April 4, 2012
By: John Barnett
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Nothing can ever compare to the return of the King.
Earth again will see its Creator no longer shrouded in the form of a humble servant. Christ's Return is with the blazing glory that slightly glowed from the Mount of Transfiguration, but that on Patmos was as blinding as the Sun in the witness of the Apostle John.
So He come, powerfully splitting open the skies, majestically descending with the clouds. Before Him nothing can stand, every knee bows, all heads drop, the people of the earth begin to wail and moan. Their worst nightmares are now reality. The One who saw every secret, who heard every thought, and who felt every drop of their venomous hatred is coming, and finally—its too late.
The wonderful, merciful Savior has become the Righteous, Awesome Judge. There is no place that His voice is not heard. The Grave shivers, the Demons quake, and the Dragon of Old, that roaring lion named Satan, snarls with seething hatred. His Coming is with:
The wonder of Jesus is how long He waits to avenge evil upon the earth. For all of human history since Eden Satan has seemingly triumphed. For thousands of years sin and death have run riotously around the globe, and He waits.
Every village has felt some injustice. Every hamlet has seen evil raging. Every son and daughter born has sin’s dark, black drop staining their heart. Every life experiences the tears and sorrows of Satan’s lie. Every home ultimately breaks up by death’s visit. No family escapes seeing the circle of their home dissolve into the dark depths of the grave. Every life eventually will end in death.
He waits, as every page of history are deeply stained. All the un-avenged evils, from the time of the first murder until this present hour are still pending. Human history has been written in blood, tears and death.
Why does Jesus wait? Why is Satan allowed to wrap his vicious, slimy, filthy, cruel tentacles around human life and around this earth? The weak are slain, the helpless are crushed, and people in this earth by uncounted millions and millions are oppressed, living in despair, and it seems that Jesus just waits.
He waits, but somewhere beyond the starry sky there stands a herald angel with a trumpet in his hand, and by the decree of the Lord God Almighty, there is a day, there is an hour, there is a moment, there is an elected time when the angel shall sound and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ. And in that moment Jesus returns.
As we open to Matthew 24:29 we will see that Christ comes in the Glorious Majesty of His Victory on the cross. Jesus returns. Listen as Matthew captures that moment.
The Message: Following those hard times, Sun will fade out, moon cloud over, Stars fall out of the sky, cosmic powers tremble. 30-31"Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man! It will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven. At that same moment, he'll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God's chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.
The Amplified: Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and [a]beat their breasts and lament in anguish, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliancy and splendor]. 31 And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect (His chosen ones) from the four winds, [even] from one end of the universe to the other.
Jesus left after saying He was coming back as was noted 1,257x in the Old Testament and 319x in the New Testament, now he returns!
Jesus left from the Mt. Of Olives on foot empty handed, He returns to that very spot descending from the skies mounted on a white horse, followed by countless armies clothed in white.
Jesus left in secret, now He returns in blazing glory.
Jesus left with blood stained garments, He returns in shimmering robes of white.
Jesus left still bearing the cuts of a crown of thorns, He returns with the sparkling dazzles of the diadem crown of the King of the Universe.
Jesus left behind His beloved saints going ahead of them alone to Heaven, He returns with the skies filled with His saints all in triumphant procession accompanying their Master, Lord and King.
Jesus left silently worshiped by His disciples, now he returns surrounded by the trumpet blasts of the armies of Heaven, encircled by the shouts of praise of all the redeemed and every eye on planet earth now sees Him.
The climax of all human history is now unfolded in our text. The purposes of God long hidden in His eternal counsels are now made clear. Jesus steps back into history, He is no longer the suffering servant, He is Lord of All.
First, remember with me:
The Elements of Christ's return
1. Matthew tells us that first the heavens are opened, and then the sign of the Son of man appears: (Matt. 24:30);
2. John adds that the Lord comes through the sky as a rider on a white horse, accompanied by the armies of heaven. Out of His mouth goes forth a sharp two-edged sword, and He comes as the King of Kings in the wrath of God the Almighty: (Rev. 19:11-16);
3. When Christ comes to rule, He has what the Bible calls a rod of iron: (Rev. 19:15; Psalm 2:9);
4. He has blood dipped garments: (Rev. 19:13);
5. Isaiah saw Him looking like One who treads the winepress: (Isaiah 63:1-6; Rev. 19:15b);
6. Micah says He is as one who threshes the harvest floor: (Micah 4:12-13; Matthew 3:12);
7. Joel and John add warnings that He is as one who reaps with the sickle of Divine judgment: (Joel 3:13; Rev. 14:17-18).
Secondly, we saw:
The Horrors of The Rebels on Earth
1. Thus, will the despised Jesus of Nazareth again appear! Then will all the families of the earth wail (Matt. 24:30).
2. Then has come the Day of the Lord (Joel 1:15; Amos 5:20);
3. It is the day of God’s fierce anger expressed through Christ: (Isaiah 13:13);
4. It is the great and terrible day of judgment built up: (Malachi 4:5);
5. It is a day of darkness, gloominess, clouds, and thick darkness: (Joel 2:2; Zech. 14:6);
6. In horror – the lost humans will creep into the clefts and ravines: (Rev. 6:15); and then they will hide in the caverns of the rocks and the holes of the earth (Isaiah 2:19).
7. With no place to hide they call to the mountains, “Fall on us!”, and to the hills, “Cover us!”: (Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:16; 9:6). But there will be no escape.
Now today, trace through the Scriptures with me:
The Wrath of God Seen in Christ
1. At the same instant every human on Earth will hear His voice like the sound of a roaring lion (Joel 3:16 The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel; Isaiah 30:30 The LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard, And show the descent of His arm, With the indignation of His anger and the flame of a devouring fire, With scattering, tempest, and hailstones); and the slain of the Lord will be many (Isaiah 66:15-16 or behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many; Psalm 110:6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries);
2. As they look in the direction of the sound of His voice they can only see the approach of flaming fire (II Thessalonians 1:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; Isaiah 66:15-16 or behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many);
3. For the Lord comes as a flash of lightning (Matt. 24:27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be);
4. The Earth will be for the lost like a fiery oven (Mal. 4:1 “For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the LORD of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch); the wicked will be gathered by angels, like weeds to be thrown onto a burn pile (Matt. 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth); and the destruction overtakes them like an inescapable tsunami (Luke 21:35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. NIV);
5. The sudden destruction will “seize all” and no one on Earth can escape (I Thess. 5:3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.);
6. There is no escaping His eyes that pierce every hiding place like flames of fire (Rev. 19:12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself);
7. There is no place to go to avoid His wrath: as the flood in the days of Noah (Matt. 24:38-39 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be); and as the fiery judgment overtook Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:28-30 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed); and all the unsaved, unrepentant, and lost will be swept away in destruction to await the final judgment.
Christ Returns Seen by Everyone
As heaven opens, Jesus enters the sky, and the sign of the Son of Man appears (Matthew 24:30). He rides on a white horse, accompanied by the armies of heaven. Out of His mouth goes forth a sharp two-edged sword, and He Himself treads the winepress of the wrath of God Almighty (Revelation 19:11–16). Jesus wears blood-dipped garments (Revelation 19:13), and holds a ruling rod of iron (Revelation 19:15, which is a response to Psalm 2:9).
Yes, on the Mount of Olives, from where He had ascended (Acts 1:9,12) will the Lord again return (Zech. 14:4). Every eye will see Him (Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30); every contradiction will be silenced (Matt. 22:12; Job 9:3); and then in that glorious moment begins the promise Paul revealed to us. God said that when Christ's Name is declared from the Heavens in glory and majesty that: “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the honor of God the Father” (Phil.2:11).
The Second Coming begins that flattening of the human race. Just as the soldiers could not stand when they came before the Great I AM in the Garden of Gethsemane, so the peoples of the world, hearing and seeing the Lord of All will be flattened and then consumed by His glory.
Then in the darkness of Hades they will await with dread the Great White Throne judgment and their just placement into the Lake of Fire.
Remember that God’s mighty plan in three distinct strokes, as we move to the second stroke:
(1) The return of Christ (19:11– 21);
(2) The restraint of Satan (20:1–3); and
(3) The rule of the Messiah in the Millennium (20:4–10).
Next God shows us:
The Restraint Of Satan
Look back at Revelation 20:1-3
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while" (Revelation 20:1–3, emphasis added).
In this passage, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has now returned. He has squelched the rebellion, terrified the inhabitants of the earth, and He has slain the rebels.
What the apostle John started seeing in chapter 19 takes us from the earth to the end of the earth, into the Millennium to the end of the Millennium, and then into the eternal state. These events happened in chronological sequence to show that the Millennium is actually a literal 1,000 years.
Up until St. Augustine (A.D. 354–430), everyone believed that the return of Christ was to be followed by a literal 1,000-year reign. But when he wrote his monumental treatise called The City of God, confusion entered in. As the Byzantine Church spread across the world, as the largest church buildings ever built began to spring up across the entire Roman world, St. Augustine thought that the promises of the Millennial city of God had been fulfilled in the church of Jesus Christ building these basilicas on earth; thus the 1,000 years was merely figurative.
The result of Augustine’s teaching was that theologians began to interpret the prophetic Scriptures as meaning the Church would be receiving all the blessings promised to Israel in the Millennium here and now on earth, and thus people ought to invest all they have on earth—and not in heaven. But St. Augustine’s interpretation was mistaken, and it has confused people ever since.
Some people have felt that the twentieth chapter of Revelation isn’t actually going to happen— even though Scripture specifically says “a thousand years” five times in verses 2 through 7 of chapter 20. According to Scripture, the Millennium is a literal event, and this is a chronological sequence.
The only way that God can fulfill all the millennial passages is through this literal event. Not only is there a sequence that shows the literal event, verse 3 states that Satan is placed in the bottomless pit. If you recall, this bottomless pit (or abyss) was last opened by Satan in chapter 9. He had a key, so he let out all those monsters! But now the angel has the key, opens the pit, and throws Satan in.
In Revelation 20:2, notice the names that are given in this biography of the devil: the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan. That is basically the history of Satan’s career.
He is the dragon that took the heavenly hosts with him; he is the serpent that tempted Eve who then led Adam into the rebellion; he is the devil who has been seeking to tempt and pervert humanity; he is Satan, the adversary, who has always stood against God’s plan and God’s people.
Satan Goes To the Pit
John says that the angel … cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him …. There is a poetic justice in God’s dealings with Satan. Centuries ago the evil one saw to it that the mortal remains of God’s beloved Son were shut up in a tomb and sealed. So it is interesting that God has Satan put in a tomb and sealed just like the Son of God. But that is where the similarity ends: the Son of God rose triumphantly, and Satan is held captive.
Look at what John Phillips has to say on this subject:
“Throughout the tribulation era, Satan has opened the abyss to plague mankind, once with horrible demons and once with the recalled soul of the beast. Now he himself is consigned to that dark hole and sealed in by an act of God, and there he rages in the most secure prison cell in the universe. It is the condemned cell, and he knows it.
“He has his thoughts to keep him company, and terrible thoughts they are—Thoughts of the day of his creation when he sprang mature, magnificent, and mighty from the hand of God; … as the anointed cherub … once he led the worship of the angel hosts; Thoughts of God’s throne and his attempts to seize it for himself; Thoughts of his fall, of his entrance into Eden, of his short-lived triumph over the first human pair; Thoughts of the sentence passed upon him by God and of his futile efforts to prevent the coming of the promised Seed; Thoughts of Calvary and of his utter defeat; Thoughts of the fleeting moments when he brought the World to the foot of his incarnation, the beast, and had seemingly triumphed at last; Thoughts of the lake of fire just ahead.
He is given a thousand years in confinement to think of his own eternal destruction.”2
Finally, what does this study provide for us? If you look closely you can see:
Truths That Bring Hope
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself like-wise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Hebrews 2:14, emphasis added).
The following are truths that you are not likely to ever hear, except from the Book that only tells the Truth—the Word of God!
• Satan is stoppable and vulnerable (Revelation 20:1–3).
We can overcome him by: the way of goodness—a fruit of the Spirit (Romans 12:21); the Word of God (1 John 2:14); the walk of faith (1 John 5:4); and the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11).
• Suffering is valuable (Revelation 20:4–6).
Suffering for Jesus partners us with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:17–24), and suffering for Jesus is God’s plan: For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake … (Philippians 1:29).
Suffering for Jesus allows us an intimate sharing with Christ’s sufferings that we … may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10).
• Suffering for Jesus strengthens our walk in the Lord:
Suffering for Jesus prepares us for future service for the Lord in heaven: If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us (2 Timothy 2:12). We ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure … (2 Thessalonians 1:4). We can share in His sufferings (1 Peter 4:13), and be strengthened by persevering through the trials (1 Peter 5:10).
# 235 At the Name of Jesus
The Millennium—The Rule of the Messiah
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark …. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:4–6, emphasis added).
But what is the final state of earthly history? It is the rule of Christ.
The Millennium is God establishing what He promised in Daniel 2:35:
“Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
This is the millennial kingdom. The insignificant stone shatters Nebuchadnezzar’s imposing colossus (comp. Matt. 21:44), but afterwards it increases to a great mountain and fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35, 44, 45).
The stone cut without hands is divine, it is Jesus Christ coming and crushing this image that is a representation of the kingdoms of the earth—Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome.
The Millennium is God fulfilling the kingdom of God, which was planned from the very beginning—
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ ” (Matthew 25:34)
What will planet Earth be like during the Millennium? The sky will change (Isaiah 4:5–6 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. 6 And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.; 30:26 Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people And heals the stroke of their wound.; 60:19 ). The earth will apparently be surrounded by a new kind of atmospheric light that will accelerate productivity. It will be like living in a greenhouse again. Harmful solar radiation will be gone, and there will be a global tropical climate.
The world of nature will change during the kingdom—the curse will be removed!
• The animal kingdom will find compatibility with human life. There will be no more predators or scavengers. (Isaiah 11:6–9; 65:25).
• Agricultural production will be abundant (Isaiah 30:23–25; 35:1–2; 55:12–13).
• The threat of disease will change because during the Millennium there will be no sickness or deformity of any kind (Isaiah 29:17–19; 33:24; 35:3–6).
• There will be exceptionally long life (Isaiah 65:19–23).
• The political climate will change as Jesus brings real peace and justice to the earth during His reign (Isaiah 2:4; 42:6–7; 54:14–15). Christ will be the perfect ruler: no lawsuits, no crime, no political machinations, and no unfulfilled promises.
A Summary of Old Testament Millennial Promises
“Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things.’ Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:14–18, emphasis added).
How does what we’ve been learning so far in Revelation 20 compare with Old Testament millennial promises? Various prophetic commentators have traced it like this.
Isaiah describes the kingdom in such glowing terms. Israel and Judah shall be one people in their own land, restored in soul to God, dwelling in peace every man under his own vine and fig tree, and the glory of the Lord covering the earth as the waters cover the sea. All nations will then ask the way to Zion; and Jerusalem shall become the metropolis, not only of a rejuvenated Palestine, but also of the whole earth.
Jeremiah takes up the same happy strain, and foresees the Jerusalem built again and inhabited by a peaceful, happy nation under the reign of the “righteous Branch” whom God has promised to raise up unto David, and “in his days, Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is His name by which He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (23:6).
Ezekiel adds to the wondrous story, and tells of the Spirit being poured out from on high, and describes the services of the regenerated Israel, a priestly nation, through whom the law of God goes forth to all the lands of the nations. He depicts the millennial temple, and even tells us how the land is to be divided among the tribes, and does not close his remarkable book until he can say, “… the name of the city from that day shall be: [Jehovah—Shammah]—THE LORD IS THERE” (48:35).
Daniel’s companion-apocalypse visions conclude with the bringing in of the fifth universal kingdom, and this he tells us is the Kingdom of the Son of Man, which is to displace every other, and is to stand forever. This is the stone cut out without hands that falls upon the feet of the Gentile image and grinds it to powder, and then becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth. This is the Kingdom conferred upon the Son of Man by the Ancient of Days.
Hosea shows that Messiah would come in lowly grace, be rejected by Israel, and return to His place until they acknowledge their sin and seek His face. Then He would come back to restore their souls and to ransom them from the power of the grave, bringing in everlasting righteousness, and making them a blessing to all nations.
Joel sees the Great Tribulation in all its intensity, but beholds the glory that shall follow, and predicts the outpouring of the Spirit, not on Israel only, but on all flesh.
Amos bears witness to the gathering again of the outcasts of Israel, and their resettlement in their land under Jehovah’s perfect rule.
Obadiah wrote the shortest of all the prophecies, and he speaks chiefly of judgment upon Edom, declaring triumphantly, The kingdom shall be the Lord’s (v. 21).
Jonah alone, of all the prophetic brotherhood, seems to have no reference to that day of Jehovah’s power; yet, we may learn through him how wonderfully God will own the testimony of Hebrew missionaries in the beginning of the kingdom age, as they go forth to spread the gospel among those who have not heard His fame, nor seen His glory.
Micah joins with Isaiah in describing the time when … the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains … and peoples shall flow to it …. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks … [and] neither shall they learn war anymore (4:1–3).
Nahum predicts the judgments that shall befall the enemies of Jehovah in the day of His preparation; while Habakkuk, standing on his watch-tower, sees the coming King bringing in the glory.
Zephaniah and Haggai point onward to the restoration of Israel, and through them the blessing of the whole world, when the Lord their God is enthroned in the midst of them, and they serve Him with one consent.
Zechariah, the prophet of glory, gives minute details that no others have touched upon, and even tells of the provision to be made for children’s playgrounds in the restored Jerusalem, for he says, “The broad places of the city shall be full of boys and girls, playing in the broad places thereof” (literal rendering). He sees every spot in Jerusalem holy to the Lord, and all nations wending their way thitherward from year to year to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Malachi completes the series and announces the soon-coming of the King, heralded by the prophet Elijah, to tread down the wicked and sit as a refiner of silver to purify the sons of Levi, and to make His name great from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.
Thus to Him give all the prophets witness (Acts 10:43), not only that through His name remission of sins is now to be proclaimed among all nations, but that He is to reign in righteousness over all the world, when He comes the second time to claim the inheritance which is His by divine fiat, as Son and Heir of all things. Then all the earth will rejoice for the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the tongue of the dumb shall sing, the lame man shall leap as the deer, sorrow and sighing shall flee away, and the Lord alone shall be exalted for a thousand glorious years!
The Release and Doom of Satan
Look at Revelation 20:7: “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.” Here we see two truths: Satan’s Undying Hatred of Israel and God’s Persistent Patience with Humanity
When will that happen? Satan’s release will occur immediately at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ. It is almost like a meter: God puts in a thousand-year quarter, turns the knob, and the timer starts. Satan will have been raging, and thinking about everything, but then he gets one more chance to afflict the earth: … [Satan] 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 (Revelation 20:8).
It is mind-boggling to think that people could sink so low as to listen to Satan after 1,000 years of seeing Jesus and what the world was like under His rule! There was perfect justice, perfect peace, perfect health, and perfect agricultural production. But then the old dragon gets out—and he has a huge following once again.
So Satan gathers them to do battle. He gets the whole planet to rebel and try to attack the beloved city. Look at verse 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.
God didn’t say a word. Remember the rebellion of Korah in the Old Testament where Nadab and Abihu disobeyed and fire came? Satan gets the same fate in Revelation 20:10: 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.
Let’s go back to Revelation 19:20, because I want you to be aware of a terrible theological error called “annihilationism.” That view says that God is too good to keep anyone burning in hell, so He simply evaporates them and they cease to exist. Here is what really happens to people who are in the lake of fire: Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Now look at the end of 20:10: … They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Those two characters were thrown alive into the lake of fire—the first ones in there. What are they like after 1,000 years in the fire? Are they consumed? No, they are still alive and conscious and experiencing the horrors of hell.
Why is Satan being released again? He will be released to demonstrate once and for all that a perfect environment does not change man’s sin problem. This will illustrate the incurable wickedness of Satan who returns immediately to his deceptive ministry. It will justify eternal punishment and show that man, even though exposed to righteousness for an extended period of time, when given the opportunity to accept Christ, will still reject Him.
Where will Satan go after his release is over? He will be cast into the lake of fire where he will be tormented day and night forever.
People are so deceivable and gullible (Revelation 20:7–9). Christ has therefore warned us to beware of deceptions, especially in the last days: “… Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4–5; see also Matthew 24:11, 24).
Series: What’s Next Miracle Israel
This may be one of the most important studies we have ever undertaken, so feel free to trace these points and verses in your Bibles as we go along!
1. JEWS: God promised Abraham: descendants who would the chosen people of God; and property for them with clearly defined boundaries in Genesis 12:1; 13:15; 15:7, 18-21. Genesis 15:7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” He renewed that promise to Abraham's son Isaac (Genesis 26:3-5), to his grandson Jacob (Genesis 28:13), and to their descendants after them forever (Leviticus 25:46; Joshua 14:9; etc.).
2. PASSOVER: God promised Moses that He would Divinely bring His chosen people of destiny to the Promised Land. Exodus 6:7-8 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.
3. ISRAEL: God stakes His future reputation on people He identified as His chosen people of destiny, the Jews, the descendents of Abraham, and He named them Israel. Deuteronomy 7:6-7 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;
4. CAPTIVITY: God promised to judge His chosen people of destiny if they forgot Him in the Promised Land. 2 Chronicles 7:20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.
5. DIASPORA: God promised to scatter His unfaithful but chosen people of destiny from the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 28:64 Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.
6. ANTI-SEMETISM: God promised a curse upon His unfaithful but chosen people of destiny as they wandered the world without their Promised Land. Deuteronomy 28:37 You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the LORD will drive you.
7. CHASTENED: God promised to chasten His unfaithful but chosen people of destiny. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations (Hosea 9:17).
8. PRESERVATION: God promised to preserve His chosen people of destiny from annihilation. Jeremiah 30:11 "I am with you and will save you," declares the LORD. "Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished."
9. REGATHERED: God promised to re-gather His chosen people of destiny back to the Promised Land. Ezekiel 36:24, 35 ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”
10. ARMAGEDDON/BUDENSOME STONE: God promised to make His chosen people of destiny a source of fear for the whole world when they get back to the Promised Land in unbelief. God declared that in the last days before the Messiah's second coming, Jerusalem would become "a cup of trembling…a burdensome stone for all people" (Zechariah 12:2,3).
11. THE TEMPLE: God has focused on 40 acres of land: As Solomon built the temple (1200x800 foot Temple Mount), God said: "I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there" (2 Chronicles 6:6). But long before this, God had first spoken through Moses: "There shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD" (Deuteronomy 12:11). Where is ground zero: This place was not just any place in Jerusalem; it was an exact spot, chosen by God. It was on Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1). This was the same spot where Abraham had, almost a thousand years before, prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:2). These 40 acres are only a short distance from Calvary itself. This spot, to the Jews and to God, is Jerusalem! And, amazingly, this one spot is the only spot in Jerusalem still controlled by Gentiles. It is on Mount Moriah that the Arabs have built their famous Dome-of-the-Rock, the second most holy place in the Muslim world. The Jews, for political or other reasons, have not yet dared to expel the Arabs from this site, raze it, and proceed to rebuild their temple, as they surely desire to do. It is apparently by this exceedingly slender thread, therefore, that the "times of the Gentiles" are still suspended.
12. God’s FUTURE PLANS/Millennium: God declared Israel, His Nation, would have a future agenda in God’s plan: In Acts 15 James, the pastor of the First Church of Jerusalem makes an amazing statement. He quotes Amos the prophet, and explains that the Church is only part of God’s future plans, Israel also has a part (Acts 15:14-17).
In this context, we come to a remarkable prophecy made by Jesus Christ:
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
Since the word "fulfilled" is the same word in the Greek as "finished," this prophecy clearly means that the times of Gentile world-rule will be ended when Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile control. But this can only be accomplished when Christ returns to banish the Gentile nations from Jerusalem and to establish His own world-kingdom capital there. Thus, the restoration of Jerusalem to the chosen people is necessarily accompanied by the coming of their Messiah to reign there.
This is also clearly indicated in Zechariah 12-14 as well as other Scriptures