Chapter 20: 7-10
“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
This has been a tragic week for some of my closest friends and me. Over the past 7 days or so, I have had 2 friends die. Both of them relatively young, one less than 40 and another under 60. It reminds you that life is fragile and fleeting at best. These men both knew the Lord as Savior and served Him. One was a dear pastor of a conservative Baptist church, an excellent Bible teacher who has been plagued with illness for some time. Both men went home to see Jesus, and they will never be ill again.
We shall go to see them one day. I must admit that comprehending this all can be difficult. I am no stranger to death; I have buried my share of family members, and as a Pastor I have done many funerals. But these two deaths hit me. One is that I am not much younger than this dear Pastor who died this week, and the other is why them? I know that the Lord is in charge and His plan is perfect. My questions do not change the perfection of His plan. But this Pastor was a good man, a good dad and good friend. The last gesture of friendship he did was to buy me a study Bible about a year ago. He was an excellent Bible teacher, and we need more men like him around.
I do not write these things to cause any kind of dissention, but to show that Pastors have to deal with real emotions, and we are real people. We don’t always have it all together. But, as we discussed last week, we who know Jesus as Savior are going to a place that has no pain, no suffering and no death. We have a ‘hope’ the apostle tells us that transcends the tragedies of life, that transcends funerals and disease and death.
One day soon, death will be dead. Cemeteries will be a thing of the past, doctors will be poor, no wood needed for caskets, and GM won’t be able to sell hearses. One day soon, both death and taxes will no longer be sure things. Jesus changed the course of history when He got up out of the grave, and we are simply waiting for history to catch up. I will see these dear friends again, and then we will never miss each other again. Soon and very soon we are going to see the King. Will you be going with us?
Over the past 2 weeks, we have explored the good things of the Millennial Kingdom: lions eating straw, kids playing with snakes, wolves and lambs together, living to 100 years old will be normal, and there will be peace, no one will learn war, Isaiah 2:2-4:
“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.”
Sadly, it is not all ‘rainbows and unicorns’ in the Millennial Kingdom. As we can see in our passage from Revelation 20:7-10, Satan is released from the Bottomless Pit and is able to raise an army from the nations on the earth with which to launch an attack on Jesus and His empire. This attack will be executed by people that Satan is able to recruit from people who for 1,000 years have lived under the rule of Jesus. The rule where He stopped wars, settled scores that were millennia old, brought peace and solved the issues of men. A reign of righteousness, no scandals, no deceit, no cheating, no lies, no evil at all. Yet, Satan is able to raise an army from the population of earth. This army will include millions and maybe even billions of people. Notice that they are described as the ‘sand of the sea’ in numbers.
So, let us take into consideration some numbers. In 1300 AD, the earth’s population was about 432,000,000; by 1900 AD it was about 1,600,000,000; by 2000 AD it was 6,000,000,000; and today 7,700,000,000. As you can see, we grew the earth’s population by 1.7 Billion in the last 19 years. Let that sink in. Imagine then what the population will be in the 1,000 years of the Millennial Kingdom when there is no war, people will live to at least 100 and there are no wild animals to kill you.
The Evil in Men, Jeremiah 17:9
Wow! Even without Satan, men will be evil at heart. Even spending 1,000 years with Jesus and His righteous and just reign will not change the hearts of men. They need to be born again. Look at our verse, Jeremiah 17:9:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Notice God’s assessment of men’s hearts, their core beings; they are “deceitful” and “beyond cure.” Paul puts it this way in Romans 3:10, “There is none good, no not one.” Many people will say that if they saw Jesus, then they would believe; and if they heard Him speak, they would believe. We have built an entire generation of Christians around signs of God’s and not the Word of God. But Abraham makes a stunning assessment of man’s heart in Luke 16:29-31:
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ ‘He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
In the account, the rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to witness to his brothers. Abraham tells him that his brothers have “Moses and the Prophets,” meaning the written Word of God, and these are enough. The rich man insists that if one were to come back from the dead then they would believe, and Abraham says NO! If they will not believe the written word, then they will not believe even if one is raised from the dead.
The Millennial Kingdom will see the nail-scarred hands of Jesus every time He raises them; they will know that He is the King of the World who brings in peace and heals their disputes; they will see the Risen Savior on TV, in the NEWS, on FB, on YouTube and on and on; and yet Satan will find billions of dissenters to form a formidable army bigger than any human army in existence right now.
The heart of man is horrible. We don’t want to bow to anyone, even God. But those of us that are transformed by Jesus’ salvation understand the need through the Holy Spirit to be submissive to the Lord. We can appreciate, though not totally in our flesh, the salvation that was bought for us. We adore our Saviour, we love Him, we cherish Him, we honor Hm, and we long to see Him and fall at His feet. But we do not sow these things out of our own hearts; we have been given a new heart by God through salvation in Jesus, and that heart can appreciate Jesus. The natural man does not appreciate Jesus. You need to be born again; the message has not changed since John 3.
But here we have clear evidence that man’s heart is the problem. In-born sin is the problem, and not that the Devil made me do it. It does not appear from the text in Revelation that we are exploring that Satan has to do a lot of persuading. He is able to raise a vast army in a very short time. Evil hearts will follow evil leadership. The physical presence of Jesus will make no difference. This time they will defy Him face to face as they follow Satan.
Rebellion is not Tolerated, Revelation 20:9-10
They try to invade Jerusalem. Even 1,000 years from now, it will still be the center of the world. God sends fire down and consumes these men. Many of them would not have remembered God’s wrath from the Tribulation. Many would have assumed that Jesus’ meekness was a sign of weakness, and they are going to be wrong. Fire will fall from Heaven and consume them, then Satan will be put into the Lake of Fire forever to be tormented there.
There is not much to go on about here other than, don’t defy God; you cannot win. Satan has already lost, and those who follow him will lose as well. Jesus is the ONLY WAY. God told us in Genesis 3:15 that the ‘Seed of the Woman would crush the head of the serpent’; job done and over. Head crushed and Satan gone. I will leave you with the words of Abraham to the rich man: “They have Moses and the Prophets.” Jesus said this in John 5:39,
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Jesus is the very core of the Bible—from the Creator in Genesis, the Rock that followed Israel in the Wilderness, standing in the Fire with the three Hebrew men, the Baby in a Manger, the Savior on the cross, the resurrected Saviour or the King on the Throne of David—the entire Bible is about Jesus. He will give you a new heart, one that can see Him and His ways, one that will love Him, serve Him and honor Him; you just need to submit and ask.
All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.