The Book of Revelation (part 34)
May 26, 2021
The Book of Revelation (part 34)
Judgments of the Wicked
In Revelation 20, Jesus has returned, the judgments are completed, and the earth is entering the millennial reign of Christ.
Last time we looked at Revelation 20:1-6:
Revelation 20:1-6 (NKJV)
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 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. 4 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 on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 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.
To begin the millennial reign of Christ, Satan is locked up in a place called the bottomless pit for the duration of Jesus’ reign on earth.
Then, we see those placed in positions of responsibility who also are judges of all fallen angels and who rule with Christ during the Millennium.
We looked at the resurrection of those who came to Christ after the church had been raptured and who died as Christians during the rest of the time of the antiChrist rule of terror. They are part of the first resurrection, along with the believers who experienced the rapture just before the Trumpet judgments and the wrath of God began.
Revelation 20:7-8 (NKJV)
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and 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.
The one-thousand year incarceration in the bottomless pit has not changed Satan’s character at all. He is a deceiver, and he goes out to deceive those who have been born during the Millennial reign of Christ.
Remember that there are two classes of people on earth during Christ’s Millennial reign: believers in glorified bodies, and natural people with families and children.
The human heart is set on rebellion and wickedness. Even after the influence of Jesus’ 1000 year reign, people will still listen to Satsan the deceiver and resist Jesus’ reign.
Revelation 20:9 (NKJV)
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.
The beloved city here is Jerusalem, and Jesus has ruled the earth for 1000 years from this location.
Isaiah 2:1-4 (NKJV)
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
This rebellion is both quickly and easily defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 39:6 (NKJV)
And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.
(New Spirit-Filled Life Bible Notes (2002))
Satan will be released in the Earth again to deceive. It appears that many who submitted to Christ’s rule during the Millennium did so without inner commitment to His lordship. The final deception of Satan separates these from those who have sincerely submitted. This is the last insurrection that the Lord will tolerate. Satan will next be cast into the lake of fire and tormented . . . forever.
(Understanding the Bible Commentary Series – New Testament Set (18 Vols.))
This is, then, Satan’s final demotion. Why he continues to act in character after his prison term of a thousand years had ended, and why the nations allow Satan to seduce them away from that which could give them shalom, speaks to the very nature of sin. Satan’s ongoing role within salvation’s history, even in defeat, is to force humanity’s ultimate decisions concerning eternal life and death. The Evil One’s mission is to deceive humanity so that it does not choose wisely. One’s free decision to rebel against God or to worship God is the result of certain habits of mind and heart. Recall that the only force used by the rider on the white horse was the sword of his mouth; the only source of power used by his enemy is deception. The spiritual struggle is for the nations’ mind! It is this which explains John’s insistence on repentance—the transformation of the mind—the very thing the nations refused to do—for this is required to change rebellion into devotion. Without it, they are rather easy prey for the deceiver, even though he leads them toward their own destruction.
Revelation 20:10 (NKJV)
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.
Eternal punishment is just that: eternal. The beast and false prophet have been there already for a thousand years. Satan will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
(New Scofield Study Bible Notes)
This fearful being, apparently created one of the cherubim (Ezek. 1:5, note; 28:12, note) and anointed for a position of great authority, perhaps over the primitive creation (Gen. 1:2, note; Ezek. 28:11-15), fell through pride (Isa. 14:12-14). His “I will” (Isa. 14:13) marks the introduction of sin into the universe.
Cast out of heaven (Lk. 10:18), he makes earth and air the scene of his tireless activity (Eph. 2:2; 1 Pet. 5:8). After the creation of man he entered into the serpent (Gen. 3:1, note) and, beguiling Eve by his subtlety, secured the downfall of Adam and through him of the race, and the entrance of sin into the world of men (Rom. 5:12-14).
The Adamic Covenant (Gen. 3:15, note) promised the ultimate defeat of Satan through the “Seed” of the woman. Then began Satan’s long warfare against the work of God on behalf of humanity, which still continues. The present world system (Rev. 13:8), organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure, is his work and was the bribe which he offered to Christ (Mt. 4:8-9). Of that world system he is ruler (Jn. 14:30; 16:11), and god (2 Cor. 4:4).
As “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) he is at the head of a vast host of demons (Mt. 7:22, note). To him, under God, was committed upon earth the power of death (Heb. 2:14). Cast out of heaven as his proper sphere and “position of authority,” he still has access to God as the “accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10) and is permitted a certain power of sifting or testing the self-confident and carnal among believers (Job 1:6-11; Lk. 22:31-32; 1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:20); but this is a strictly permissive and limited power, and believers so sifted are kept in faith through the advocacy of Christ (Lk. 22:31-32; 1 Jn. 2:1, note).
At the beginning of the great tribulation Satan’s privilege of access to God as accuser will be withdrawn (Rev. 12:7-12). At the return of Christ in glory Satan will be bound for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:2), after which he will be “released for a little while” (Rev. 20:3,7-8) and will become the head of a final effort to overthrow the kingdom. Defeated in this, he will be cast into the lake of fire, his final doom. The notion that he reigns in hell is not biblical. He is ruler of this present world system but will be tormented in the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:11 (NKJV)
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
(Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Study Bible Notes)
The phrase “great white throne” emphasizes God’s purity and holiness in judging and His sovereign right to both rule and judge the earth. The phrases “earth and heaven fled” and “no place was found for them” apparently refer to “the first heaven and the first earth” giving way at the final judgment to “a new heaven and a new earth” (21:1).
Revelation 20:12 (NKJV)
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
No Christians are here. Believers are never referred to as “the dead.”
Luke 20:34-38 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”
There are two books opened during this judgment. First is the Book of Life to see if anyone present had their name in that book.
Revelation 13:8 (NKJV)
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 17:8 (NKJV)
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Daniel 12:1 (NKJV)
At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.
The other book opened is the Book of Works. This book contains all of the lifetime activities of those who trust their own human works to save them.
Hebrews 9:27-28 (NLT)
And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Notice the references to our works being known:
Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
Proverbs 5:21 (NLT)
For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.
Proverbs 15:3 (NLT)
The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.
Psalm 62:12 (NKJV)
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.
Proverbs 24:12 (NKJV)
If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
Jeremiah 17:10 (NKJV)
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
Jeremiah 32:19 (NLT)
You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve.
Ezekiel 18:30 (NLT)
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God.”Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.”
Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
1 Peter 1:17 (NKJV)
And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
For us Christians, we stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ. We will not be here.
Notice the scripture referencing the Judgment Seat of Christ:
2 Corinthians 5:10 (AMP)
For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].
Romans 14:10-12 (NKJV)
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 (NLT)
For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
Revelation 20:13 (NKJV)
The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
Since those without Christ expect their good works to keep them out of hell, they are judged by the standard of their works, and not by the standard of the righteousness that Jesus had available for them, since they did not accept Jesus’ free gift of righteousness.
Revelation 20:14-15 (NKJV)
Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
By the standard of Christ’s righteous work for us in His death and resurrection, those who refuse His free gift must be sent to an eternal place that fits their way of living.
Revelation 1:18 (NKJV)
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Hell and the Lake of Fire are literal and real places, and are eternal places for those without Christ.