess as many as possible.

However, this is the case of believers who have bought one of Satan’s lies so completely that the Lord has taken them home. What’s the story here? Is it our own selfishness? If that were the case, then we should all be struck dead. I think the prime thing is that they lied to the Holy Spirit. They really thought that they could pull one over on God. I don’t think that any true believers after the millennium will be in this category when Satan deceives the nations, but I could be wrong. There is nothing to say that there won’t be. There will not be any resurrected believers for it is stated that the second death has no power over us. 

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor 12:7-9 KJV) 

Your explanation: 
 

Paul had one of the most spiritual highs anyone could ever imagine. He had received revelation directly from God but was not allowed to tell what it was. God allowed Satan to attack Paul physically so that he wouldn’t become conceited. It is Satan’s nature to inflict pain and misery whenever he is allowed. In the face of any kind of trial and tribulation Paul’s attitude is what we need to develop. It is too easy for us to become proud of our spiritual accomplishments. In the last times, I am sure many will see themselves as spiritual giants. Only those who react like Paul will survive the temptations of Satan.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Eph 2:1-2 KJV) 

Your explanation: 
 

There will be some who side with Satan because of plain old disobedience. After living for hundreds of years in an environment that has completely met all of our needs, both physically and emotionally, you would think that nothing would cause someone to disobey Jesus. Yet this is what has been happening throughout the ages. People have known better, and flat out disobeyed. When Satan is turned lose he will whisper the same words to them that he does now. “Aren’t you a little tired of always obeying? I could show you so much more fun.” How many people have rejected Jesus because they believe it wouldn’t be fun, or that they would have to give up a lifestyle that they love? They are right; they would have to give it up, not always because their fun was wrong but because they desire it more than obeying Jesus. The ironic part is that there is so much more joy when we obey Jesus.

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thess 2:9-10 KJV) 

Your explanation: 
 

He deceives by counterfeiting God’s power. But the interesting thing is that he is able to do that because people refuse to love the truth. Basically, they want to be deceived because they want the lie, not the truth.

When people fall into temptations because of the love of money (1 Tim 6:9-10), it is because they don’t want to believe the truth about God’s sufficiency and that there is much more waiting for them in heaven. Once, I got and e-mail that started out like this, “Don’t you believe that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. I love money and …” Off he went telling how much fun he was having. When we want something such as riches more than we want the kingdom of God, we fall into all of these traps of Satan. It often starts with refusing to believe the truth.

Each one of us is tempted by our own lusts or desires (James 1:14). We are enticed by our own desires and Satan certainly capitalizes on it. I think that as Satan capitalizes on people’s desires, he is going to find many willing subjects who will spout his doctrine, encourage, and entice others at the end of the millennium. 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8 KJV) 

Your explanation: 
 

Lest we think that all of the devil’s schemes are there only to harass us and mildly cause us problems, here is a description of his intentions. He wants to devour us. He wants to destroy us. It is not a game with him. When he marches on God’s camp, it is not to prove a point, it is his last hope to destroy God’s people and if it were possible, God Himself. Suicide, sexual misconduct, alcohol, overeating, smoking, and any of our other addictions or problems are designed to destroy us. If it were not for God’s patience and love, He would let these things destroy us. Instead, He brings us through them to develop us into the people He wants – ones who will be able to resist poor choices and sin.

Satan will be released at the end of the thousand years. It is possible that he or his minions are released over a period of a few years and plant the bad seeds in mankind to draw away all who are not committed to Jesus (Matt 13:25). It could happen overnight. All we know is that it is at the end.

If you want a good novel describing how Satan could tempt mankind at the end of the Millennium, read my book, 999 Years After Armageddon: The End of the Millennium,[1] I believe it is based on a more accurate picture of the Millennium than Kingdom Come: The Final Victory.[2]

The Battle Grounds


How will there be so many people to side with Satan and how can they all get to the beloved city? 
 

After 1,000 years of peace, perfect environment without disease, and with long life, the population will have exploded beyond anything we can imagine at this time. With a perfect society and Jesus at helm, it will be without the industrial pollution that we see today. It doesn’t mean it will be an agrarian society; technology will also expand rapidly as people live longer and brilliant minds are able to work longer on research and development.

At the end of the millennium there are so many people that they will be like the sand on the seashore. Since Satan is able to tempt them, they are mortals who either survived Armageddon or were born after Jesus’ return. The nations are coming from the four corners of the earth indicating that the majority of people will probably fall prey to Satan’s schemes. Perhaps the exception will be Israel.

While the text says they will march against Jerusalem, it also says that Satan will gather them. We don’t know how Jesus will restore the earth during the millennium, but the broad plain of the earth may be figurative or only refer to the land of Israel. It is possible Satan will transport them all to Jerusalem just as he transported Jesus to a high mountain.

Something very powerful and evil will be needed for him to draw so many people. He will most likely use powers we’ve never seen before. However they get there, they are coming to confront Jesus in Jerusalem. 

How do we know that Jerusalem is the center of the battle and who will be there? 
 

I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord." Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together, Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the Lord, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the Lord. For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David. (Ps 122:1-5 NKJV)  

Jerusalem is called the camp of God’s people. It is the city He loves. I get the feeling that what has happened is that those who love Jesus have been gathered together by Him in Jerusalem. They reflect the spirit of Ps 122. There are many tribes joining the celebration. It will be more than just the tribes of Israel who come. All people who love the Lord will gather in Jerusalem. It is here that the governmental throne of judgment stands. In Jerusalem there will be peace and security. Satan is set free and goes to all who have no desire to go to Jerusalem. In the perfection of the millennial reign, there would be no excuse not to come to the house of the Lord. Just like today, those who have stayed behind have something that is more important to them. That “something” could be what Satan can use to tempt them.

It is possible that when Jesus knows the time is right, He will summon all believers to Jerusalem and Satan will also gather unbelievers. While the enemy circles Jerusalem, the saints, both mortal and resurrected will be rejoicing. All who truly believe God will be in Jerusalem.  

How will mortal saints in the millennium come to God? Will it be any different than in previous generations? 
 

Abraham believed God, so did David, and also Paul. Throughout history people who come to God do so because they believe in Him. Paul makes it clear in Rom 9:30-10:4 that all who pursue righteousness end up having to decide about Jesus. Those who stumble are not attaining righteousness by faith. They have their own methods and priorities. There is reason to believe that in the millennium, some will place their faith in Jesus and others will attempt to achieve righteousness their own way.  

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Rom 10:3 KJV) 

When anyone faces judgment from any era of time and declares “no fair,” Jesus will be able to point to each era and say that the way to God has always been by faith. The circumstances have changed but the way has always been the same. 

In what different ways has God dealt with mankind throughout the ages? 
 

In the first era, God walked and communicated with Adam and Eve directly. They fell. In the second, men were basically left to their own conscience. The only people of faith who were noted during that time were Enoch, Noah, and his family. He eventually had to clean the earth because of the sin showing that man, when left to his own wisdom would not know God.  

Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. (1 Cor 1:21 NLT) 

Then God prepared His select people and gave them laws, rules, and regulations. Many had faith, like David, but in general, men still rebelled. Even so, God was not looking for who would simply obey the law and therefore believe that they were just in the sight of God. He was looking for people who would live by faith.

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Hab 2:4 KJV) 

When Jesus came, He placed the Holy Spirit in each person who had faith. As 1 Cor 1:18 says, the message of the cross is foolishness to those who don’t believe but salvation to everyone who does believe. Again, we receive the Holy Spirit by faith in God, in Jesus, because of the cross. But even in this era, most people have rejected the truth.

During the millennium their faith can be in someone they see. No evil or harm will be around to blame for not having faith in Jesus. But look at the number of people that will reject Jesus in the end. They can’t be numbered. There are so many that they walk across the breadth of the earth. In the previous battle, millions gathered in the valley outside of Jerusalem. But now there are even more and they surround Jerusalem. It is staggering to think that there would be so many. It really points out that it is still by grace that we are saved.[3] 

Will the physical presences of Jesus on earth give anyone a living in the millennium an advantage for salvation over people who have lived in other eras? 
 

You would think that Jesus’ physical presence would give them an advantage. What is really sad is that since Jesus will be there, if anyone wants to know if he has a chance to be saved from the devil’s deception at the end, all he has to do is ask. All will be aware of Him and all will be aware of this end. Jesus will probably tell them very simply to come to Him and they will be saved. It points out that even as it does today, many people who have read the accounts of the end time or of Jesus still reject Him. No amount of proof will satisfy them. They simply do not want any part of God and that is what they will get. 

How is the end for unbelievers different from the end for them after the battle of Armageddon? 
 

First of all, everyone who is outside of the camp will be killed. In the battle of Armageddon, only those on earth who gathered against Jesus are killed. In this case there will only be those that are with God and those that are against God. Those against Him are destroyed by fire from heaven, rather than by the sword from Jesus’ mouth as before the millennium. It is quick and there no one is left, except those in the camp of God’s people. That’s pretty black and white. It appears that it only takes a moment of time and there is no dramatic description. It is the end for those without Jesus.

All people in eternity are either with God or against Him and those who are against him will now face an eternal judgment. 

What is Satan’s fate? Does he now rule over the underworld? 
 

The end of Satan is finalized also. The unholy trinity is now together in their eternal dwelling place. The lake of fire has no hierarchy of who is over whom. It is the same for all. They will be tormented for eternity without end.

There isn’t going to be anyone ruling over anybody else. Where the world gets this idea of Satan ruling over a fiery hell is a real twisting of Scripture. We have already seen that he currently rules over the principalities. This does not occur in a fiery underworld. It occurs in a spiritual world that we cannot see. Some of his kingdom is now locked into the abyss, where he will also be held during the millennium. When anyone, including Satan, hits the burning lake of fire, it is the end of his ability to do anything except suffer.

Judgment of the Dead


As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. (Dan 7:9-10 RSV)  

Why would these verses from Daniel be so similar to the verse in Revelation? What does this tell us about Scripture? 
 

Critics say that John and others were familiar with this passage of Scripture so he used this when making up the Revelation of Jesus. They imply that he used that was already familiar to get his message to the churches.

It is truly amazing that someone would come up with bunk like that. The similarity of these two passages is there because both Daniel and John were allowed to look into heaven and beyond time. The Scriptures are so much alike because Daniel and John have both seen the same thing. Like any two witnesses, they have a slightly different perspective on things. The very fact that they are looking beyond time is enough to confuse a mortal. Both are trying their best to describe what they have seen.

The Holy Spirit is directing their words to convey to us what He wants us to learn from these passages. But there are a few things that stand out. One is that the thrones were set in place indicating a judgment is about to occur. Another thing is that the books were opened when the court was seated. The judgment will be based on what is in the books. In Revelation we can see that when the Father takes His seat, all of heaven and earth disappear. 

Some Bible versions say that earth and heaven flee from God’s presence. What is happening?
  

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Rom 8:22 KJV)

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

When God appears, nothing temporal can stand before Him. It all flees away. Creation has been groaning, waiting for its rebirth. This is phase one of that rebirth of creation – removing the old. When God appears, everything will disappear with a roar. It is as if the fire that comes from heaven to destroy the rebellious will keep right on going and devour the whole earth and heavens. 

Who are the dead who are standing before the throne? 
 

One thing is very clear. It is only the dead standing before the throne. They are people from all times throughout history who were not part of the first resurrection. They are those who were devoured by fire when they surrounded Jerusalem to battle Jesus. It includes everyone who has died without faith in Jesus. Everyone else has already been resurrected or is still alive.  

Where are all who have had faith in Jesus? 
 

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (1 Thess 4:14 KJV)  

We know that everyone who has died with faith in Jesus is with Him now.  

Where are those who died before Jesus?
 

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Eph 4:8 KJV)

For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:6 KJV)  

These verses give us the foundation to believe that all of the Old Testament saints are also alive with Jesus at this time. Besides this, we have the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the mountain with Jesus to demonstrate it. 

When we spread the Gospel, is it important to know about where different people throughout history will be? What is most important? 
 

If we are to spread the gospel message, some of this dealing with the Old Testament saints and the millennium saints is not really important. It is good background when intellectual stuff if needed. Some people will raise the questions simply as a smoke screen to avoid making a decision about Jesus. What is most important is that we can tell people today that if they believe in Jesus, they have eternal life. 

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13 KJV)  

The dead are standing before the throne. Are they alive, if so, then what is meant by eternal life?  
 

Even though these people before the throne are alive now, they are still called dead. They have had a choice in life to be born again or die again. If they are born again, they will never die. This is what Jesus was trying to get across to us when He spoke to Martha.  

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26 NASB) 

If they are only born once, then they will die twice. This is why the lake of fire is called the second death. It can be thought of as spending eternity in the process of death. Some people fear death because of the pain and unknown. Think how horrible it would be to be in that state of pain and fear forever. 

Why are the dead suddenly exposed?  
 

People and the Word of God are eternal (Matt 24:35, John 5:28-29). When the temporal things flee away from the presence of God, all that is left is Jesus and people. Those that have died and not resurrected before are now exposed. The temporal things cannot hide them. The sea giving up the dead is to emphasis that there is no place for the dead to hide and escape the judgment. People generally don’t like burial at sea. There is no permanent place to mark the body’s location. Some want their ashes scattered or to be buried at sea, trying to spite God.[4] In a sense saying “See if you can bring this back to judgment.” It doesn’t matter where the body goes, the sea, death, and Hades will not be able to hold them back. 

Why is Death and Hades both mentioned in giving up the dead? 
 

In this usage, death is a synonym for Hades. It refers to the place that the dead who are not in Christ go. Death could represent what happens to their physical bodies while Hades is where their souls reside. It isn’t hell, as we will see shortly. When the dead stand before the throne, they are no longer physically dead but are still spiritually dead. Death and Hades giving up the dead could be the symbolic description of the reunion of the spirit and body of unbelievers. They need the body to become immortal so that it can be thrown into hell for eternity. Just as believers need an immortal body to enter eternity (1 Cor 15:42-54), so do unbelievers, but the destination is quite opposite.  

What do you know about Hades? 
 

Depending on your translation, there are three English words used in the New Testament for the Greek Hades: hell, Hades and the depths.  

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Rev 1:18 KJV)  

The word here and in Rev 10:13 is haides (hah’-dace); properly, unseen, i.e. “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls.[5] The Greek pronunciation is very close to Hades. Jesus says He has the keys to hell or Hades. There is no way that Hades can keep any back when Jesus has the keys. Even better, He won’t let us be put there either.  

And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (Matt 11:23-24 KJV)  

The NIV uses “depths” in this verse instead of hell. This verse makes a lot more sense to think that the people of the city that reject Jesus will be put deeper into Hades until the time of judgment than it does to think that in eternal hell Sodom will have it any easier than those who rejected Jesus in Capernaum. 

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt 16:18 KJV)  

Even this verse looks different when we think of hell as only the holding place for the judgment. It then means that the souls of the departed Church will not go to Hades. 

What other word is used as hell in the New Testament and what does it mean? 
 

To diverge a little and look at the other words (all of which the KJV translates as hell) show a great distinction.  

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt 10:28 KJV)  

Geena is the word that the NIV and other translations generally use as hell in the New Testament. It is the word for the valley of Hinnom. Geena (gheh’-en-nah); of Hebrew origin; valley of (the son of) Hinnom; ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment.[6] The valley separates Jerusalem from Mt. Zion on the north. It is where Solomon set up alters to Molech to make fiery child sacrifices. King Josiah made the valley ceremonially unclean by spreading human bones in the valley. This stopped the sacrifice to Molech. Later it turned into the cesspool for the city. Sewage and solid wastes were directed there. Funeral pyres were also burned there. This name became the term for fiery punishment and torment. As translated in this verse and others into hell, it is very fitting. Each verse that uses this word is associated with punishment, not a place to hold the dead until judgment. 

How are the same distinctions between Hades and hell shown in the Old Testament? 
 

There is only word in the Old Testament translated hell in the KJV. She’owl (sheh-ole’); or sheol (sheh-ole’); Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates.[7] We see it translated in various versions as sheol, death, the realm of the dead and the grave. It is a place of holding, much like the definition of Hades. It is seldom if ever used for a place of punishment. The NIV usually doesn’t even translate it as hell but uses death (which ties death and Hades together) or the grave. 

For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death [Sheol: ESV, NASU; hell: NKJV, KJV] below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains. (Deut 32:22 NIV)  

This verse in the KJV appears to use it as a place of punishment, but it is really talking about the fact that when God judges, He will not spare those who have died and are in Hades. His wrath will go there; they will be raised for judgment also.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Ps 16:9-10 KJV) 

When translated as Sheol, this verse conveys a better meaning than hell. It is not referring to punishment. David spoke for himself when he said that he would not be abandoned to the grave, clearly a reference to being freed at sometime from the clutches of death. Of course he also referred to Jesus who spent three days in Hades and preached the gospel message to the souls there. 

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Prov 23:13-14 KJV)  

The NIV uses death in this verse. Others use Sheol. Neither death or hell seem like good translations because they imply that discipline will prevent eternal punishment. I didn’t look at all of the verses that contained hell, but just reading the little that is in the concordance leads me to believe that it was not referred to as a place of punishment. It really wasn’t until Jesus clarified things in the gospels that we get the picture of Hades as a holding place for the dead and a separate hell of eternal punishment. The KJV doesn’t help by translating the words in the O.T. and N.T. as hell. 

How many books are opened and what is in them? 
 

The books are opened. The word is plural so it is clear that there is more than one book. Then opposed to the first set of books, there is another book (singular) opened. It is the book of life. The sentence construction allows us to understand the judgment. The dead are judged out of the first set of books. All that they ever did has been recorded in the first set of books. If a person had an individual book, it must be extremely large. You can see why there must be many books. If we were to judge based on these books, all that we would have to do is read until the first sin was recorded.  

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10 KJV)

This one verse would condemn the person based on that one sin. Then the Lord would look in the other book, the book of life, to see if the person’s name was there. Since it is the book of life and they are dead, then none of the people before the Great White Throne would be listed in the book of life. They are thrown into the lake of fire. 

How does a person get his name in the book of life? 
 

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev 3:5 KJV)  

Jesus has promised believers that He would never have their name erased from the book of life. It is a much smaller book than the others are since it contains only the name of those who have life. To have life, one needs to be born. To have eternal life, one needs to be born again (John 3:3). As soon as a person is born again, his name is written in the book of life. The dead are not born again, so they will never be found in this book. The book of life does not contain a recording of what we have done. Life is a gift. This book is more like a gift list. 

Will believers be judged from the first set of books? What will be the result? 
 

If we were to be judged from the first set of books, and I believe that is what will happen at the wedding supper of the Lamb, then what is recorded in our individual book is the things that we have done for the Lord in His power and grace by faith. Nothing that we do outside of faith is righteous and will be blotted out. Everything that does not come from faith is sin (Rom 14:23).

We are also told that He doesn’t remember our sins. If we were to look at the deeds recorded for us in the first set of books, how many pages would be blank because they have been wiped clean by the blood of the Lamb? Let’s take a Christian who is fairly active and in appearance – an above average saint. If he is doing things out of self-interest, even though saved, or maybe in a thoughtless manner, not giving God the glory for little things, will these deeds be recorded as having been done in faith? My question boils down to this; do we get so absorbed in the routine of our daily life that we do not pay attention to the Lord? If so, are we missing the opportunity to do routine things in faith? I think He wants us to be so conscious of Him and His presence that even in a task that requires our absolute concentration we start by saying, “In faith, I do this for you, Lord, as You guide me.” While doing this at the beginning of the day is good, wouldn’t it be better to do it as each new task is started, each new conversation, each annoying telephone call, etc. When we are paid, it usually takes a conscious decision to save some of our money; otherwise we end up spending it. Jesus told us to lay up treasures in heaven. It takes a conscious decision to do that. 

What does it mean when Death and Hades is thrown into the lake of fire? 
 

Death and Hades are finally finished. They are thrown into the lake of fire. No longer will anyone be able to die. This is done after the millennial reign of Jesus. Jesus conquered death on the cross, but He doesn’t stop death even when He comes back. Otherwise, how would He deal with the rebellious that Satan tricks? Death sounds so horrible, yet it is His method of bringing people to Him forever. It is His method of allowing people to choose against Him, and that decision is forever. But now, all hope of having a choice is gone. Once death and Hades are tossed into the lake, all rebellion against God will have been dealt with. There will no longer be a use for death and Hades. 

Why is the lake of fire worse than Hades? 
 

Those who have made the wrong decision will live with it for eternity. If there is any consciousness in Hades, I am sure it isn’t good. But that is nothing in contrast to the consciousness and the torment that goes on in the lake of fire. It is the death for the dead, yet they live. No wonder it is called the second death. Praise God that no one who is resurrected before the millennium or lives to the end of the millennium will ever have to worry about it for himself. It has no power over them. That is a message of hope for many. May we be good ambassadors of that message.


[1] Ruppert, Ray. 999 Years After Armageddon: The End of the Millennium. Everett: Ray Ruppert, 2011.
[2] LaHaye, Tim F., and Jerry B. Jenkins. Kingdom Come: The Final Victory. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007.
[3] Some may mistake what I’ve said about eras for preaching a theology called dispensationalism. While dispensationalism teaches that God has dealt with man during different dispensations of His grace (eras as I’ve called them), it also has many other theological elements which are too involved to discuss in this book. If you look up the term on the internet, you will find vehement opposition as well as solid affirmation. I would rather look at the Bible and see what it has to say and let others argue over isms. Much of what I’ve learned sounds like dispensationalism and much is very different.
[4] This is not a condemnation of cremation or scattering ashes. It is simply stating what some, who hate God, do.
[5] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[6] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[7]Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Revelation Bible Study - Lesson 47 - Revelation 20:1-6

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the 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 bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and 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 a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and 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. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath 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. (KJV)

Satan’s Confinement


What will Satan’s imprisonment be like? 
 

It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, And on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, As prisoners are gathered in the pit, And will be shut up in the prison; After many days they will be punished. (Isa 24:21-22 NKJV) 

As prophecy indicates, Satan will be locked up and held for a future time of punishment. This verse simply says that he will be held for many days. Revelation more clearly defines this as a thousand years. It is important to note that this imprisonment is not the time of his punishment. He is locked up in the abyss instead of being tossed into the lake of fire, which will be his punishment.  

For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. (2 Peter 2:4 NLT)   

The word hell is: (tartaroo (tar-tar-o’-o); from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment).[1] Hell is much more than the lake of fire as we often imagine it. This verse indicates that these dungeons are in the deepest abyss of Hades where many fallen angels have been confined from before time began. These demons are so evil that they have not been allowed to roam the earth and torment people. Instead, they have been held for punishment.

Now, Satan, who had been left to roam the earth, will also be held in the part of Hades called the abyss along with those fallen angels who were not allowed any freedom after they sinned. As we will see in Rev 20:13, the dead who will not reign with Christ will still be kept in Hades for the Day of Judgment and then eternal punishment. 

What is significant about the angel who has the key to the abyss and binds Satan?  
 

The key to the abyss is now returned to the hands of an angel of God. In chapter 9, the key had been given to a fallen star, a demon. The horrors and evil that were released from the pit of Hades will now be locked away again. But more importantly, the leader of the horror, Satan, will be locked up. For years, the people of the earth have been slaves of Satan. They have been bound by sin. Now a great chain like the chain Satan has had on people will be used to bind him.

We have gone back to Daniel many times in our study to ponder how it is that an angel of the Lord was held up in reaching Daniel until Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help (Dan 10:13). We have also looked at verses like Eph 6:12 that let us know that we are undergoing a struggle against the rulers of the dark world.  

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Col 1:16 KJV)

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Col 2:15 KJV)  

Lest we become worried or alarmed, we need to remember that Jesus created all powers and that even though they became corrupt, He has shown His power over them by His death on His cross and His resurrection. But it’s not until we see Satan captured and imprisoned by a single angel that we understand the truth of it.

This angel’s name is not even mentioned. It just says an angel. We have had descriptions of other angels, which said a mighty angel or described them in glowing terms. Michael and Gabriel are named. There is nothing like that here. This demonstrates that the lowest of angels in heaven could have done the job because of what Jesus has done. I think that even one of the saints could do this if that’s what Jesus would have wanted. It is only because of what Jesus has done.

This is one of the things that we need to remember. Satan is already defeated. His doom is set. It certainly doesn’t make sense for us to follow the directions of someone who is doomed when both of us are going to live forever. It is however an angel that binds Satan. It isn’t by human effort and it isn’t because we have spread the gospel. It is done at God’s bidding and in His authority. 

How does Satan’s capture reveal his reality and why is it important to understand his reality?
  

If there is any doubt about who is being locked up, Satan is identified by three titles: the dragon, the ancient serpent, and the devil. This ties him right back to the Garden of Eden. From the beginning of the Bible to the end he is identified as a person, a being who incites evil. It is a person who is being bound and imprisoned. He is not a concept or theory, but someone who thinks, and has emotions. We have already seen most of this when we saw the dragon in Rev 12.

One of his most vicious lies has been to get people to doubt his existence. It is much easier for him to influence people if they don’t realize he is around. This applies to the unsaved and the believers alike. I really don’t understand how a Christian can believe that he doesn’t exist, but some do. Maybe, if they have studied the Word as much as they say they have and still deny hell and Satan, then they also have a different Jesus as well as a mythical Satan. If this is true then they aren’t really Christians.

There are many who don’t understand Satan’s power and ability now. They are unaware and fall into traps and temptations that keep them from living a victorious Christian life. I wrote a short booklet, Battling Satan with the Armor of God to expose some of the areas where we are vulnerable if we don’t recognize the way Satan can work. It is available at http://www.rayruppert.com/battling-satan.html.  

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Tim 2:24-26 RSV)

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Cor 4:4 KJV)

Those who do not know the Lord are captured by the devil. He has ensnared them through sin and has blinded them so they can’t see the way out. The only hope is in God who can open their eyes and lead them to repentance. In the millennial reign, Satan will not have the opportunity to blind them. He will not be able to work through their bodies to lead them to sin – until he is released for a short while. 

How will temptation and resisting sin be different in the millennium?  
 

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Rom 7:21-23 KJV) 

These verses will take on a different aspect with Satan bound. Evil will no longer be an external force that will tempt to people to sin. Certainly, people who enter the millennium with mortal bodies will still have the same desires and physical inclination to sin. However, each person will also be aware of Jesus, in the flesh, ruling from Jerusalem. Instead of the old picture we have where there is a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other, the picture will be changed to only having a little angel.

I believe that one of our jobs in reigning with Christ will be to be that little angel. Whenever a person is tempted to do wrong by his own desires, instead of evil being right there with him, to egg him on, we will come to them. We will have bodies like Jesus to appear behind locked doors or wherever else. One of our jobs will be to physically appear to stop murder, thefts, even family squabbles. Jesus knows all and will have tell us in a flash where to go to stop something before it gets out of hand. To rule with an iron scepter means to have such control that evil will not have a chance to spawn. My novel, 999 Years After Armageddon, describes how this could happen. See http://www.rayruppert.com/999-years-after-armageddon.html for more details. 

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:14 KJV)

We will be there to prevent people from being dragged away by their own evil desires. Since Satan will be locked up, he won’t be able to drag them away either. Jesus has not done away with sin as yet; that will come at the end of the chapter when death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire. What He will do is keep a tight control on sin for the thousand years. Therefore, to set up this condition in the millennium, Satan has to be removed. 

Is God finished with Satan, why or why not? 
 

God isn’t finished with him yet. That is why he is only locked up and it says that he must be set free for a short time. This is God’s plan to make sure no one has an excuse. Since there is a mention of time, the thousand years, and that he must be set free for a short time, we know that this is still not eternity. Time is still measured.

First Resurrection


Who will be on the thrones and what will they be doing during the millennium? 
 

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Cor 6:2-3 KJV)  

Everyone who has already been resurrected will be sitting on thrones and have been given authority to judge. These verses clearly speak about what we will be doing during the thousand years. We will be judging on the earth. This is not something that we will be doing in heaven.

In many countries when the king took a bride she shared the throne with him. She had power to rule just as he did, only under subjection to him. Queen Isabella of Spain financed and gave authority for Columbus to sail; not her husband, the king. This is only an example, but what has just occurred is the wedding supper of the Lamp, then the Groom and His bride have gone to war. In this scene the bride is now taking the position on thrones as an extension of the King and her husband’s rule.  

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Dan 7:21-22 KJV)

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Rev 3:21KJV)  

The time for the saints to posses the kingdom occurs after the first resurrection. Jesus’ promise to the overcomers occurs at this time.

It is possible that the governmental structure during the millennium will have mortal people who are answerable to the resurrected saints. In the Old Testament, judges were appointed over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens (Ex 18:21-23). For instance, a community may have individual leaders or a council that directs the affairs of the community as well as judge disagreements. One or more resurrected saints would then instruct, guide, and have veto power over any of the decisions they make. This structure would be repeated for cities, states, nations and finally the world with Jesus as the final authority.

Challenges to council or resurrected saints’ decisions could be escalated to the next higher authority. However, since the saints have the mind of Christ, even at the lowest level, there would never be a reversal of a decision. 

How is the parable in Luke 19:11-27 descriptive of what we will be doing during the millennium? 
 

Luke 19:11-27 is a parable about a nobleman who leaves to be crowned king. Before he leaves, he gives his servants some money to invest while he is away. Some of his subjects didn’t even want him to become king. When he returns he rewards the servants who invested the money but punishes his enemies and the servant that hid the money. You need to read it to get the full flavor.

I get tired of people who look at this and other parables about the kingdom of God and can only see Jesus talking about how to handle money. While we can learn about money, Jesus says that the primary purpose of these parables is to tell us about the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus comes back, He is not going to be asking people how much money they made. In the kingdom of heaven Jesus is the returning King and has given out His first rewards at the wedding supper of the Lamb. These are the thrones that have been awarded to all who are resurrected for the wedding supper of the Lamb. We will be the ones that have used what the Lord has provided for the advancement of His kingdom.

Those who did little with their spiritual gifts will rule or judge small groups or possibly only be over a family or individual. Those who did much will be over cities or nations. A person could easily make a lot of money in this life but ignore his family and relationship with Christ and end up at the bottom of the governmental structure in the millennium. A lowly person in a poor country who was faithful to Jesus, his family, and his church could be over cities. 

What has God given us for the advancement of the kingdom? 
 

First of all He has given us salvation. He also gives wisdom and the ability to live for Him in readiness for His return and to bring others to Him. These are the talents mentioned in the parable, not physical monies.  

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 25:30 KJV)  

The servants in these parables who don’t use the talents are thrown outside, proving that the talents aren’t money but salvation. They had not even appropriated salvation for themselves. 

What does the mention of people coming to life who wouldn’t worship the beast prove? 
 

There is a second group of people mentioned in this passage. They are the ones who were beheaded for their testimony of Jesus or killed in some way during the tribulation. This leaves room to believe that this is after the rapture but as we’ve seen, the rapture appears to be at the very end of the tribulation. If they came to Jesus after the rapture, then it indicates that even after the Holy Spirit has been withdrawn along with the presence of the Saints, God will be working in the hearts of some to keep His testimony.

In every age, there have been people whom the Lord knew. There was Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Samuel, and David. Simeon and Anna are two examples who were at the temple when Jesus was presented (Luke 2:25-38). None of these had the Holy Spirit living in them for it was before the Holy Spirit had been given. Then we can point to Cornelius and Apollo. Each of these people had a relationship with the Lord. Cornelius and Apollo were both devout people who accepted Jesus when He was made known to them.

What makes us think that God is going to deal any differently after the rapture if it comes before or during the tribulation? We have speculated that at some point after the rapture, none may make a decision for Jesus and that could be true. On the other hand, the clear meaning of Revelation 20:4 is that some will come to faith during the tribulation. If it is after the rapture, do they receive the Holy Spirit? Well, why not? That is what He promised. Why would Jesus not send the Holy Spirit just because all of the Saints have been raptured? It makes more sense that He would continue doing what He has always done, rather than suddenly change what He has written. In every age, He has had people who call on Him.

Then again, we don’t know when the rapture will take place. If it occurs at the beginning of the tribulation as most people hope, I’m sure there will be many coming to Jesus during the tribulation. The same applies if it occurs in the middle. However, if it occurs very near the end, then there is more of a possibility that none will come to the Lord after the rapture. We have the parables that tell there will be a time when it is too late. 

If the rapture occurs before the end of the tribulation, does Rev 10:4 indicate that there will be two resurrections, one before Satan is imprisoned and one after? How many resurrections will there be? 
 

So far we have seen the rapture of the Church where the dead in Christ are caught up in the air with Jesus and what appears to be the resurrection of those who died as believers after the rapture. Even though they take place at two different times, it is called the first resurrection.  

But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:13-14 KJV)  

Jesus affirmed several times in Scripture that there would be a resurrection as in this verse and in Matthew 22:31 when He was confronted by those who didn’t believe in a resurrection.  

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26 KJV)  

However, the most important verse about the resurrection is that Jesus is the resurrection. Without Him no one would be raised from the dead.  

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:25-27 KJV)

Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. (Ps 49:14-15 KJV)  

The saints of the Old Testament also looked forward to the resurrection. Job knew that he would not just be raised, but see God as well. In the same way David knew that God would take him to be with Him, which is more than just raising him and restoring his flesh. I see a close embracing relationship in both of these people.  

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (Acts 24:15 KJV)  

Paul lets us know that many of the Jews of his day believed in two resurrections. I doubt if they realized that they would be separated by a thousand years. If you look at the parable that Jesus told in Matt 25:31-46, it appears that both resurrections are at the same time. But I believe that the righteous that are gathered have already been resurrected for a thousand years when the unrighteous are resurrected. 

Why will those who have part in the first resurrection be blessed and holy? 
 

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. Anyone who has received a new, immortal body at this time will be holy. They will be reigning on earth with Jesus. It says that the second death will have no power over them. 

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5 NASB)  

Peter tells us that we are being built up to become a royal priesthood. This is the time when we will be fully participating in reigning. 

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Cor 13:12 KJV)  

Paul’s prophecy will be fulfilled. We will know Jesus fully even as He knows us now.  

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor 5:1 KJV) 

Paul talked about the future when we will die and be free from our mortal bodies and gain heavenly immortal bodies. He explains even more about this for another nine verses. He explains that as long we have mortal bodies, we will not be complete because we will never be completely satisfied. It is because of the mortal body that we are still subject to sin. With the immortal body, all subjection to sin will be finally removed. No longer will we say the spirit is willing, but the body is weak, for the body will not be weak. It will be perfected, just as Jesus’ body is now. Paul elaborated much more on the body we will have in 1 Co 15:35-58. Since we know that we have this ahead of us, he exhorts us to not sit back and wait, but to work even harder. If this body we have now is only for a short time, we need not be concerned as much with it to satisfy us personally, but only in using it to serve Jesus. 

Who will we be ruling?
 

There are others who will be alive at that time, but they will not have immortal bodies. They will be the survivors of the earth who did not participate with the beast in the battle of Armageddon. They are not participants of the first resurrection because they have not died. These are the ones who need someone to rule over them. It doesn’t make much sense to make all the saints rulers with Jesus and not have someone to rule.

The Millennium

Premillennialism


Premillennialism is the view that Jesus will come, as we’ve described, at the end of the tribulation to establish His rule for a thousand years. He is going to reign with an iron scepter. This means that there will be no tolerance of sin. These thousand years will be almost like the Garden of Eden.  

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. (Isa 2:1-5 KJV)  

When you read these verses, what pictures of the millennium comes to your mind? 
 

This is a beautiful description of what it will be like during the reign of Jesus. The temple of the Lord will be the most prominent building in Jerusalem. It will be a United Nations building only the government will not be an attempt at a democracy, but a theocracy. It will not just be for the leaders of the nations, but anyone will be able to come to learn directly from Jesus. All people will have a desire to go directly to the source to learn how they can get along with one another. He will also establish His law from there; it will go out from Jerusalem. The way two nations will settle problems will be to go to the source of their authority to rule. In the past Satan had authority over nations, now he is bound and Jesus has the authority to rule. He or his co-rulers (us) will be the ones to settle the disputes.

It is ironic that the United Nations chose Isa 2:4 to engrave on their building as if this could come about by human activity. Few nations have Christian leaders, and fewer if any have a majority of Christians in their population, yet for this to come true before the Millennium, they must desire to walk in the light of the Lord Jesus. During the Millennium His rule with an iron rod will ensure that the government will be perfect even if leaders don’t have a desire to walk with Him. 

Read Isaiah 11 - 12 to get a more information of what the millennium will be like and list the things that stand out. 
 

 The most important aspect is that Jesus is going to rule with all understanding. In a word, His rule will be perfect. There will not be anything that anyone will be able to question. No one will be able to have a legitimate gripe against the government. He will do this when He returns and after the wicked are slain.

When He does this, He will restore nature to the way it was in the Garden of Eden. 

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isa 11:6 KJV)  

Starting in 11:6, we see a description of how nature will be restored to its original state during that time. National Geographic will have to do something different than quote the law of the jungle for they will not be able to film a lion eating even a mouse. The plants of the earth will supply all of the nutrition necessary for all animals. Think of it, mosquitoes will no longer bite and disease will be non-existent. In this atmosphere people will live as God intended in the Garden of Eden.

They will live hundreds of years (Isa 65:20). I have a feeling that at the beginning of the reign, there will be very few people left on earth. At the end, the world will be very heavily populated.  

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Gen 1:28 KJV)  

God’s initial command to mankind will finally be fulfilled. With all of the Earth inhabitable, very few deaths, and an abundance of food, our current six billion people will look small in comparison to the number at the end of the thousand years. 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. (Isa 11:11KJV) 

What is significant in Isaiah 11:11 regarding Israel? 
 

We look at the nation of Israel that was re-established in the 20th century and often point to it as the second gathering of the dispersed Jews. While it certainly appears to be a miracle that the nation exists and that Jews from around the world have returned, it isn’t the fulfillment of the prophecies. Most of the prophecies speak of a nation which will worship God. That doesn’t describe the secular state of Israel. Only in the millennium will the nation of Israel become what God truly intends.

God considers the Israel of the millennium the complete fulfillment of these prophecies. Note that He will bring back His people from all nations including the islands of the sea. North and South America would have been considered islands of the sea at the time this was written.  

Isa 12:5 tells those who will live in the millennium to let what God has done be known throughout the earth. Why will they need to do this? 
 

For a thousand years, the people of the earth will be praising Jesus. He will be living among them and they will remember that they were spared in the day of wrath. They will see and know His physical salvation. This will be proclaimed throughout the world. As generation is added to generation, these praises will echo throughout the earth. Unfortunately, only the first generation will know about it firsthand and eventually, they will die off. The following generations will be the ones to whom it must be made known.

It will be very much like what God intended for the nation of Israel after it was brought out of Egypt. He wanted them to be a witness to each generation so that the nation would always know God’s goodness and love. In the millennium all the people of the earth will be teaching their descendents about God’s love in sparing them from His wrath. Jesus will see to it. However, will all believe? 

Read Isa 65:17-25. Does this speak of eternity or of the millennium? How do you know? 
 

When Jesus comes back, He will have to do a restoration on the heavens and earth. The reign of sinful mankind has taken its toll on the earth and God’s wrath has finished off the planet. The pain and torment of this current world will not be remembered. Some might think that this is not a description of the thousand years, but eternity to follow. However, these passages show that there will still be birth. Jesus told us that in heaven that we will be like the angels, there will be no giving and taking in marriage. So this must be the thousand years. It sounds almost like heaven though. Yet it doesn’t say there will be no death. However, they would be considered accursed if they don’t live to be an hundred years old. Even with Satan shut up, there may be a possibility that sin within a person is so strong that he must be taken out of the way to keep it from infecting others even in such a perfect surroundings. But these verses indicate that it won’t be because of disease, wild animals, or famine.

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. (Isa 65:20 NIV)

For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. (Isa 65:22 NIV) 

What do these two verses from Isaiah specifically tell us about the life span of people during the millennium? 
 

First of all, infant mortality will be unheard of. The verses speak of death, but if anyone dies before they are a hundred years old, it will be as if they are accursed. Note the word says they will be considered. This is from our estimation. It doesn’t say that they are sinners who have not repented and accepted Jesus as Lord and savior. It tells us that most people will be living out a life span that is the same as trees. Some could possibly live the full 1,000 years, others may die after only a few hundred years. There is no guarantee that anyone will live the full length of the millennium.

These verses do not say that an unbeliever will die on their hundredth birthday as is stated by Dr. Tim LaHaye in his preface notes to Kingdom Come.[2]  Nor have I found any consensus among scholars who take the Bible literally as he states. In fact I had never heard of this until I read the book. The novel also implies that believers can’t be killed because they must live out their years which take them to the end of the Millennium. Again these verses don’t guarantee anyone to live to the end of the Millennium. 

We saw that Israel will again become a nation. How will the Lord deal with the other nations of the earth? (See Zech 14:16-19 below.) 
 

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zech 14:16-19 KJV)  

The survivors of the nations are mentioned specifically as they will now worship the Lord. However, the reign of the Lord is described much more harshly for the nations in Zechariah than in any other passages. When it says that He will rule with an iron rod, this is what is meant. There will not be any room for rebellion. Sin and rebellion will be dealt with quickly and fairly, even though it may appear to be harsh in light of the perfect environment that will be set up. I believe that the Lord will not have to carry out these threats until the very end of the thousand years when Satan is freed again. 

We have looked at the millennium as a literal 1,000 years. What are some spiritual interpretations of the millennium? 
 

Amillennialism


Amillennialism is the belief that the thousand years is a spiritual reign of Jesus through the Church. They basically believe that we are now in the millennium. The 1,000 years is symbolic and in essence, it will never end until Jesus comes back and creates a new heaven and a new earth as described in Revelation 21. Since a day is as a thousand years to the Lord, they don’t see that a thousand is anything more than a symbolic representation of the time of Christ.

They say that all the Old Testament verses about the millennium used above describe eternity. As mentioned above, there will be births and death so that makes it hard to apply those verses to eternity.

Since Jesus gained victory on the cross over Satan, they use that to explain the meaning of Satan being bound and thrown into the pit so that he can’t deceive the nations. If that is true then they should have a problem with  1 Peter 5:8 that lets us know that the devil is roaming around like a lion seeking devour us. He can’t be both locked up and roaming. We are also told to put on the armor of God to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph 6:11-12). Clearly Satan is still an active force in the world at this time which must be the biggest argument against this theory.

Postmillennialism


Then there are some who believe that the thousand-year reign will only be accomplished when the Church has spread the gospel and has created the environment that is described in the Old Testament passages. They believe it is the work of the Church to bind Satan before the thousand-year reign of Jesus. This just doesn’t stand up in light of most of the book of Revelation, besides passages like 2 Thess 2:1-11. Paul makes it very clear that the Church is not going to overthrow Satan or even his plans for the Anti-Christ.  

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (2 Thess 2:8 KJV)   

Paul couldn’t make it any clearer. The Lord Himself will overthrow this reign of lawlessness. Anyway, they believe that when the church has done all of this, Jesus will come back to take the throne that He has provided through the work of the church. (I believe that the throne is provided by God based on Jesus’ work on the cross.)  

How does this philosophy affect the church? 
 

The main danger in this theology is that it has produced a church that is focusing on producing a perfect society on earth instead of focusing on saving souls. Many mainline churches have taken this philosophy. You can see it in their missionaries who are more concerned for political rights and justice than they are for souls. They can be vitally concerned for feeding the poor in Ethiopia and totally ignore the abortions at their front door. They can be concerned about saving whales (the perfect environment) and getting rid of nuclear arms, and let their neighbors go to hell because they don’t know the Lord. It is strange how altering what the Word says to fit what you want leads to alterations in other areas. It goes to the point that hell and Satan do not even fit into their theology. Since all roads lead to heaven, so why do anything else other than social work? 

What have you leaned in this lesson that stands out to you? 
 

The study of the millennium is always a blessing to me. Whenever I think of what is in store for the us and the earth, I’m encouraged. When I see how mankind is destroying our environment and how sin is becoming worse and worse, I can see how much we need to have Jesus ruling with power and authority as well as restoring nature to the way it was originally designed.

We are blessed because we will reign with Christ for a thousand years and the second death has no power over us. May we share this with as many as possible while we can.


[1] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[2] Tim LaHay and Jerry B. Jenkins, Kingdom Come, The Final Victory (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2007) page xiv