When Revelation 19 ended we were looking at the previously martyred saints, now seated on thrones, ruling over a millennial kingdom in which Satan’s influence and voice can only be heard through the recollections of those from the nations who have survived.
It is possible that those who are now sitting as judges, are in a sense, ruling with Christ?
It is possible that some of these survivors, over which the martyred saints now sit in judgment, may have played a role in the murder of those same saints, therefore, this position of judgment seems appropriate. This thought seems to work, as ALL judgment was given to the Son because He willingly put Himself on that cross in order to redeem humanity.
Did you know you had been redeemed?
While many religious folks have been angrily telling you that you are a sinner – which we undoubtedly are, many have added that you are going to hell. The problem is they are NOT our judges and don’t truly know the answer as to where you get to spend your eternity. Not being a good gambler I prefer not to play the odds and have, therefore, accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. Because of that decision, I do not have to stumble around with no hope and fear the ravages of hell. I will spend eternity with the Father, all because I, like you, have been redeemed.
So, Satan will have no influence over the nations during the millennial reign, because he is captive and restrained during that time.
Does this mean that people from among the nations will not exhibit sinful behaviors?
Hardly, for these people still have the freedom of choice; and though the opportunity to change continues to be available it is obvious that far too many do not avail themselves of that “change” by submitting themselves to Yahshua, as we believers did. We have scriptural evidence for this.
and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
(Revelation 21:27 NASB)
The nations, by coming to Jesus, will become changed just as we have, and they too will find their names in the book of life.
Let me add something to this introduction. We have little that defines what transpires during these thousand years.
Jesus Christ, alongside the Father, will dwell among them, and they shall be His people. (Revelation 21:3 NASB)
This tends to lean toward the Jewish community, but it does not exclude the believers.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
and there will no longer be any death;
there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 NASB)
The statement “the first things have passed away” probably makes no sense to most; initially, it made no sense to me. But it does make sense when you read it from a translation like the Contemporary English Version.
“He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4 CEV)
He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war.
(Micah 4:3 NASB)
If you have chosen to believe the scriptures, then you might recognize Micah 4:3 as evidence of what is to come. Having never experienced eternity myself I have to trust that what I am told is true. Some would shout, who are you building your confidence upon? Well, Jesus of course. He told His disciples what He was going to do and then did just that. To top it off, He came back from the grave as He said He would.
So, why shouldn’t I believe Him now?
The NASB entitles this next section of Revelation 20,
The defeat of Satan.
Wait a minute, I thought Satan was already taken down and defeated.
I was in the choir of one church I attended and we sang a song that declared, “he’s under my feet, Satan is under my feet.” Strange how some people at that church acted like they were always on top, while others could not hide the fact that they struggled constantly. I found myself wondering, what am I supposed to believe about this because Satan can’t be both, defeated and crushed while continuing to ruin people’s lives, can he?
In Revelation 12:9 we see that Satan, the great dragon, was thrown down. You might think that this was the moment where he was silenced, but no.
“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (ESV.)
He merely brought his circus sideshow to the earth, where he continues in his futile attempts to overthrow God.
The passage does not explicitly say one-third of the angels, however, Revelation 12:4 implies that this quantity was thrown out with him; and, because stars are an allusion to angels, which we frequently find in scripture. A third of the angels, now angry, was thrown down to earth with him.
Revelation 12:4 ESV “His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.”
An alternative translation:
“And the huge dragon was cast down and out–that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth, and his angels were flung out along with him.”(Revelation 12:9 AMP)
Having sent the disciples out to go to people’s homes, they came back rejoicing because the demons complied in the name of Jesus.
Jesus responded to the disciples, to strengthen their faith and perhaps brag a bit, by saying,
“…I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” (Luke 10:18 NASB)
Genesis 3:15 is one of those verses that feeds into the Serpent’s defeat.
“I will make you and the woman hostile toward each other. I will make your descendants and her descendant hostile toward each other. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel.” (GW)
A more common translation reads like this.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (MKJV)
When Genesis 3:15 says, “He” it is referring to Jesus Christ. The woman is Israel.
Enmity is hatred.
Bruise, while a bruise can border on deadly, we typically don’t see it that way. Most of the time, you get a bruise and you move on. This is so much more, as the Hebrew word shuph to gape, snap, break, and lastly, to bruise.
Can you envision the varied ways that Jesus crushed Satan’s head? I will just leave that there.
If Genesis 3:15 is indicative of perpetual warfare, then some of the first shots that Satan fired looked like this.
“”The LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “The LORD said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.'” (1 Kings 22:20-22 NASB)
Do you think that this tactic of deception is NOT active now?
Oh, it is, and the most rational of pastors can mislead. I was recently taken aback when my pastor said that there were two books of life, and one of them was “Jesus’” book of life. He made statements indicating that you can be blotted out of the book of life but not Jesus’ book of life. I have covered this subject in previous posts so suffice it to say that the pastor’s assertions were not biblically sound, and, therefore, blatantly wrong.
Where is the harm in what the pastor said?
If it causes those of you that do not take the time to study your Bibles, to stumble, or to maintain a mental image of God that is false, then yes, it is harmful, severe, and entwined in Satan’s goals of deception. Considering the number of people that a famous television/internet pastor can reach, thousands, that could now be replicating the false teachings in others, while cultivating an image of God that is NOT true; and, be added to the long list of people who cannot understand the book of Revelation. If you think my assertion is fallacious, then you need to know that these are the result of conversations with church-going people.
So much for my introduction.
Now, consider the definition of defeat.
According to https://www.dictionary.com/browse/defeat, the word defeat means “to overcome in a contest, election, battle; to prevail over; to frustrate; thwart; eliminate or deprive of something expected: to annul; a bringing to naught.”
All of these definitions apply, and, by God’s standards, brought Satan to a crashing halt at the cross. At least that is what scripture tells us, but the effect this fallen angel has on our lives seems to say differently. For example, in the book of Job, the cast out Satan, places himself before God, and the righteous angels and God makes no derogatory remarks but restricts what Satan can do to Job.
“And a day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah. And Satan also came among them. And Jehovah said to Satan, From where do you come? Then Satan answered Jehovah and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you set your heart against My servant Job, because there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:6-8 MKJV)
What are you supposed to believe?
The answer is God. The entirety of what I have been rambling about is God’s plan and a great mystery that will culminate at the Great White Throne. We will get to that throne momentarily. Revelation 19 and a portion of chapter 20, have placed us in the millennial/1000-year reign. While here, there are only a handful of things I can say with confidence that will happen.
A form of evangelism takes place, as the leaves of the trees of life are taken to the nations and bring healing;
Peace rules the earth during this time but that does not mean that people will stop doing ungodly things;
Swords will be made into pruning knives and farming tools;
Everyone from the nations will have their own little farm;
The nations will be forced to come, once each year, to Jerusalem, to participate in the Feast of Shavuot and bow before God.
And, the most peaceful thing that stands out in my mind, is that Satan, will for these 1000 years, be taken out of the equation, and therefore, NOT be the motivating factor in the lives of the nations.
Allow me to explain something. The Bibles we are studying are a Jewish book. Many of you don’t want to believe that, but it is. As such, the nations, to the Jew, is anyone outside of Judaism. Since we, believers are in Christ and grafted into this Jewish rootstock, we are NOT included in the conversations about the nations that demonstrate bizarre levels of evil during the 1000 years, and all without Satan pushing them to act this way.
But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, will have their part in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8 MKJV)
So, does the absence of Satan from the 1000-year period, mean that he was defeated by dictionary standards?
If the dictionary is the standard, then yes; but the dictionary only helps us to understand how God may see this. Since crushing one’s head, as we saw in Genesis 3, tends to be deadly and permanent, then this crushing is just a matter of when that happened, or happens.
The cross may have been the turning point, but if that is the case, then why do Satan and his crew, continue to torment people?
The only other point in time, where we see the final removal of, not just Satan, all brokenness related to him, centers around the great white throne.
Revelation 20:7-8 MKJV “And when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed out of his prison. (8) And he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle. The number of them is as the sand of the sea.”
Did you see a great white throne in this passage?
No, it is not there, but some peculiar things are.
“…when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed out of his prison.”
Having had my fair share of battles with this fallen angel, it is disappointing to see him loosed again.
“ And he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth,”
We are told that the number of people living on the earth, outside of the New Jerusalem, will be like the sand of the sea. These are the same words that God spoke to Abraham about his descendants. You do realize that Ishmael and his offspring are descendants as well.
“ Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle.”
If you know anything about prophesy, then you know that many of us are expecting a huge battle, that involves Gog, Magog, Rosh, a few others, and Israel. In this battle, Israel takes a horrific beating but God sends a firestorm against Gog and kills him on the mountains of Israel.
“And the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief ruler of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him. And say, So says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the chief ruler of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you back, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed most perfectly, a great assembly with buckler and shield, all of them swordsmen;” (Ezekiel 38:1-4 MKJV)
It is rather obvious that Gog is a man. Magog is a place but originated as a man’s name, and Rosh is also a place.
“Gog (the prince) of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” By Magog is most probably meant the Scythians or Tartars, called so by the Arabian and Syrian writers, and especially the Turks, who were originally natives of Tartary (inhabiting parts of Russia and central and western Siberia); and by Rosh, the Russians, descendants of the ancient inhabitants on the river Araxes or Rosh.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury.
Don’t you find it interesting to see the same names, once again? You don’t have to answer that.
Something about Revelation 20:7-8 caught my eye.
“when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed out of his prison. (8) And he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle. The number of them is as the sand of the sea.”
Suddenly it occurs to me that this quantity of people, as numerous as the sands of the sea, will all be deceived. Now that may not be the case and the fact that we have talked about those leaves providing healing for the nations. There is no way that God will bring about healing without bringing about a change, much like He is going to do with the raptured church. You see, the nations will still have their brokenness, which is most likely genetic thanks to Adam. Don’t think for a second that God would make a broken, sinful human an immortal. That would be like handing the keys to the New Jerusalem to Satan all over again. Adam already did that once, it is NOT happening again.
Add what I just said, to a world of unrepentant people – the nations, and then release Satan with his skill to deceive, and these fools suddenly think they can kill God and take over. How quickly it happens I don’t know, but God consumes the entire lot of them with fire. This moment in time has eliminated ALL those who, we assume, demonstrated opposition to God, both presently – thus freshly dead, and those who have died throughout all time.
Why would I say any of that?
Because in Revelation 20 there are no “living” people standing there before the throne. Now don’t get all hung up on this living / dead distinction, as no one truly dies. Since the soul, made in the image of God, lives on forever; death, then, is only realized by eternal separation from God, through the lake of fire. I happen to believe that Matthew 25, where we see the sheep and goat judgment, is the exact same judgment that we see in Revelation 20.
Is it mandatory to use the same terminology to explain a picture?
No. In Matthew’s account, there is no mention of death; it merely tells us that the nations are brought before Him.
So who did Satan just deceive?
If you said the nations, then, you would be correct. The number of those standing there is ‘like the sand of the sea,” and therefore uncountable. Since Satan has been doing nothing less than deceiving people since humanity showed up, then it makes sense that the population of the dead would increase.
Who else could be standing there?
People who have died since the beginning of time. Since Matthew also shows us the mercy of God, which we don’t see in Revelation 20. In Matthew’s account the sheep, who would have been gathered with the others who are dead, gain entrance into the kingdom. If they are thought of as sinners not worthy of life, then I guess God just gave them a pass. Matthew tells us that it was their good deeds, found in those books.
Far too many make a critical assumption about these standing before the throne. I made that same assumption when I said “This moment in time has eliminated ALL those who demonstrated opposition to God.” The assumption is that they all committed some unforgivable sin and are, therefore, all headed toward the lake of fire. If the dead are judged from the books, not the book of life, then it is safe to assume that those who find mercy in Matthew 25, were also judged by those same books.