A Most Dreadful Scene Revelation 20:7-15

Penny Frantz
This entry is part 39 of 39 in the series Revelation

434345Vs 7    When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison

 There is every reason to believe that this is a literal 1000 years and not a symbolic time period. When a specific number has been given in Revelation it means that number. For instance 144,000 means exactly that. When it gives an indefinite reference such as the sand of the seashore it means a multitude. So Satan has been in the Abyss for a 1000 years and his nature has not changed. He is incapable of repenting. If anything he has become more determined and fiercer than ever. His anger toward God has magnified. Also it should be noted that a host of other demons are sent to the Abyss with him. They are not roaming the earth to do his bidding during this 1000 year period. Now for a short season (again no specific number) he will be released.

 Vs 8    and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle.  In number they are like the sand on the seashore.

 He comes bucking out of the gates ready to destroy whatever and whomever he can. The world has been a peace with Christ reigning on earth. The world is populated by the raptured believers, those who died in belief prior to the rapture, the redeemed of Israel and those believers who survived the tribulation period.  For those mortals who were alive at the return of Christ they will marry and have children. Those children will grow and have more children. Each successive generation will be made up of sinners in need of salvation. Now the immortal will never sin but those who are born during this period still have a sin nature for they are mortal. It is those people whom Satan will be able to deceive. It seems hard to imagine that mankind will choose sin while living in the reign of Christ on earth, it will happen. Sin is rooted in the heart and all come to true salvation by choosing Christ. These people still have a choice to make. Sadly many will join forces with Satan as he prepares another attack. The four corners of the earth is simply the whole earth, north, east, south and west. John gives these enemies the symbolic names of Gog and Magog. Gog in scripture is a general title for an enemy of God’s people. Magog is believed to be a term of the sinful rebels from all the nations who will gather together for a final war against Christ. Note that Ezekiel 38 & 39 describes Gog as the Antichrist of the tribulation. So this reference shows that Satan has not changed at all and goes back to his original tactics.

 Vs 9    They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.  But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

 This unholy alliance head for the heart. They go straight to Jerusalem, the city He loves. That is where Jesus is reining and He is surrounded by those who love Him and reign with Him. People who love Jesus always go where Jesus is. The topography of the world has been vastly changed since the tribulation. But God stops them in their tracks. There is nothing to fear for those who love God.  Psalm 34:7 says “the angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him.” He circles us in His protection. God sends fire from heaven and instantly devours the evil army. Their end is swift and complete.

 Vs 10    And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

 The devil is cast into the lake of fire – hell. The beast (antichrist) and the false prophet had already been there 1000 years so this puts an end to those who think you do only a ‘time’ in hell. Satan is cast there and will remain there forever.  They are tormented day and night. It is a place of fire, of darkness, of utter aloneness, and torment.  It is physical torment and it is mental torment.  They will never be released or relieved.

 Believers are already citizens of heaven. They will not be touched by this final onslaught of Satan. They are in the blessed presence and protection of the King of Kings.  A glorious future inheritance awaits them that is imperishable and undefiled that will not fade away (1 Peter 1:4).

 Vs 11    Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it.  Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them.

 The courtroom scene of the Judge of all creation unfolds. It has been said that after this judgment God will take off His judge robe because there will be no more need to judge. Great means huge in size and significance. It is great in authority and power and great in majesty. White is for the holiness and purity of the One who occupies it. The righteousness of God will be so manifest that it will be brilliant. Earth and sky flee from such purity and holiness. Acts 10:42 describes the the one who judges as Jesus: “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” John 5:22 says “Not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.” Jesus is sitting as the Judge as the accused are brought forth. For those who had received Him in salvation He was our Advocate and Defender now to those who have refused so great a salvation He sits as Judge.  Although the earth has been brought back to its pre-curse days, it still has been tainted with sin and therefore must flee in the presence of the One who has come to judge.

 2 Peter 3:11-13:  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 

 Barnhouse comments “There is to be an end of the material heavens and earth which we know. It is not that they are to be purified and rehabilitated, but that the reverse of creation is to take place. There are to be uncreated. As they this same word of God.”  (Revelation:  An Expository Commentary).

 MacArthur says this will be the uncreation. The reversal of what was created.  2 Peter 3:10-12:  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”  Interestingly that word ‘roar’ is a word that sounds like what it means. There will be a swooshing, rushing, crackling mega sound as the earth burns into nothingness.  The word ‘destroyed’ means dissolved. Genesis tells us He created everything with His Word.  Evolution is a myth and a lie from the pit. God created the atom, and time, and mass, and motion, and space and everything. He will also in Revelation destroy it with His Word. Creation will implode in His holiness.

 Vs 12  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

 Somewhere in the void God will call the dead before Him at this Great White Throne Judgment. The dead are those who have died as unbelievers. These are the ones throughout all of history who have not received His offer of salvation.  There will be great men and women of history standing there, there will be ordinary folk there, there will be neighbors, families, friends and enemies all standing before the throne.

 Listen to this quote from John Phillips:

 There is a terrible fellowship there… The dead, small and great, stand before God. Dead souls are united to dead bodies in a fellowship of horror and despair. Little men and paltry women whose lives were filled with pettiness, selfishness, and nasty little sins will be there.  Those whose lives amounted to nothing will be there, whose very sins were drab and dowdy, mean, spiteful, peevish, groveling, vulgar, common and cheap. The great will be there, men who sinned with a high hand, with dash, and courage and flair. Men like Alexander and Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin will be present, men who went in for wickedness on a grand scale with the world for their stage and who died unrepentant at last. Now one and all are arraigned and on their way to be damned: a horrible fellowship congregated together for the first and last time. (from Exploring Revelation).

 No believer will be present at this judgment.  Romans 8:1 “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  John 5:24 “They have eternal life and do not come into judgment but have passed out of death into life.”  John 3:18 “everyone who believes in Him is not judged.” 

 Books are opened. These books are the deeds, words, thoughts of all of them.  Everything thing they ever did or said or thought. God is a meticulous record keeper. Nothing has ever escaped His sight. And it will all be open. Then another book will be open and is the book of life. In this book are the recorded names of the citizens of heaven. These are the ones redeemed by the Lamb.

Vs 13  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

 Before the earth is burned up, as the dead are called forth, those who died at sea are brought up in a resurrected body. Not a sinless body but one fashioned for hell. Those who died in the great flood in Noah’s day are there, those lost on the Titanic, the Arizona, and everyone who ever perished at sea or was buried at sea are brought up. Those who have been buried in the ground or cremated, those who were buried by volcanoes such as Pompeii, avalanches, tidal waves, those who died without Christ. Hades is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word sheol. It is the realm of the dead and always in reference to the place of punishment where the unrighteous dead are kept pending their sentencing to hell. Each person is judged by what they had done. They have no defense, no lawyer, and no excuse. The sinners deeds are will be measured against God’s holy standards. Every thought, word and deed will be recorded and brought forth. There will be no excuses, no one to blame, nowhere to hide. The balance will not be in their favor.

 Vs 14  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

 All receive their just punishment against the backdrop of such holiness. They are thrown in the lake of fire. Thrown because no one will willing jump in. Some will be absolute shock and horror and will cry out “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” and He will say “I ever knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness” Matt 7:22. Such grace that was missed, such grace that was ignored, such grace that was refused.

 Vs 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

 Once your name is written in the book of life you are eternally secure. You will not face the white throne judgment. However, for those whose names are not found in it, they are thrown into the lake of fire – hell – forever and ever and ever.

 For those who know Christ as Savior, these verse should ignite us all the more to reach out to a lost and dying world.  It should also cause our hearts to bow in complete humility and reverence and love for the One who took our ugly sin and bore the judgment for it on the cross so that we would never know that weight.  What kind of people ought we to be?  Holy and godly – loving Him and serving Him all the days of our life.

Series NavigationBehold I Make All Things New Revelation 21:1-8

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