I. THE LAST REBELLION OF MANKIND
A. Satan Loosed out of His Prison
Verse 7 says, “And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be loosed out of his prison.” The abyss will simply be a temporary prison. As we have seen, after the thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison and used by God to test mankind.
B. Satan Deceiving the Nations
to Rebel Against God
Verse 8 says that Satan “shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to war, whose number is as the sand of the sea.” The nations will go up “over the breadth of the earth” and surround “the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (v. 9). Here we see that Satan will deceive the nations to rebel against God. It is difficult to believe that after the pleasant, thousand-year period, so many among the nations will rebel against God and go to war against Him. Nevertheless, it will be so. This war will be the last war on earth, the last rebellion of mankind. Although mankind will be restored for one thousand years, his rebellious nature will still remain. It will be exposed by Satan’s last instigation and it will be purged away by the Lord’s final judgment on mankind.
According to Ezekiel 38:2-3 and 39:1-2, Gog and Magog must be Russia. Ezekiel 38:2 (ASV) indicates that Gog and Magog are of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, answering to Russia, Moscow, and Tobolsk. Ezekiel 39:2 (ASV) refers to these places as “the uttermost parts of the north.” What is mentioned concerning Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 will occur before the millennium, whereas the record concerning them in Revelation 20 will transpire after the millennium. Revelation 20:8 shows that Satan’s deceiving of the nations which are in the four corners of the earth is his deceiving of Gog and Magog. This may indicate that in the last rebellion of mankind against God, Gog and Magog will take the lead and that the nations will follow.
Notice that Satan will “deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog.” According to this verse, Gog and Magog equal the nations in the four corners of the earth. But are Gog and Magog actually the nations in the four corners of the earth? No. Therefore, this must indicate that Gog and Magog will take the lead among the nations to rebel against God under Satan’s instigation. Consider today’s world situation. All the communist countries are under the influence or control of Russia, that is, under Gog and Magog. When Satan instigates Gog and Magog to rebel, he will actually instigate the nations in the four corners of the earth to rebel, for all the communist countries will follow Russia. Thus, this verse indicates that, due to her powerful influence, Russia, a leading nation, will affect the other nations and lead them in rebellion. Because man’s rebellious nature is so deeply rooted in his being, it will still be present even after the thousand years. In which part of the earth are people the most rebellious against God? The answer certainly is Russia. The Bible does not leave us in ignorance regarding this matter. If we read the Bible carefully in the light of today’s world situation, we shall worship God. The Bible clearly indicates that the source of mankind’s rebellion is in the uttermost part of the north, in the land of Gog and Magog, in Russia. The thought of rebellion against God is deeply rooted in the people in this part of the earth.
I believe that this part of the earth is what the book of Revelation calls “the third part” (8:7). Fifty years ago I became familiar with the biblical prophecies, but I did not see the fulfillment of very many of them. But today a number of prophecies have been fulfilled already. Perhaps after a short while, many more prophecies will also be fulfilled. According to my study of biblical prophecy, the earth today does have a part, the third part, that is very dark. Even after the thousand years the people in this part of the earth will join Satan to rebel against God. The number of those who rebel against God will be “as the sand of the sea.” What country can raise such a large number of people? Certainly the answer is Russia and the communist countries under her influence. The communist countries have a way to stir up people, and they will gather their people together for this last war.
Verse 9 says that the nations will surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city. The camp of the saints is the lodging of the overcoming believers, who are the heavenly armies (19:14) camping on earth. We, the heavenly armies, will be there camping, and the nations under the influence of Gog and Magog will attack us. The beloved city is the city of Jerusalem, the dwelling place of the remnant of Israel. The overcoming believers and the remnant of Israel will be God’s faithful people on earth in the millennium, standing with God and for God. At the end of the millennium, Satan will instigate rebellious mankind from the uttermost parts of the north to attack them. How Satan will hate these two places, the camp of the saints and the beloved city! However, fire will come down out of heaven and devour the rebels. Praise the Lord, He will easily defeat this attack!
C. Satan Being Cast into the Lake of Fire
Verse 10 says, “And the Devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where also the beast and the false prophet were; and they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” The lake of fire is prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). However, the beast, the false prophet, and the “goats” in Matthew 25 will be cast into it a thousand years earlier than the Devil (19:20). After the thousand years, the Devil will be cast there also. After the millennium, the rebellious nature of mankind will be thoroughly purged, and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire.
Not all the nations will participate in the last rebellion. Those citizens of the millennial kingdom who do not rebel against God will be transferred into the new heaven and the new earth to become the nations there. Revelation 21:24-27 speaks of the nations around the New Jerusalem. These nations will be fully purged of their rebellious nature. What a great clearance this will be! At the end of the millennium the immaturity of God’s people will be eliminated, the rebellious nature of mankind will be purged, and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. Only the unbelieving dead, death and Hades, and the demons will still need to be dealt with. This will take place at the great white throne.
II. THE JUDGMENT AT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
A. A Great White Throne Signifying That
the Judgment of the Lord There Is Righteous
Verse 11 says, “And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” White here signifies righteousness, indicating that the Lord’s great throne for His judgment is righteous.
B. The One Sitting upon the Throne
Christ is the One sitting upon the great white throne. The “Him” in verse 11 must be the Lord Jesus. God the Father “has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22) and has ordained Him to be the Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim. 4:1; Rom. 2:16). Matthew 25:31-46 speaks of the Lord as the Judge of the living before the millennium. Here, the Lord is the Judge of the dead after the millennium.
C. The Earth and Heaven Fleeing Away
Verse 11 says that earth and heaven will flee away from the face of the One on the throne and that no place will be found for them. The old heavens and the old earth will be changed (Heb. 1:11-12). The old heavens will pass away, the elements will melt, and the earth will be burned up (2 Pet. 3:10).
D. The Dead Unbelievers Being Judged
Verse 12 says, “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by the things which were written in the books, according to their works.” The word standing here indicates that the dead have been resurrected. This is the resurrection of the unbelievers, the resurrection of judgment, after the millennium (John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:23-24). The unbelieving dead will be judged by the things written in the books, or scrolls (Gk.). These scrolls are the record of the works, the deeds, of the unbelievers, according to which they will be judged. The other book that is open, the book of life, is the record of the names of the believers (13:8; 17:8; Luke 10:20). The unbelievers will be judged by the things written in the books, according to their works. All they have said and done is written in these scrolls. In Matthew 12:36 the Lord Jesus said, “And I say to you that every idle word which men shall speak, they shall render account concerning it in the day of judgment.” Every idle word is recorded. The universal tape recorder records every word men say. At the great white throne the scrolls will be opened, and the Lord will say to the unbelieving dead, “This is what you have said, and this is what you have done.” Every mouth will be shut. God is God; He will take care of everyone.
E. The Demons Being Judged
Verse 13 says that “the sea gave up the dead which were in it.” Since the dead unbelievers who were drowned in the sea are included among those in Hades, the dead given up by the sea must not be any unbelieving human beings; they may be the spirits of the living beings of the pre-Adamic age, the demons in this age (Matt. 8:31-32; 12:43). This may indicate that today’s demons will be judged at the great white throne along with the unbelieving human beings.
You may be shocked to hear that not only human beings but also demons will be judged at the great white throne. Again I say that it is not a simple matter to know the Bible. Most Christian readers think that the dead given up by the sea are those drowned in the sea. But those who drowned in the sea are certainly included among those given up by death and Hades. Notice that verse 13 also says, “And death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them.” By this we see that the dead given up by the sea must be another category of beings. In message two in our life-study of Genesis we pointed out that in the pre-Adamic age there were some living beings with spirits. After God’s judgment upon Satan and those who followed him in his rebellion, these beings became demons, and the sea became their dwelling place. For this reason, the demons caused the swine to rush into the sea (Matt. 8:31-32). Thus, the sea will give up all the demons, who will then be judged at the great white throne.
F. Death and Hades
Being Cast into the Lake of Fire
Verse 14 says, “And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” The lake of fire is the “trash can” for the entire universe, into which all negative things, including death and Hades, will be cast. Death will be the last enemy destroyed by the Lord (1 Cor. 15:26).
In the first death, the soul and spirit are separated from the body and, in the case of the unbelievers, are kept in the suffering section of Hades (Luke 16:22-24). In the second death, the soul and spirit of the unbelievers, after being rejoined to the body in resurrection, will be cast with the body into the lake of fire. This means that an unbeliever’s whole being—spirit, soul, and body—will perish in eternal torment in the lake of fire.
G. Anyone Not Found in the Book of Life
Being Cast into the Lake of Fire
Verse 15 says, “And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.” The perishing unbelievers will be judged according to the books, which are a record of their works (vv. 12-13), but they will be cast into the lake of fire according to the book of life. This indicates that they are condemned by the Lord because of their evil deeds, but they perish because of their unbelief, not having their names written in the book of life. Not believing in the Lord Jesus is the unique sin that causes people to perish (John 16:9). The lake of fire is prepared for the Devil and his angels. Since the unbelievers have followed the Devil, they share the Devil’s judgment (John 16:11) and will become joint-partakers of the Devil’s eternal torment. The demons, also having followed the Devil, will share the same destiny.
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