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.

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