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Thursday, November 22 2012

Introduction:

After the fall of Babylon, we looked at how John heard what was like a roar of many peole praising God in an apparent response to the judgement of Babylon. Then, there was the praise anticipating the second coming of Christ (Rev. 19:6-8). We learnt that our worship is only meant to be directed to God and not to angels. It is also instructive to pay attention to the way Christ was decribed: Faithful and True - As believers, we must not live below such standard. Finally, we saw the destruction of the wicked, where the armies of the earth are no match with the armies from heaven. The judgement of God on the wicked is as certain as His grace which is available to save all who believe. Today, we will look at the Millennial reign of Christ and the judgement of the great white throne.

 

Satan Bound (vs 1-3)

 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

First it is very interesting to see that Satan is not God's peer or equivalent as he would always have people to believe. As we have consistently seen in this book of revelation that it is an angel of God who handles the devil (Satan) all the times. Satan is not God's rival!

The Millennial Reign of Christ (vs 4-6)

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Vs 4 talks about a particular set of martyred dead and John's description shows that they are given resurrected bodies since he could see them. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Lesson for us: Whatever a man does for the Lord, there is always a ?payday' (reward). I Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Vs 5 informs us that the rest of the dead did not come to life until after a thousand years, implying the resurrection of the wicked dead as we will see in vs 11-15.

First resurrection: I will align with the description of the Bible Knowledge commentary with describes it as follows: It should be obvious, however, that in no sense could this be the number- one resurrection chronologically because historically Christ was the first to rise from the dead with a transformed, resurrected body. There was also the resurrection "of many" (Matt. 27: 52- 53) which took place when Christ resurrected. In what sense then can this resurrection in Revelation 20: 5 be "first"? As the context which follows indicates, "the first resurrection" (vv. 5- 6) contrasts with the last resurrection (vv. 12- 13), which is followed by "the second death" (vv. 6, 14). It is first in the sense of before. All the righteous, regardless of when they are raised, take part in the resurrection which is first or before the final resurrection (of the wicked dead) at the end of the Millennium. This supports the conclusion that the resurrection of the righteous is by stages. Christ was "the Firstfruits" (1 Cor. 15: 23), which was preceded by the token resurrection of a number of saints (Matt. 27: 52- 53). Then will occur the Rapture of the church, which will include the resurrection of dead church saints and the translation of living church saints (1 Thes. 4: 13- 18). The resurrection of the two witnesses will occur in the Great Tribulation (Rev. 11: 3, 11). Then the resurrection of the martyred dead of the Great Tribulation will occur soon after Christ returns to earth (20: 4- 5). To these may be added the resurrection of Old Testament saints which apparently will also occur at this time, though it is not mentioned in this text (cf. Isa. 26: 19- 21; Ezek. 37: 12- 14; Dan. 12: 2- 3).

Vs 6: There is not much detail of what will happen during this millennial reign of Christ but indeed it will be a time of great blessing

Satan's final ruin (Vs 7-10)

7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Satan was released from the prison but being Satan he unrepentantly went and deceived nations to gather them for battle again. Isn't that funny given all the battle he had lost since the beginning of the book of revelation? Why is the term Gog and Magog used? It is not explained by John but in Ezekiel 38 Gog was described as the ruler and Magog was the people, and both were in rebellion against God and were enemies of Israel. The result of such battle can be predicted apriori as we have seen in many preceding incidences: Fire came down from heaven and devoured Satan's followers while he was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur.

The Great White throne Judgment

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The One who sat on the great white throne caused the earth and heaven to flee from His presence but they found no place to hide. He'd come to judge the dead (both the small and the great). Many bible scholars believe that this judgment will be for the wicked dead since all the righteous dead have been raised including Old Testament saints, the dead of the Great Tribulation, and the church saints, the body of Christ. Indeed since these dead have not been raised is an indication that they do not have eternal life so their judgment is the judgment of works.

Whether Christians or non-Christians, our works will be tested: 1 Cor. 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. So we must pay attention to what we do!!!

Conclusion

I will conclude with these words from BK Commentary: Though many have attempted to find some scriptural way to avoid the doctrine of eternal punishment, as far as biblical revelation is concerned there are only two destinies for human souls; one is to be with the Lord and the other is to be forever separated from God in the lake of fire. This solemn fact is motivation for carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth whatever the cost, and doing everything possible to inform and challenge people to receive Christ before it is too late.

 

Contributor: Akin Akande

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 22 2012

Introduction

In the last study, John was shown an expanded explanation of the judgment of Babylon he is now about to see the coronation and marriage of the Lamb of God in heaven as well as the beginning of the end. In this study, we will experience the joy and jubilation and praise of God by the saints over the judgment of Babylon as well as at the celebration wedding and the feast that occurs afterwards. And then step straight out of the merriment into the final battle!

 

Verses 1-3:

 

" 1  And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2  For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.3  And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up forever and ever."

 

A Great Voice of much people in heaven . . . true and righteous are His judgments: The outburst of praise (from verse 1) rests upon the fact that the judgments of God - specifically, his judgment of the great harlot - are true and righteous (from verse 2) Also pay attention to the contents of the call to praise the Lord: Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; ascribing to God attributes, which He alone has.

We know of coal mines that continue to burn underground for scores of years so this is not out the realm of natural possibilities. The smoke of the great whore continues to rise eternally even after the thousand years, when all that are identified with her are judged at the great white throne judgment and cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:11 - Rev 20:15).

 

 Verses 4-6:

 

"4  And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5  And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.6  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

 

Once again, we see the twenty-four elders and the four beasts that surround the throne of God worshipping Him, saying "Amen; Alleluia". (If the word amen is used prior to any discourse - in this case the word alleluia - the word amen means "truly" or "surely". If the word were used after any discourse, the word amen would mean "so be it" or "even so". The word alleluia  means "praise the Lord". Therefore, the words "Amen; Alleluia" in the context of verse 4 indicate that the twenty-four elders say, "truly, we praise you Lord".)

 

Verses 7-8

"7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."

 

These spells out the purpose of God's eternal plan - the marriage of the Lamb purposed from the foundation of the world. The bride of Christ is now a wife and she is ready to be joined with Jesus and be one forever. The wife is ready because she was adorned with gifts at the judgment.

 

The Linen could be referred to both the "righteousness of the saints" (that comes through the blood of Jesus) and the "righteous acts of the saints" (that comes through the Holy Spirit working in believers). It is important that we realize that both are essential. Our righteous acts mean nothing without the righteousness given by Christ. So we should do away with the erroneous belief that once this righteousness is given to us we don't have to live a righteous life anymore. Both are very important in our walk with God

 

Verses 9-10

 

"9  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

 

 John was so awed by the angel that showed him these things that he fell down to worship him. In contrast to Satan who demands worship, the angels of God will not allow anyone to worship them. All worship is to be directed to God. The angel told John that Jesus is the fulfillment of all God given prophecy; worship Him alone. The angel links himself with John by calling himself a fellow servant with you.  There are important differences between angels and men, but the really significant thing is that they are both ?servants' of their common Lord. This Angel clearly tells us that Angels are not to be worshipped.

 

INTERLUDE

 

John saw the second coming of Jesus and what will happen to the armies that gather against the Lord at Megiddo. Chapter 16 told us all the armies of the world will be assembled at Megiddo against the Lord. Then chapter 17 gave us the mystery of the woman that rides the Beast and her destruction by the Beast. After that chapter 18 gave us the details about the destruction of the Beast kingdom called "Babylon the Great". Now we pick up again where chapter 16 left off.

 

The seventh vial was already poured out and destruction came on all cities of the world and Babylon was completely destroyed. However, the Beast and False Prophet were not in Babylon when it was destroyed. They probably got out of town in the plague of darkness at the fifth vial. The armies of the world that destroyed Babylon are deceived by the unclean spirits (demons) that come out of the mouth of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet (Rev 16:13). The armies from the north and the east move to Megiddo in northern Israel where the Beast and False Prophet have relocated. These unclean satanic spirits convince the kings of all the nations and armies of the world to oppose Jesus when He comes.

 

Verses 11-16

 

"11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. "14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

"

 

There is no doubt about the identity of the Person on this white horse. There had been another rider of a white horse (as we see in chapter six) but he only wears a single conquerors reef called in the Greek "stephanos", Jesus comes wearing "many" golden crowns of royalty. The Greek word for crowns used here is "diadems". The Son of God is known by many names in the scriptures but the name the Word of God (1st John 2:14 and in John 1:1) precedes verse 15 "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword". The Word of God is two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)

 

These armies (plural) in verse 14 include all the hosts of heaven, the angels and all who make up the body of Christ. They all come wearing fine linen, white and clean. This indicates that all of their sins have been removed and they have on the righteousness of Christ. 

 

 Verses 17-19

 

"17  And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;18  That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.19  And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

 

 

The so called battle of Armageddon really is not a battle at all. It is a slaughter of all of the enemies of God on earth. All the armies of the world are gathered against Jesus and His saints by Satan and by his lying spirits. The armies gathered by Satan will all end up being food for the vultures. Lying spirits come out of the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet to deceive the whole world and the armies that destroy Babylon. These lying spirits somehow convince the kings of the earth to move all their armies against Jerusalem. The real question is why would the world dare to fight against the God of heaven? The answer might be that the lying spirits somehow manage to convince the kings of the earth that the God of Heaven is not almighty and can also be stopped from setting up His kingdom on earth by enough military force (like the counterfeit kingdom of god at Babylon was at least partly overthrown by worldly military force). When these armies fight against the Kingdom of the real God of creation they will all come to their destruction.

 

Verses 20-21

 

"20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."

 

The Antichrist Beast and his False Prophet, who worked miracles by the power of Satan and deceived all who took the mark of the Beast and those that worshipped his image, are taken captive. Just as Satan deceived and took a third of the angels in his rebellion against God, Satan in the Beast and False Prophet will deceive and take a large number of humans in this rebellion against God. Those that follow him do not want the Son of God to rule over them. Notice, there is no real resistance against the real God of creation. The armies are gathered for slaughter because all the forces of Satan and man are no match against the God of creation. I am sure Satan knows this but he hates humanity and God so much that he intends to bring humanity to total destruction. The Beast and False Prophet are judged by Jesus and they are cast alive into the Lake of Fire.

 

Conclusion

At this point, one will think that we have finally come to the end of all the wars and battles and killings. In the next chapter Satan himself will be bound for a thousand years. But the suspense is not entirely over; watch out for yet another twist in the tale!

 

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 11:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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