Happy New Year to everybody. Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 20 and verse 7. The title of our message is What is Wrong With Us? Part 2. You say wow, that must be a lot wrong with us if we’re doing multiple parts. And as you’re turning there, just a couple of things; Wednesday night Bible Study is kicking off, I want to invite you to come out to that. We’re going to be starting the book of 2 Peter and we just finished a long series Wednesday night on The Kingdom, which I think went a couple of years and I thought we’d better do something short. So I picked 2 Peter because there’s only three chapters in 2 Peter, so that will only take us about 15 years to get through. [laughter]
And as you’re turning there I just want to call your attention to the bulletin, the back page and you see there our giving and our expenses, giving us a pretty large surplus and I think that’s pretty amazing for a church that never passes the plate, the offering plate, to have a surplus like that. We don’t even teach the doctrine of tithing here, we just teach that if God’s Word has blessed you give has purposed in your heart.
And I wanted to say this, not just in front of our local congregation but also online because we have a lot of givers online. I just wanted to pause for a minute and say thank you! I don’t want to ask for anything else. In fact, I was trying to think when was the last time we ever addressed the issue of money from this pulpit and I think it was when I was in the Book of Galatians, chapter 6 and it was appropriate there because there’s a context to support it. But we don’t talk a lot about money and we don’t have any great big plea at the end of the year… help us or we’re going to go out of business because we don’t really think God is broke. Amen. [congregation replies Amen]
And some of the ministries that keep talking about how they are going to go out of business I wish half of them would go out of business. [Laughter] So we just want to stop for a minute and before these numbers disappear from the bulletin I just want us to reflect upon the great things that God is doing through this congregation in terms of its generosity. God’s Word is touching people and people are obviously volitionally responding the way the Bible says with no coercion or to [can’t understand word]. So rather than say give us more what I want to say is THANK YOU. So let me just give you guys a round of applause. [capping]
We continue on today with our study on the Book of Revelation in that huge section of the book where John is told to write down the things that will take place “after these things.” The largest section there is chapters 6-19, the events of the tribulation period which we’ve gone through in depth, the various judgments that will come upon the world through this coming seven year time period.
And now we’re in a section of all of that where we’re no longer talking about the tribulation period itself but the events following the tribulation period. In other words, once Jesus comes back to the earth at the end of that seven year time period what does the Book of Revelation say will transpire? Four things: number one, kingdom. Number two, the great white throne judgment. Number three, the destruction of the present heavens and earth. And number four, the establishment of the new heavens and new earth. You can see all of those things when you locate the second advent there on that chart and move into my right.
So we are in the first of those four major events, something that’s coming to planet earth called the kingdom. And we ought to be interested in it because how did Jesus teach us to pray? “Thy kingdom come!” When the kingdom comes it will be an answer to that long prayed prayer request. And so the kingdom is in Revelation 20:1-10 and it has basically three parts to it. First of all verses 1-3, the great chain. It’s there we are introduced to Satan, verses 1 and 2, and how he is put into a prison, verse 3, for a thousand years.
[Revelation 20:1-10, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;  and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.  Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,  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. 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.  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 second part of that section is the great reign and here is where the saints are resurrected and they rule and reign alongside Jesus Christ for a thousand years; that’s you future, that’s my future, a thousand years with Jesus, can you imagine that? That’s what the world will be like. But then something very tragically happens at the end of that thousand year time period and we move away from the great reign to the great revolt, verses 7-10 which is the section we’re going to look at this morning. So we can take the great revolt and divide it into four parts: the adversary, verse 7, the apostasy, verse 8, the attack, verse 9 and then the final annihilation of Satan, the second half of verse 9 into verse 10.
But first of all notice if you will verse 7, the adversary and notice what it says. It says “When the thousands are completed,” the Greek there is teleō, brought to an end in other words, brought to fullness. “When the thousands are completed, Satan will be released from his prison.” So this is something that will take place once the thousand year kingdom has run its course. And we’ve noticed the fact that Satan, during this time period, is in a different location than his two friends, the beast and the false prophet. You’ll recall that when Jesus Christ returns, Revelation 19:20, Jesus is going to take the beast and the false prophet and throw them into the Lake of Fire. [Revelation 19:20, “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.”] They are the first few inhabitants, if you will, into the Lake of Fire. And you would think they would be thrown into the Lake of Fire as well but he is not thrown into the Lake of Fire. He is incarcerated in a different place, called the abyss, Revelation 20:3 [Revelation 20:3, “and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.”]
And here we discover that after a thousand years God has not forgotten about Satan. Why is that? Because God has one more purpose for Satan to fulfill. And it is wonderful to look at this model of history presented in the Bible and to begin to understand that yes, Satan is a ferocious power but he only exists by the providence of God. In fact, God is so sovereign that He is actually using His arch enemy, Satan himself, to accomplish God’s purposes. You should never get the impression that somehow God has lost control of your life. Things in your life that can be very severe but they are all there through the superintendence of God Himself. So Satan is released from this place that he has been in for a thousand years called the prison or the abyss.
And we move from the adversary to the apostasy, verse 8. Notice what verse 8 says: “and He,” Satan, “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.” Notice the first part of that, Satan will come out of the abyss to deceive the nations. One of the things that’s interesting to study about Satan is his character never changes. You would think a thousand years in solitary confinement would causes him to rethink things. But he doesn’t, he comes out of solitary confinement with the same God hating mentality that he has had since his own fall. And that’s who Satan is.
God is allowing this to happen to demonstrate that He (God) is just in doing away with Satan forever, which will be described later on in verse 10. Jesus, when He spoke of Satan said this, in John 8:44. He says to the Pharisees, “You are of Your Father, the devil, and you want the desires of your father; He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” There is no redemptive purpose in Satan; don’t waste your time praying for Satan, it’s a lost cause. Pray for people but don’t pray for Satan and the realm of the demonic as their nature, Satan’s nature, has never changed. And it won’t change after a thousand years of imprisonment.
David Hocking, in his commentary on the Book of Revelation says this: “God demonstrates by this one final event that even under the best conditions, mankind’s problem is the heart.” More on that in a moment. “God demonstrates that Satan’s depravity cannot be cured. God demonstrates therefore that He is fully justified in exacting eternal punishment” in this case from Satan. [David Hocking, The Book of Revelation: Understanding the Future (Tustin, CHURCH AGE; Hope For Today Publications, 2014, 530.) And so Satan comes out of the abyss and it says here, looking at verse 8, he comes out “to deceive these nations.”
One of the things people underestimate is the deceptive power of Satan. Satan has incredibly deceptive power. In fact, we have read earlier in our series Revelation 12:9 concerning the devil or Satan, he deceives the whole world. [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”] It doesn’t just say he deceives the world, he “deceives the whole world.” Notice the adjective “whole” in front of “world.” Satan has this “whole world” marching according to his drumbeat.
And what we are about to see here is probably one of the greatest deceptive activities of Satan because he is now going to deceive the world that’s been living in the presence of Jesus for a thousand years. At least the world he deceived before had something to complain about but these people that we’re reading about here, and I’ll describe where they come from, have nothing to complain about, these rebels. They’ve been living in a perfect environment for a thousand years and yet Satan is still able to pull the wool over their eyes and deceive them, something he was not allowed to do, verse 3, when he was in his place of imprisonment.
It says back in verse 3, “So that he would” Satan “not deceive the nations any longer.” By the way, that’s how you know that we’re not in the thousand year kingdom today, because when the thousand year kingdom comes the nations won’t be in a state of deception. Would you say the nations are in a state of deception today? Of course they are, Satan is alive and well on planet earth as one man wrote. But the time in history comes where he’s incarcerated and he is not allowed to deceive the nations, and then he comes out of the abyss a thousand years later and he’s dealing with people that have been living in absolute perfection and he pulls off his greatest act of deception , he deceives them once again.
You continue on there in verse 8 and it talks about these rebels. They will come out, “and He,” Satan, “will come out to deceive the nations” and notice what it says here, “which are in the four corners of the earth.” Revelation 7:1 also talked about the “four corners of the earth.” [Revelation 7:1, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.”]
Now I would encourage you here not to get weird; this is common in the Bible, it’s what you call phenomenological language, I had to pay a lot of tuition money, by the way, to learn these fancy terms so I’ve got to share them with somebody and you guys are a captive audience. Phenomenological language is language narrated from the perspective of man because a lot of people will take these verses and verses like them and try to develop this doctrine that the earth is flat or the earth has four corners and all of these kinds of things and they feel as though they’re being very biblical when they do that, not understanding the reality of phenomenological language. Yes, the Bible is meant to be taken literally and at face value but the Bible also uses frequently figures of speech. Sometimes the Bible will narrate something from the perspective of man; from the perspective of man it does look like the earth has four corners.
The Bible does this quite frequently, for example, in Psalm113:3 it says, “From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Now we all know that the sun doesn’t rise, the sun is stationary and we’re living not in a geocentric solar system but in a heliocentric solar system and the earth revolves around the sun but from our perspective it looks like the sun is rising and setting. In fact, we use this kind of language all of the time. I was actually in Venice with my family, one of the most beautiful places in the world, quite frankly, and there we were on the top of this hotel and we were just happy as clams, they were feeding us this tremendous buffet breakfast and I saw probably what I would consider to be the most beautiful sun rising I’d ever seen. And when I saw that I didn’t turn to my wife and say isn’t that just a magnificent earth rotation that we just saw. I was using phenomenological language. The Bible will do that.
And so from the perspective of John it seems like this rebellion is from all over the world which he describes here as “the four corners of the earth.” Now he goes on there in verse 8 and he analogizes it or he depicts it as Gog and Magog. [Revelation 20:7] “and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog,” now there’s a lot of confusion here
because when people see “God and Magog” the connect it to Ezekiel 38 and 39 which is one of those end time battles, I would guess connected with the events of the tribulation period that Ezekiel saw, an end time invasion of the nation of Israel in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. And it’s called God and Magog in the Book of Ezekiel and people think well, it’s the same war. But actually it’s not.
Notice these differences between Revelation 20 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. The invasion in Ezekiel 38 and 39 comes from the north. That’s not what’s described here. All nations are involved in this rebellion. Ezekiel 39 and 39 names nine principle players, Tubal, Meshach, Rosh, Persia, etc. But no nations are identified specifically here in Revelation 20. The Gog Magog vision leads to the millennial kingdom which is described in Ezekiel 40-48. That’s not what’s happening here in this invasion. This invasion does not lead to the millennial kingdom, in face the millennial kingdom is over when this invasion happens. In fact this invasion does not lead to the millennial kingdom, it paves the way to the eternal state.
The Ezekiel invasion, chapter 39 verse 12, it takes seven months to dispose the dead. [Ezekiel 39:12, “ For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land.”] That’s not what happens here. God immediately cataclysmically destroys this rebellion; no seven month process is described. And then in Ezekiel 38 and 39 we have no record whatsoever of Satan being bound before that invasion happens. But what do we have here in Revelation 20? The binding of Satan for a thousand years first and then this invasion comes. So don’t conflate two battles just because you see the words Gog and Magog.
But why does it say God and Magog here? I like this comment from David McCloud. He says: “How can Gog and Magog refer to a battle in Revelation 19 before the mil and this battle at the end of the millennium? The most likely explanation is that the Antichrist who is Gog” now I might quibble with him on that, but anyway, “The most likely explanation is that the Antichrist who is God will be defeated at the Second Coming. During the mil his defeat will become a legend among the nations, something like Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. Then at the end of the millennial kingdom the Gog and Magog ‘legend’” because so infamous, “is applied to a new historical situation (in Revelation 20:8) with Satan leading the new ‘Gog and Magog invasion.’ Satan will meet his ‘Waterloo’ — his ‘Gog and Magog.’
In other words, at this time in history what happened in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is so well known and so famous that people will be able to take that past event and reapply the name to a new set of circumstances. Just like when we say “I met my waterloo.” I’m having a battle in my life I’ve met my waterloo. We’re not saying the Battle of Waterloo is being refought; what we’re trying to do is describe how severe our circumstances are so we analogize it to a famous battle in history just to sort of describe the severity of what we’re going through. And I think that probably is the reason that Gog and Magog is mentioned here. It’s just another horrific severe contest.
We continue on and it says, “to gather them together for the war;” Satan of course in the tribulation period itself was waging war. We read about that in Revelation 12:17, he made war with Israel. [Revelation 12:17, “So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”]
The word war is polemos in Greek, where we get the word polemical. It’s the opposite of irenic or peaceful or irenic; polemical—war like, irenical—peace like. But here Satan is allowed to wage war. He’s done this before, he waged war in the tribulation period but guess what? Jesus waged war, we saw that in Revelation 19:11. [Revelation 19:11, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.”] Jesus is coming back to wage war, polemos, against Satan.
So we have now peace, irena, for a thousand years. And now Satan is let loose just for one more war, and he goes back immediately into his warlike posture. And probably the most fascinating part of this to me is the number of people that fall under his deception, Satan’s deception, or join his army, because John, when he prophetically sees this says “the number of them” that’s the rebels, “was like the sand of the seashore.” Think about the sand and all of the grains of sand on all of the oceans of the earth and how impossible it would be to count up all those grains of sand. That’s the number of people that hook their wagon (so to speak) with Satan in this final context, in this final conflagration, if you will.
And here’s a question that arises. Wait a minute pastor, you told us that the righteous are going to be resurrected at the beginning of the millennium kingdom and are going to rule and reign with Christ. And that’s true; we’re there along with Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs in resurrected bodies ruling and reigning with Jesus. So if all of that is true then where did all of these rebels come from? Well you’ll find an answer to that question in Matthew 24:22, where Jesus says, “Unless those days had been cut short,” speaking of the tribulation period, “no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
In other words God cannot allow the tribulation period to go beyond it’s allotted twenty-one judgments of seven years because if He did the world’s population itself would be completely wiped out. There has to be some survivors; there has to be a Jewish remnant left where by God can fulfill His covenant on earth with that believing Jewish remnant. So quite clearly there are people that will survive the great tribulation period. Now don’t put yourself in that number, you are already raptured before the tribulation period starts, you’re in your resurrected and glorified body but there’s a lot of people on the earth following the rapture that will get saved during the tribulation period; most of them killed but some survive and make it to the very end, and they will pass through what is called the sheep and goat judgment that you read about in Matthew 25:31-46.
[Matthew 25:31-46, “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;  and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;  naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  “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;  for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;  I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”]
As they are determined to be sheep they will go into the millennial kingdom as Jesus at that point will be ruling and reigning from David’s throne. And so they will go into the millennial kingdom in, not resurrected bodies but mortal bodies. And they will have children and their children will have children. And their children will have children. And over the process of a thousand years the earth will be repopulated. But what just got passed down through the blood chain was the genetics, the sin nature.
It’s kind of like after the flood. How many people were in the ark? 2 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 3:20 tells us that they were eight people in the ark. [1 Peter 2:5, “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:20, “ who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”]
I would assume that would be Noah and Mrs. Noah, and then we know Noah had three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth and their respective wives. And so the world itself was repopulated from the three sons of Noah and their respective wives. And the earth had been cleansed by water but the sin nature continued on into the post flood world. What do you have on the ark? Do you know what you have on the ark? Eight sin natures, and through those individuals the earth was repopulated, although cleansed. God fixed the outside but something was still wrong on the inside. And consequently the sin nature is passed down in the post flood world.
That is the type of scenario that you have taking place here in the thousand year kingdom. And yet there are people in that kingdom that have no sin nature. That would be us and Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs resurrected at the beginning of the millennial kingdom. And this is a pretty weird time. And you say well, pastor, are you telling me that there’s going to be resurrected people and non-resurrected people together for a thousand years? And that’s what I’m telling you. You say well that just sounds like science fiction.
But think about this for a minute. In between Christ’s resurrection and ascension there was a period there of forty days, Acts chapter 1 talks about it. Jesus is in a resurrected body and He’s interacting with His disciples who are in non-resurrected bodies; they’re touching Him (as did Thomas). They are enjoying a meal together and He’s teaching them over a forty day period about the kingdom of God, a mixture of beings that are resurrected and non-resurrected. And what I’m saying is that biblical precedent that we see in Acts chapter 1 will continue on for a thousand years.
And it’s very interesting that when it talks about this rebellion at the end it’s not the resurrected people that are rebelling, they can’t, they have no sin nature, talking about the people rebelling that have inherited a sin nature because they inherited that sin nature from the mortal survivors of the tribulation period who began to repopulate the earth. And so it’s a very interesting time in history and what’s so fascinating about this is all of these people have been living in what I would think would be a perfect environment. They’re not harassed or agitated by starvation, hunger, malnutrition, prosperity has broken out all over the earth.
In fact Jesus, as He’s the Prince of Peace reigning from David’s throne, the Bible says the nations will take their swords and beat them into plow shares, war will not be learned of or studied any longer, war was just sort of a curious thing people used to do. And a little child will be able to go out into the backyard and put their hand into the cobra’s nest and not be harmed. So that the conflict between humans and animals is called off and every conceivable need that needs to be met has been met by Jesus for a thousand years. And you would think the people that are living on the earth during this time period would just praise the Lord, submit to God. But that’s not what they do; they rebel when given the first opportunity and in fact the number of those involved in the rebellion is so big John describes it as the sand of the seashore.
And we ask ourselves what is this all about? Why would God allow this terrible era of history, this terrible rebellion at the end to take place? And here’s the answer: history in God is pedagogical. Pedagogy just means teaching. God allows eras of history to transpire to teach humanity lessons that they couldn’t learn otherwise. For example, you read the Book of Judges… if you want to talk about a depressing book, there are seven cycles of rebellion and oppression and then God raises up a deliverer, Israel is released from bondage, she goes into prosperity, and you think everything is going to be great and then the whole thing starts all over again. It happens seven times in the Book of Judges. It’s just monotonous. And you read through the Book of Judge and you say… and that’s a time period by the way, of about three hundred years God has allowed this to happen over and over and over again. It’s not until you get to the end of the book that you figure out why God allowed it, because it said in Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, and the very end of the book in chapter 21, “There was no king in Israel in those days and so everyone did what was right in their own” what? “eyes.”
[Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.] 18:1, [Judges 18:1, “In those days there was no king of Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day an inheritance had not been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel. Judges 19:1, “Now it came about in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah.”
God is telling them you need a king to rule over you Israel. Now He could just say that or He could let them experience their failures without a king. And after they came out of that they were ready to anoint a king finally because history is pedagogical. Or you take the present age today of grace where grace upon grace upon grace has been lavished upon us, the church, for two thousand years and you say why is God allowing this? Well, Ephesians 3:10 tells us He’s allowing it for the sake of the angels. [Revelation 3:10, “0 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.”]
The plan of salvation is not open to the angels; they understand the holiness of God, they understand the creative power of God, they understand the judgment of God but they don’t know much about grace. How could they when the plan of salvation is not even available to them? So how is God going to teach these angels, which have to learn because they’re beings, created beings, how is He going to teach them about grace? He’s going to teach them by lavishing grace upon grace upon the most underserving people (that would be us by the way) and as the angels are watching their minds are blown because God is using this era to fill out gaps in the theology of the angels.
And it’s the same kind of thing here at the end of the millennial kingdom, God has allowed this to happen. He has allowed some to survive the tribulation period. He has allowed the earth to be repopulated. He has allowed Satan to be bound because He just as before the close of history one more lesson to teach and what is that lesson? The lesson is where does evil come from, because most people today, if you ask them where does evil come from… we just had this terrible shooting at this church in Fort Worth, where did that come from? If you listen to the commentators it’s not enough health care, not enough education, malnutrition, I don’t know, whatever the issue is it’s always something from the outside that’s blamed when what does our Bible say? Evil comes from the heart.
I was listening, I don’t do this too much, but to Michael Moore, a very leftwing type of guy, film maker, and I was watching one of the cable shows and he basically said you know, we can get rid of evil completely by guaranteeing everybody a job of at least 30,000 dollars a year. [Laughter] And if that’s the case then how do you explain the actress, Winona Ryder , who has seen more money in her lifetime in a year than I’ll see in my whole lifetime. How do you explain to her, she has no economic needs, and yet there she was on camera caught in Beverly Hills department stores a few years back stealing things. Why was she stealing things? Is it because she has some kind of economic need? Not at all! There was something that was influencing her, not externally but internally. How do you explain something O. J. Simpson, all of the fame and money this world system has to give and yet he committed that terrible act or acts.
And people say you know, if we could just educate people we could solve evil. Well guess what happens when you educate a blue collar thief? He becomes a white collar thief! You give an education to a thief the only thing you’ve done is you’ve enhanced his ability to steal more. By the way, this is very interesting. You notice society in world history that has had the highest literacy rate and has had more PhD’s per capita than any other society, you know what that society is? It was Nazi Germany. So obviously more PhD’s more education, that doesn’t seem to solve things. There’s a criminologist, a sociologist that I was reading about in my undergraduate studies, his name is James Hugh Wilson, he was talking about this decades ago and he was tracking the crime statistics in the great depression. I mean, you would think that once the country moved into the great depression that crime would rise. He said no, it’s the exact opposite.
So this is kind of an age old question: why do we act the way we act? Why do we do the things we do? And the thing that’s so interesting about it is the Bible gives you an answer. You’re not going to find this diagnosis in the thinking of modern day psychology or humanism but you find it in God’s Word. What God’s Word says is we act the way we act because we’re corrupted on the inside. Genesis 8:21, God says, “The intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” [Genesis 8:21, “The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”] In fact, according to Psalm 51:5, you inherited in Adam’s lineage a sin nature at the point of conception. Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Jeremiah 17:9 says, ““The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
Why can’t people just get along? The Book of James tells us, James 4:1-3, ” What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Did you ever ask yourself that question? Why can’t people cooperate with each other, even in families, even in churches, James says “Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?  You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
James says you want to know what your problem is, look in your mirror, you’re the problem and the reason you have this problem is because you’re in Adam’s lineage. It’s kind of interesting that we don’t have to teach people to sin, do we? We don’t get our kids and grandkids aside and say okay, we’re going to a lesson today on how to be selfish, you ready? And here’s another lesson, I’m going to teach you today how to lose your cool. I’m going to teach you how to blow your top and get angry when you don’t get your way. Here’s how you do it. The reality is they already know how to do it just like you already know how to do it and I already know how to do it because it became natural to us at the point of conception. And no amount of throwing money at this or cleaning up the environment or universal health care, or eliminating structural bias, or whatever it is people are into today, no amount of that can fix this problem because it’s internal.
And this is what makes the Christian message different than all the other messages out there, because all the other messages out there are teaching how to fix the outside. God says you got a fixed outside after the flood but the sin nature was still there. We’ve got a fixed outside in the kingdom age but the sin nature is still there. You see folks, here’s the reality of the situation: there’s something that we fundamentally need more than anything else and most of the time we’re blind to it. We need our insides fixed and that is Christianity. This is why Jesus, when He spoke to Nicodemus in John 3:3-5 said unless one is born again, internal, cannot see or enter the kingdom of God. [John 3:3-5, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “]
You know what we need? We need what the book of 2 Peter calls a new nature, 2 Peter 1:4. [2 Peter 1:4, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”]
God needs to do some miracle on the inside of us through the spiritual birth, the reception of the new nature and then I need to learn as a disciple of Christ to live consistently with the yearnings of the new nature and to reckon dead the deeds of the old nature. Now if you’ve got that working for a person you’ve got a change; if you don’t have that in a person and you’re throwing all this environ-mental stuff at him over and over again and you’re fixing this external problem and fixing that external problem, you’re not solving anything.
Now God could come out and just tell us that, couldn’t He? He does but we don’t really believe it because we couldn’t be that bad! I mean, are we really that messed up? And so God says well let’s do this; here is a thousand years, history is pedagogical, go ahead an live the thousand years in a world with no war, no racism, no structural bias, no hole in the ozone layer, now deficiency in the health care system, whatever it is we’re all worried about. Here’s your perfect world and yet a thousand years later what do people do? They act like people.
You say well wait a minute pastor, I’m not real clear on this because this passage says Satan causes this. NO, Satan didn’t cause this; what Satan does is he gives people an opportunity to express what’s already happening inside of them. How do I know that? We have to look at the whole counsel of God’s Word. Zechariah 14:16-18 talks there about people who will simply, in the millennial kingdom, not want to go to Jerusalem to worship Jesus Christ. And the moment they make that decision they are immediately punished, they receive no rain for their crops and so they grudgingly go. You see, the hatred for God is there in the mortal citizen and inhabitants of the millennial kingdom, they just don’t say much about it because Jesus is ruling with a rod of iron.
The grudging humanistic man centered hatred of God is there and God, to show it’s there, finally takes the devil where he’s been incarcerated for a thousand years, lets him out of solitary confinement, and all Satan does is give people a chance to express what they already want to do. And my goodness, look at the mob scene here. Those involved in the rebellion are as the sand of the seashore.
David Hocking says, “God demonstrates by this one final event that even under the best conditions, mankind’s problem is the heart.” And if you don’t understand that you don’t understand Christianity. You don’t understand the most basic fundamental principle of Christianity because Jesus spoke of it pretty clearly in Mark 7:20-23. [Mark 7:20-23, “And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,  deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”]
The Pharisees were all upset because Jesus’ disciples were eating on the sabbath. Can you imagine that, what a terrible thing! And Jesus in Mark 7 gives what I think is one of the greatest anthropological… that’s what we’re looking at here, anthropology, the study of man, “anthropos” man, “ology” the study of man. What is wrong with man? He gives a tremendous or makes a tremendous anthropological statement when he says here, “that which precedes out of the man, that is what defiles” him.  For from within,” what does he say here, “out of the heart of men, proceed” what? “the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,  deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride” I feel like I’m reading the front page of the newspaper, “and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
It’s not what you take into your body, Jesus says, is the problem. You Pharisees, you religious people, your anthropology is off. The issue isn’t what you take in, the issue is what comes out. The issue is your condition in Adam. These things come from within, they don’t have to be taught, they are not of the heart. And you begin to see this and you begin to understand what this means, God demonstrates by this one final event, that even under the best conditions mankind’s problem is the heart. Folks, we are sick! In fact, we are so sick we don’t even see that we’re sick. And any spiritual or religious instruction that you get that doesn’t deal with this problem, you know all it’s doing is it’s trying to make your flesh try harder, that’s all it’s trying to do.
And yet the flesh is incapable of this internal transformation that we’re speaking of here. Well God, I just don’t believe we could be that bad. God says here’s a thousand years. And this is why God did not put Satan into the Lake of Fire right away, with his cohorts, he put them into the abyss because God has one more lesson, not just to teach Satan but to use Satan to teach the whole world.
So the apostasy moves into the attack, verse 9, “And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city,” now what city do you think this would be? This is the city of Jerusalem. You say well it doesn’t say Jerusalem here. No it doesn’t, but if you read Psalm 78:68 and Psalm 87:2 you’ll see that Zion, a synonym for Jerusalem in the Bible, is called “the city that God loves. [Psalm 78:68, “But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved. Psalm 87:2,” The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.”]
Why would Satan lead this revolt against Jerusalem? It’s the simple reason that it’s from Jerusalem that the nations are being governed. Jerusalem is the world headquarters for a thousand years. Isaiah 2:3 says that. Zechariah 14:16-17 says that. (Isaiah 2:3, “And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”] Zechariah 14:16-17 says that. [Zechariah 4:16-17, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.]
Robert Thomas writes, “ At the end of the Millennium that city will be Satan’s prime objective with his rebel army, because Israel will be a leader” again “among the nations.” That’s why Satan attacks Israel and Jerusalem, because God is fulfilling His word for a thousand years to the Jewish nation that they will be the head, not the tail. Deuteronomy 28:13, [The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,” Deuteronomy 28:13]
I hope you understand this, that we’re going into a kingdom where Israel is going to be “the cat’s meow” and center stage. Jesus is not running things from Washington D.C. or any other gentile city; He’s running things from the city of Jerusalem and Satan knows it and gets one more crack at it and goes right after that lead city.
But then comes the annihilation of Satan. We have fire consuming Satan’s henchmen from heaven, and then Satan himself, verse 10, will be consumed by the fires of hell, verse 9. What does it say? By the way, God pretty good at using fire, do you notice that, in the Bible.
[Revelation 20:9, “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. and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  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.”]
Just talk to Sodom and Gomorrah about that some time. “Fire came down from heaven” and what does it say here, “it devoured them.” [Revelation 20:9, “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.”] This has always struck me in this sense, there’s not even a battle here. I mean, we have a worldwide revolt against God taking place and yet God in a nanosecond just destroys the enemies. It’s kind of like what we saw in Revelation 19 where the armies of the beast and the false prophet appeared to oppose the rider on the white horse. And yet Jesus just speaks and the battle is over. Fire comes down from heaven… the battle is over! No folks, Satan and Jesus are not equal. Satan is a created being and the only reason Satan is even kept around is God is strategically using Satan for pedagogical reasons.
And then we move into verse 10 where Satan himself is consumed in the Lake of Fire. Verse 10 says, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the Lake of Fire and brimstone, where the beast” look at this, “and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Notice what it says here, “the devil who deceived them was thrown into the Lake of Fire.” I guess I’ve got a lot of Star Wars on my brain lately, that scene where Darth Vader picks up the empire emperor. Remember that? Throws him down that giant shoot. Remember that? And he just sort of explodes and the emperor is gone, but then he comes back as a clone in the next one so maybe that’s not the best analogy.
But here is the end of the end for Satan; it’s over at this point. And this reminds us of the seven fold defeat of Satan, he’s been defeated progressively throughout the Bible. In number six here he was bound during the thousand years, at the end of the millennial kingdom he is thrown into the Lake of Fire, you’ll never hear from Satan again after this. It’s over! He is a defeated foe. He’s going down. God has made good on what He said all the way back in Genesis 3:15, where He says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” There’s coming something that’s going to take your head, Satan, and crush it where you won’t be able to recover. And that’s what you’re seeing right here in Revelation 20:10.
Are you going through your life depressed and pessimistic about things? Or are you going through your life with flaming optimization, because Romans16:20 says this: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Do you believe that? The very being that causes you the most problems is the very being that is destined, very soon, to be crushed. And he goes into the Lake of Fire where the beast and the false prophet are also. What has God done here? He’s taken the unholy trinity and divided it. He’s divided it for a thousand years, these false prophets, Lake of Fire, Satan in the abyss. And God has demonstrated His sovereignty over the satanic trinity whereas Satan himself tried to divide the Holy Trinity. Many times in the Gospels he’s enticing Jesus to get out of the will of God the Father, “command these stones to become bread,” what Satan couldn’t accomplish God has accomplished demonstrating His sovereignty over the unholy trinity.
And I like what this says here, “where the beast and the false prophet are.” You mean they’re still in there? A thousand years has passed, they’re still in there? Yes they are because folks, hell is forever. You don’t disappear, you don’t explode, you continue on under the wrath of God. Verse 10 is very clear, “they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” You say well what does “tormented” mean? That’s what it means, tormented. You say well what does “forever and ever” mean? That’s what it means, forever and ever. I could spend the next fifteen minutes (which I won’t do) defending that from the Greek text and the Hebrew text. This is not the first time we’ve run into this teaching, Revelation 14:11 says, “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, [those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.]” That’s what awaits the unholy trinity.
Well why emphasize this? Because it’s this doctrine that launches world missions. If you go soft here you will never get behind another missionary organization ever! But when you begin to understand that there’s something to lose and people that die without Christ share in Satan’s fate, hell was never made for them, it was made for the devil and his angels. But if you cooperate with him and die without a knowledge of the Son of God then you share in the same fate. That will start a missionary organization! That will give you an incentive to evangelize, because you see what’s happening to people and the prospect that they face.
The great chain, verses 1-3; the great reign, verses 4-6, the great revolt, verses 7-10. Next week take a look at verses 11-15 as we’ll look at the Great White Throne Judgment.
The presentation of the gospel here is very easy, isn’t it, because we don’t want people to go into this place. I mean, wouldn’t it be tragic to hear all this teaching from the sound of my voice and yet leave here without Christ and die and how that fate can be reversed by reaching out for God’s cure, because God has given us a cure to this. He’s certainly described the problem but He’s also given us the cure. The cure is His Son, Jesus, who paid the penalty for our sins two thousand years ago, through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. In fact, His final words on the cross were “It is finished!” Tetelestai! And what we do is we don’t trust ourselves. How could I trust myself when my flesh is so fallen; I trust in what He did for me, and not only does He bridge the gap between us and the holiness of God, not only does He change our eternal destiny so that we will not share in Satan’s fate but He gives you something else, He fixes you on the inside through the spiritual birth called regeneration and the presence of the new nature.
You know, it’s always exciting to move into a new year and into a new decade and to think about what’s new. The Bible is all about what is new. He wants to make you a new creation, now through fixing you outside but fixing you on the inside. And you can receive that status now as I’m speaking, simply by believing, which means to trust in the provision of Jesus Christ. The moment you place your trust in what Jesus did for you is the moment you are now a candidate for this new status that I’m speaking of, the changing of your eternal destiny and suddenly what comes alive inside of you is the Spirit of God where formerly it didn’t exist. And you begin to notice you’ve got new desires now. Why do you have new desires? Because you have a new nature. And Jesus will do that for you, that’s the gospel. You can receive it right now in a moment of privacy as I’m speaking. You don’t raise a hand to get this, or walk an aisle to do it or a New Year’s Resolution to get it or to join a church or to obligate yourself to give more money or whatever it is. It’s just a matter of privacy between you and the Lord where you receive this gift that He wants to give you and you receive that by doing what the Bible says a hundred and fifty times to do, to BELIEVE in the One He has sent.
“What must we do to do the works of God” Jesus was asked. This is the work, the day you believe in the One He has sent. If there’s still confusion in your mind about this I’m available after the service to talk. Shall we pray.
Father, we’re grateful for prophecy and grateful for the lessons that teaches us about our condition. Help us to be good stewards as we continue to complete the finial chapters of the Book of Revelation as we look forward to our glorious future. We’ll be careful to give you all of the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen!