INDUCTIVE STUDIES ON REVELATION
The Return of Christ
The Final Battle
And the Great Judgment
THE SCRIPTURES (Rev. 20:7-15)
7 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The Great Judgment
11 And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 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 from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
THE FINAL BATTLE (20:7-10)
Here occurs one of the most puzzling scenes in the entire Book of Revelation. First, why in the world would God allow Satan to be unleashed after the 1,000-year reign of Christ is over? Why didn't God just leave him locked up in the abyss or just throw him into the lake of fire the same time He threw in the Antichrist and the False Prophet? Second, where in the world did Satan find this vast army? Hasn't everybody already been resurrected and radically changed to be like Jesus?
Before we take a stab at trying to answer these questions, we must first acknowledge himself that John does not answer these questions. Apparently, he didn't even think about those questions. What he is writing about makes perfect sense to him. Therefore, anything we say must be said with humility--we're not for sure what the answers to those questions are. Having said that, let's take a stab at answering the question.
The answer to the first question to a large degree answers the second question. Too often we blame God for sin in our lives because we don't think that we have a problem. We claim that our environment is what has caused us to sin: bad parents, crummy friends, unhappy circumstances, bad education, etc. If only our environment had been good, we would not have turned out bad.
Well, this passage proves that claim to be false. For 1,000 people live in a perfect environment. They experience perfect health, perfect provision, perfect peace. Yet the moment Satan is released from prison, people join up with him to attack Jesus and His followers. This passage shows us that the problem lies with US, not our environment. Satan's being released shows us once and for all where the problem lies--with us.
Remember that Adam and Eve had a perfect environment with a perfect parent, and yet they still turned out bad. If living under the direct rule of Christ for 1,000 years is not enough to turn somebody to Christ, then nothing will.
Where do these people come from? If we have all been radically changed, then surely we won't follow Satan. Right? That statement assumes something which just might not be true. The following explanation may seem odd; however, 2 things: (1) it's the only explanation I've ever heard which makes sense, (2) don't pooh pooh it until you can come up with a better explanation, or one at least as good.
When Christ returns to the earth (Rev. 19), there are people living on the earth who are not followers of Jesus. Otherwise, whom would Jesus fight at the Battle of Armageddon? Upon Christ's return, not only do Christians enter into the 1,000-year reign of Christ, those who were alive upon the earth at the time of Jesus' return will enter into the kingdom of Christ [otherwise, just whom are Christians going to judge (Rev. 20:4)?]. It is quite likely that these non-Christians were allowed to enter into the kingdom of Christ where they continued to live an ordinary life--but under the kingship of Jesus. At the end of the 1,000-year reign of Christ, there are descendants of these people who present Satan with the opportunity of raising an army against Christ and His followers.
Whatever explanation is the true explanation, Satan is released after the 1,000-year reign of Christ. Christ defeats Satan just as swiftly in this battle as He did in the Battle of Armageddon.
According to v. 8 what are the names of the 2 nations which go to war against Christ and His followers?
In Ezekiel 38:2-3, the first name appears to be that of the ruler and the second name appears to be that of the land from which this ruler comes. Whoever this ruler is and whatever this land is, both come from the north of Israel. For various reasons, many committed Christians believe that these names refer to the land of Russia and its rulers. For this reason, many committed Christians today look very closely at Russia to see what is going on to see if this war is about to take place. The only problem with linking Gog and Magog to Russia is that this battle is not going to take place until AFTER the 1,000-year reign of Christ, whereas our committed Christian friends are claiming that this war could take place at any moment. These committed Christians may be right; however, they have not presented sufficient evidence to support claim.
THE GREAT JUDGMENT (20:11-15)
It is only after the 1,000-year reign of Christ when God has conclusively proved that man is totally responsible for his sin that Christ now comes in judgment. Although John does not specifically say who is doing the judging in these verses, who does he say judges mankind in John 5:22?
According to Paul, we will stand before whose judgment seat (2 Cor. 5:10)?
The fact that He judges from a great white throne has led many to call this The Great White Throne Judgment (of God)?
According to verses 12-13 who is going to be judged on that day?
Does this include you? If not, then where in Revelation does John say you will be judged?
According to v. 14 we are going to be judged on the basis of what?
According to v. 15 what happens to the person whose name is not found written in the Lamb's Book of Life?
This passage has led to some confusion among conservative Christians. Paul claims that we are saved by grace and not by works. And he is right. On the other hand, John here seems to be saying that our works actually do matter at the time of judgment. And he too is right. So how can they both be right? We are saved by grace; however, the grace which saves us is also the grace which changes us. When we are saved by grace and changed, then good works will naturally flow from us. Jesus tells us that the good tree bears good fruit and the bad tree, bad fruit. If we are bearing good fruit/works, then God's saving grace has been operating in our lives in order to change us into good trees--saved trees. If we are not producing good fruit/works, then God's savign grace has not been working in us to produce us into good trees. God does not have 2 different kinds of grace: grace to save us and grace to change us. They are one and the same. The grace which saves us is also the grace which changes us.