The Revelation of Hope
Introduction – In this Session we will complete Revelation 20 and continue our study of the nature of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ from the postmillennial view point. We will also look at sure and pending doom of satan, and Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the age.
Our introduction to Revelation 20 was very lengthy and detailed, so we will move straight to the text. See the Revelation 20:1-3 Session for a recap of the introduction.
a) “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had authority to judge” – Those who are on the thrones, who have authority to judge is a picture of the Church in her identity ruling and reigning with Jesus and enforcing the gospel of the kingdom. See the verses below.
b) 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
c) Revelation 2:26 – ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;
d) Ephesians 3:10 – so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
e) Ephesians 1:20 says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and Ephesians 2:6 says “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”
f) We can see from these Scriptures that the Church has been given identity and the authority to judge the works of darkness by our authority in Jesus Christ. The ones on the thrones and judging is the Church in walking out her identity in salvation history.
g) Those who chose not to worship the beast or take his mark refer the First Century Christians that did not compromise their faith in persecution during the reigns of Nero to Constantine. We must refer back to chapter 13 that identifies the generic beast, the Roman Empire and the specific beast Nero (666). Refer to the Roman Agora of the First Century for a detailed explanation of the mark of the beast.
h) Those who have been beheaded references the martyrs from John the Baptist, to Paul, and includes all of the faithful martyrs of the Church until the return of Christ.
i) Reigning with Christ 1000 years is symbolic of the Messianic age as the Body of Christ enforces the rule and reign of Jesus Christ as we fulfill the Matthew 28 mandate to preach a global gospel. See Mark 16:17-18.
j) David Chilton – “Does this reign of the saints take place in heaven or on earth? The answer should be obvious: both! The saints’ thrones are in heaven, with Christ (Eph. 2:6); yet, with their Lord, they exercise rule and dominion on earth (cf. 2:26-27; 5:10; 11:15). Those who reign with Christ in His Kingdom are all those whom He has redeemed, the whole Communion of Saints, whether they are now living or dead (including Old Covenant believers). In His Ascension, Jesus Christ brought us all to the Throne.”
a) The rest of the dead refers to the whole number of the unfaithful from Eden to the Return of Jesus Christ. They do not experience the life of God, and are raised from the dead to a resurrection of judgment and then experience the second death, which is everlasting/eternal separation from God in hell as symbolized by the lake of fire in Revelation 20:13-15.
b) Jesus spoke about hell being an everlasting state of fire in Matthew 9:43. When we speak of hell being an everlasting fire, we must recognize that there are multiple concepts in interpreting the nature of hell. The Scriptures actually say very little about the nature of hell, other than it is described as darkness, fire and eternal. It is my opinion that hell is a spiritual realm devoid of God, and the fire, and darkness being the descriptive of that eternal state of being.
c) John contrasts the second death to the first resurrection. The first resurrection is connected to the millennial reign of Jesus and His Church. We must ask 3 questions. What is the first resurrection? What does “those who have part” in the first resurrection mean? What does “coming to life” mean?
d) All questions can be answered by allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. Let’s look at what Scripture has to say about coming to life and resurrection.
e) Matthew 8:22 – But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
f) John 3:3 – Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
g) Luke 15:24 – But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ – Parable of the Prodigal
h) Ephesians 2:5 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
i) Colossians 2:13 – When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
j) 1 Timothy 5:6 – But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.
k) 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! l) Romans 6:4 – We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
m) To summarize, we can see clearly that the First Resurrection describes being delivered from spiritual death, and being made alive in Christ. To further this point we can see that we are presently priests of God as the redeemed, and we are co-laboring with Jesus in His resurrection power as we preach the gospel.
The second death will not hurt us. The first death was in Eden and refers to the dead state of the human spirit that is not redeemed. The second death is the death of eternal judgment. Those who know Jesus Christ do not die, but live eternally. The unrighteous exist in a conscious eternal state of death and exist eternally devoid of the life of God. See Revelation 20:10. In addition to this Scripture teaches 1 spiritual resurrection of the believer and 1 bodily resurrection of all. See 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4 -5, and Revelation 20:11-15 for bodily resurrection details.
a) Verses 7-10 point our attention to Ezekiel 38-39. In order to understand verses 710 we will allow the Ezekiel 38-39 template interpret the doom of satan according to the Gog/Magog symbolism found in the text.
b) Context of Gog and Magog – So much has been said about the identity of Gog and Magog that is completely out of context and has caused the Body of Christ to even correlate Russia to Gog and Magog during its Communistic stage of history. Now Russia is experiencing a Christian Orthodox revival and even their President is a confessing Orthodox Christian having converted recently to Orthodox Christianity. Another premillennial inconsistency I want to point out is that this battle comes after the Millennial Reign of Christ and His Church. The premillennial Left Behind narrative places the battle before the Millennial Reign.
c) Gog defined in Scripture – Gog is a person who is a Prince. See Ezekiel 38:2-3. Gog in history is Modern Day Turkey. Magog means land of Gog. This prince was allied with the traditional enemies Israel in Ezekiel 38 and was part of a confederation of armies to destroy Israel. Ezekiel 38-39 is the prophecy of their swift impending doom by the direct Sovereign intervention by the Lord. Their weapons will be used to kindle the fire that utterly destroys them. The army of Gog is described as a vast army similar to the army in described in Revelation 20:7-10 and their destruction parallels Ezekiel 38-39.
d) The clear message of the Revelation 20:7-10 contrast to Ezekiel 38-39 is that just as the historical Gog and his vast army seemed united in the destruction of God’s people, God destroyed them by intervening supernaturally; in a similar way the destruction of satan and all of those allied with him against God’s people will meet the same fate.
e) The camp of God’s people is an allusion to the City of David. This is symbolizes all believers contained the Body of Christ. Christians believe that the Church is the Temple of the Living God, with Christ as its Head, and that we are inhabited as a dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
f) Romans 2:29 – But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. g) Ephesians 2:19 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,
h) Galatians 3:7 – Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
i) Ephesians 2:22 – in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God
in the Spirit.
j) We must mention the parable of the Wheat and Tares which teaches that all of humanity will not be converted by the Church, but the Church will co-exist with the unbelieving. By implication in the parable there is more wheat than tares. The Postmillennial view of the advancing kingdom of God never holds to a universal salvation of humanity. What is being presented in Revelation 20:7-10 is that at some time in salvation history, God will consolidate believers and unbelievers in their hearts and the contrast between them will be strikingly evident. At the end of salvation history there will be one last attempt by satan to harm those who love God. But just like Ezekiel’s prophecy template, no harm will come to God’s people because they are defeated in an instant and sentenced to an eternal hell. Lastly the mention of the beast and false prophet refer to the First Century Roman Empire and unbelieving Jerusalem which had become a false prophet the minute it rejected the Messianic message of Jesus Christ and taught a covenant that had been put away by God. The whole of those who reject Jesus in every age have the same fate as the beast and the false prophet.
a) Verses 11-15 gives the crescendo account of the end of human history and the end of the New Covenant Kingdom Age. Jesus is now seated on the throne as the Mediatorial Judge of all.
b) Matthew 25:31-32 – “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
c) John 5:27 – and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
d) Acts 10:42 – “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
e) Philippians 2:10 – so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, f) 2 Timothy 4:1 – I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
g) Nicene Creed – He ascended into heaven, And sits on the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end.
h) Nothing is hidden from the gaze of our Lord Jesus Christ at His appearing. At His return those who are alive in Him will marvel at His glory and beauty. Those who rejected Him will give an account for their lives. No one can stand and trust in their own works and be held innocent for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The second death does not hurt the believer because we are covered by His grace. Those who do not believe will be condemned to an eternal judgment. It is important to note that hell was not made for mankind, but the devil and demons. Unbelieving humanity ends up there because of the choice to reject
grave and love. Matt 25:41 – “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
Questions and Answer Time:
Source Material: Harold Eberle – Father-Son Theology, a Systematic Theology Christian-History.org Don Walker – The Beast of Revelation White Paper Josephus.org David Chilton – Days of Vengeance The Apocalypse Code – Hank Hanegraaff G. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ Blue Letter Bible.com Preterist Archive.com Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom Loraine Boettner – The Millenium Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology Holman Bible Dictionary Strongs Concordance NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament Jonathan Welton – Raptureless George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem Wikipedia Rapture Fever – Gary North The Prophets Dictionary – Price Vines Expository Bible Dictionary Wayne Grudem – Systematic Theology