In Revelation 19 we saw Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, riding into the scene on a white horse and a tremendous army of saints riding behind Him. He has a sword coming out of His mouth, that sword is His Word, so in reality, He may only speak a word and kill all those who have joined in, and He slaughters all those who have come to the fight.
Statements indicating that Jesus only kills those who come to do battle seem logical, however, some will actively fight with me about how Jesus kills off everyone but the Christians prior to the millennial reign. If that was the case, why would there be a need for judges seated on thrones during this time period?
Who these judges are is found in Revelation 19:2 where it speaks of God avenging the blood of His bond-servants – the martyred saints. You then have to extrapolate how God would avenge their blood. Since we, the church, caught up in the rapture, did not spill our blood, then it is certainly not speaking about us. The answer to this question above lies in the fact that many from the nations will enter the millennial kingdom.
Notice the terminology used in Revelation 19, pertaining to this battle.
“Then I saw the beast and the rulers and leaders of the earth with their troops mustered to go into battle and make war against Him Who is mounted on the horse and against His troops.”
(Revelation 19:19 AMP)
We see the beast – this is the antichrist character,
the rulers of the earth – take your pick, if they have survived the onslaught thrown at the earth by God, then they too will be there.
And we see, leaders of the earth with their troops.
All of these are going into battle against Him who is seated upon the white horse and His troops.
You do know who this is, right?
Jesus Christ. Here is a scripture to back up my argument.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.”
(Revelation 19:11 NLT)
Suddenly, it occurs to me, that the gathering of troops, to a specific location like Israel (Never let this piece of information out of your thinking, this saga, we call the Bible, is about God’s plan to redeem humanity, the promise He made to Abraham, and the land that He promised to Abraham – that land extends far beyond the reaches of Israel,) will take more than a day or two, and we can see that Russia is staging for some horrid activity with their build-up in Syria. The implications are that Jesus is merely hanging there in mid-air for all the world to see, with the armies of heaven in tow until these earth-bound fools are gathered and ready to fight.
You saw my shortlist above, where there are no wives, mothers, or children listed. That does not preclude that a few may choose to join in the melee, but for the most part, in the Middle East, wars are fought by the men. So that does not mean that the King of Kings will go to their house, in contrast to some of the instructions Israel received concerning the conquering of opposing “nations,” and leave no one alive. If you believe that, then you have no idea who God is.
Let’s confirm these assertions I just put forth.
“And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him, the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:19-21 NASB)
So here we go once again with an inventory again as we look at another verse..
The beast and the kings of the earth,
It is only those assembled to make war against Him who are seated on the white horse and against His army that is killed.
What is the result of this war?
The beast, which is the antichrist, is seized, and with him, the false prophet; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. Two are permanently judged and tossed into the lake of fire, while an untold number of fighters from among the nations are killed – temporarily put to sleep until they are called before the great white throne.
All that is merely housekeeping and now begins,
The Thousand Years
Revelation 20:1-3 Moffatt NT (1) Then I saw an angel descend from heaven with the key of the abyss and a huge chain in his hand; (2) he gripped the dragon, that old serpent (who is the devil and Satan), and bound him for a thousand years, (3) flinging him into the abyss and shutting and sealing it on the top of him, to prevent him seducing the nations again until the thousand years were completed — after which he has to be released for a little while.
So much of this is self-explanatory.
An angel simply means an angel. Since we seem to think that Satan is all-powerful – by the way, he is NOT, then it is obvious that this angel is stronger.
I was asked by a relative, to explain Revelation 20 and 21. Since the questions are usually entwined with convoluted arguments, I asked that person to give me some specific questions. A response that came went like this, God had to use a special chain because you can’t hold a spirit being with a metal chain. I suppose that stands to reason.
Whether it is a huge or great chain makes no difference as the word hálusis also carries meanings of manacles, shackles, bonds, imprisonment, or a state of custody. Whatever it takes.
Notice that this angel has keys. Where did he get a key?
Jesus told the disciples, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 NASB)
When Jesus spoke these words He had not yet gone to hell, taken the keys to death, hell, and the grave. And yet He speaks as though He already had them. Perhaps this speaks to the confidence that God has in His own word.
Paul tells us in his letter to the church at Ephesus that He went to hell.
Therefore He says, “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men.” (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (Ephesians 4:8-9 MKJV)
An aspect of what happened to Jesus was to be falsely accused of sins He did not commit. The payment for sin was death, but not just physical death, it was spiritual death as well, and Satan thought he had Him.
I always think of Hank Hannegraf, the Bible Answer Man, and how he seemed to lose his mind over this teaching. He would proclaim that it was blasphemy if you can think that Jesus should or could be put in hell. And yet, there it is in black and white, “He also descended… into the lower parts of the earth.” What Paul preached came from the heart of God, the Old Testament, and so here is where he got the teaching from.
“You have gone up on high; You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts for men, yes, for the rebellious also, that You might dwell among them, O Jehovah God.” (Psalms 68:18 MKJV)
These gifts that the passage speaks of did NOT come from hell. The gifts are only from the Father, so it is easy to see that Jesus was rewarded as well.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:13-15 MKJV)
In the faith movement, there was a teaching called, “What happened from the Cross to the Throne.” To be honest, it was awesome, not something you hear very often, and I think it is something that every believer should understand. I am presenting several aspects of that teaching in this post.
Jesus did not simply die, He destroyed Satan and His power, and then went into heaven, where, as the high priest, He placed His own blood on the heavenly utensils there – the tabernacle on earth was a copy of that heavenly one. Because He conquered sin and death, the Father restored Him to power and placed Him upon His throne, where He still sits today.
Take the time to read these passages: Heb_4:14; *Heb_6:20; *Heb_8:1, *1Pe_3:22.
One last passage about those keys and we will move on.
“and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18 MKJV)
So when I asked, where did the angel get the keys, he got them from Jesus, who obtained them by stripping them out of Satan’s grip. Satan, on the other hand, got them when Adam, who was NOT deceived, handed the dominion of the earth over to the deceiver.
Revelation 20:4 MKJV “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
Who are these that sit on the thrones that Jesus sets up?
Fortunately, we answered this in the first few paragraphs. But in short, it is the previously martyred saints.
Notice the terminology, they were “beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands.”
Revelation 20:5 GNB “(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first raising of the dead.”
If you are not cautious in your reading, you will see the first raising as those who are brought back at the end of the millennial reign. It is NOT the dead being brought before the great white throne, it is the martyred saints, raised to sit upon these thrones, passing judgment over the nations during the millennium.
Revelation 20:6 NASB “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
Martyred saints, raised to life again, never have to fear the second death.
The second death, we have heard this term several times, so what is it?
The second death is spiritual death in that you are separated from God. I don’t think any of us can express what that feels like except for Jesus. I can say that because I have known Jesus all my life and have never been without Him. Now, if you chose NOT to listen to His voice, then the obvious assertion would be that you did not recognize His voice, but that was your choice.
Didn’t you ever wonder what Jesus meant when He said, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
For many, this is just a curse when things are not going well, Jesus got it from the Psalms
“… My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.” (Psalms 22:1 NASB)
Humanity, whether they choose to follow Christ or spit in His face, has always had the Spirit of God speaking to them and moving around them, and that is why I struggle with people who are willing to tell you that God cannot and will not look at sin. If that were the case, He would have ignored all of us. The passage these false teachers use is taken out of context and is part of one where Habakkuk is whining to God. That NASB titles this section as:
Habakkuk’s Second Complaint
“Are You not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct. Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?”
(Habakkuk 1:12-13 NASB)
Habakkuk went on to ask, why do you look with favor on those who deal treacherously, which of course is a polite way of saying evil, wickedness, or sin. So, using the phrase, God can NOT look on wickedness, is no less sin, and a form of manipulation and control; and those two words move their actions into the arena of witchcraft.
The reality of God’s heart and character looks more like this.
“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.” (Micah 7:18 NASB)
Did you catch the depth of character embedded in what Micah had to say?
- “ Who is a God like You,”
This statement is reaching out to find and display God’s character.
- “who pardons iniquity”
This is in total opposition to the proclamation that God cannot look at sin, which, by the way, is exactly what His son became on the cross – sin.
- “And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession.”
On this earth, we are subject to the demands of the law and, therefore, our crimes, if caught, get punished. Some seem to think there are no repercussions if they get away with the crime. Enjoy your moment in the sun, but there is a payment to be made. But what does Micah tell us? That God passes over the rebellious acts.
Question. After the treasonous act by Adam, what did God do? Some will try to work from the angle that God was hiding His face from the man in the garden. Seriously, God, who knows and sees all, was showing the man respect, although I am not sure he deserved it, by calling out where are you. You are NOT going to hide yourself or your sins from God. He will seek you out.
- “He does not retain His anger forever,”
Thank you, Lord, for that. Wouldn’t it be nice if people acted like God? As I write I am considering, with frailty, how long then does God hold on to anger? The answer is simple, He doesn’t. The cross was more than an interesting dot on the timeline of God’s redemption plan, as it, among other things, signifies His forgiveness of ALL sin. So when I come to God with my sin, as though there is a release from hell’s grip by confessing what was done. He responds with, I don’t know what you are talking about. I left that all on the cross.
But there is yet a better answer and it comes from the passage itself.
- “Because He delights in unchanging love.”
It brings the Father more joy to show you His unchanging love.
Let those words sink in.