The Study of Last Things
Bringing Truths from Different Books of the Bible into Focus,
Perspective, and Understanding.
"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." Revelation 20:7-8
The Final Revolt
The Final Revolt
by James T. Bartsch
City Under Attack, Original Setting
Introduction. Revelation 20:7-10 details the fiery, post-Millennial destruction of Satanically deceived rebels. Satan will be bound during the Millennium, but he will be released from his prison. He will succeed in deceiving multitudes of people on earth to revolt and overthrow King Jesus and His administration, and to destroy the King’s followers. The Loyalists will be spectacularly rescued and the Rebels annihilated by fire. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire and Sulphur for eternal torment.
A. The Millennium, Christ’s Reign upon earth, will be the most utopian time the earth has known since the Garden of Eden.
1. It will be a kingdom that will last one thousand years.
2. It will be a spiritual kingdom, with all the nations unified in worshiping God and Jesus.
3. It will be a kingdom of holiness, justice and righteousness, and one in which the curse is removed.
4. It will be a kingdom of great economic prosperity.
5. It will be a kingdom of world-wide peace and security.
6. It will be a kingdom in which there is incredible life expectancy.
7. It will be a kingdom in which there is great glory.
8. It will be a kingdom in which Israel reigns supreme over the nations of the world and is held in high esteem and honor; joy will abound on the earth.
9. It will be a kingdom ruled by a descendant of King David, namely, Jesus of Nazareth.
10. It will be a kingdom into which only those who place their faith in God and Jesus will be allowed to enter at its beginning.
11. It will be a kingdom from which Satan, the ultimate liar and deceiver, is excluded (John 8:44; Rev. 20:1-3).
B. Satan will be bound during the 1000-year reign of Christ. An angel will be given the power and authority to chain Satan in the abyss (Grk. abussos) (Rev. 20:1-3).
1. The abyss is evidently a deep place (lit. without bottom) whose location is unknown, in which certain fallen angels and demonic creatures are temporarily imprisoned (Luke 8:31), and some later released to perform a role on earth (Rev. 9:1-11). The evil spirit inhabiting the Antichrist emerges from the abyss (Rev. 17:8).
2. The purpose of Satan’s confinement is so that he (and presumably his fallen angels) will be unable to deceive the earth’s nations during Christ’s reign over the earth (John 8:44; Rev. 20:3).
3. Today Satan is free to deceive people into holding views that are anti-God, anti-Christ, and anti-Biblical. He is wildly successful in every area, whether it be religion, politics, entertainment, education, labor, news media, domestic life, even science – or any other facet of culture.
4. With Satan bound during the entire reign of Jesus upon earth, people will be able to discern the truth about God, about Jesus, and, in fact, about all of culture.
5. This does not necessarily mean, however, that all people on earth will place their trust in King Jesus, as we shall see.
C. All of humanity who are left alive to enter Jesus’ Kingdom when He returns will be believers in Jesus as their Savior and King.
1. All who are not believers will either have been destroyed in the battle when He returns (Zech. 12:1-9; 14:1-4, 12-15; Rev. 19:11-21), or else they will have been eliminated from the earth when He judges all those surviving His return (Ezek. 20:33-38; Matt. 13:36-43, 46-50; Matt. 25:31-46).
2. The believing survivors who enter Christ’s kingdom will live life in their natural bodies. They will live long and joyful lives in an era of great plenty and world-wide peace. There will be great blessing on all the world because the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord “as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
3. These citizens of the kingdom in their natural bodies will marry and will reproduce children. Women’s child-bearing years will be extended. Families will grow large and the world’s population will grow. Fathers and mothers will teach their children about God and Jesus and His sacrificial death on the cross to pay for the sins of all humanity. They will teach their children about Christ’s resurrection and eternal life. They will review history – the sad, sordid tale of man’s revolt against God all throughout history, and against Jesus, both when He came to the earth the first time and then in the centuries after His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God. They will take their children on trips to Jerusalem to see the great King Himself – to greet Him and to fall on their faces and worship Him. Millions of these children will decide to place their trust in Jesus and submit their hearts and lives to Him. But over the centuries, many apparently will not. They will see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, but their hearts will remain apathetic toward Him. They will not dare to be too vocal about their inner apathy because of the consequences. They will be quiet disbelievers.
D. At the end of Jesus’ reign, Satan will, for a short time, be released from the abyss (Rev. 20:7).
1. We learn from Ezek. 38:2-3 that Gog is the human leader and Magog is the land of Gog. Gog is also called the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. Many Bible scholars agree that this land is north of Israel. Some believe Rosh may refer to Russia, that Meshech may refer to Moscow, and Tubal to Tobolsk. Dr. Thomas Constable (Ezekiel, pp. 182-183) notes, however, that rosh normally means “head” or “ruler,” and states that an etymological tie between Rosh and Russia is tenuous at best because the name Russia did not even come into existence until the 11th Century A. D. He does concede, nevertheless, that “The whole region would be what is now parts of southwestern Russia, Turkey, and Iran” (p. 183). Russia, historically, has had great animus toward Israel, and that animus continues even today in providing Iran with nuclear technology. Iran’s publicly stated goal is to destroy Israel. Russia’s modern-day alliance with Iran is nothing short of amazing, since both countries have been antagonists for centuries.
2. In Ezekiel 38:1-12, Gog, Magog, Rosh (probably means “ruler of”) Meshech and Tubal, Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, Put, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah (these last two names probably reference Turkey) would come “from the remote parts of the north” (Ezek. 38:6, 15; 39:2) to invade Israel (Ezek. 38:8). The initial fulfillment of this prophesied invasion will most likely occur during a time of peace in Israel (Ezek. 38:10-11), in God’s view, “the center of the world” (Ezek. 38:12). This time of peace will begin when the leader of a Revived Roman Empire (Dan. 9:26) signs a seven-year peace treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27). Some time during the first half of that period, the Russian-Turkish-Iranian-North African Alliance will attempt to invade Israel.
3. God declares that in zeal and blazing wrath, He will bring fearsome judgment against Gog and his allies, including pestilence, blood, rain, hail, fire and brimstone (Ezek. 38:18-23). He will utterly defeat the invaders, and send fire on Magog, the land of Gog in order to protect His own Holy Name (Ezek. 39:1-8)! It will take Israel seven years to burn the weapons of the fallen invaders (Ezek. 39:9-10) and seven months to bury the dead of their antagonists (Ezek. 39:11-16).
4. So the first fulfillment of the assault of Gog and the peoples of the land of Magog against the land of Israel, and their subsequent Divine judgment, will take place during the early years of the Tribulation Period. But it is important to know that, as is so often true in Biblical prophecy, there is a multiple fulfillment of a prophecy. The second and final reference to Gog and Magog in Rev. 20:7-8, the passage under discussion in this essay, will come a thousand years later, at the end of the Millennium.
5. There are a number of similarities between Ezek. 38-39 and Rev. 20:7-10:
a. In both there is a reference to Gog and Magog.
b. In both war is intended against Israel.
c. In both multiple nations are aligned against Israel.
d. In both there is miraculous, catastrophic Divine judgment against the invaders.
e. In both Israel survives.
6. There are also some significant differences between Ezek. 38-39 and Rev. 20:7-10. These differences lead us to believe that Rev. 20:7-10 speaks of a second and subsequent fulfillment of Ezekiel. These differences include the following observations:
a. Only Gog and Magog are mentioned in Revelation, while several other national entities are mentioned in Ezekiel.
b. In Ezekiel, the only direction specified as regards the origin of the invaders is from the north (Ezek. 38:6, 15; 39:2), although Ethiopia, including Sudan and northern Ethiopia, and Put, or Libya, are to the south and west); in Revelation, the nations are assembled by Satan from “the four corners of the earth” (Rev. 20:8). (For the identification of the nations in Ezekiel 38, see Charles H. Dyer, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Vol. I, pp. 1299-1300.)
c. In Ezek. 38 and Ezek. 39, the invaders only reached the mountains of Israel (Ezek. 38:8, 21; 39:2, 4), where they are destroyed, whereas in Rev. 20:9, the nations surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city (Jerusalem).
d. There are multiple catastrophes that strike the invaders in Ezekiel, while only fire from heaven is mentioned in Revelation.
7. Conclusion: Ezek. 38-39 prophesies two invasions with regard to Gog and Magog. The first invasion will take place during the Tribulation period, probably towards the end of the first half; the second invasion will take place at the end of the Millennium. Rev. 20:7-10 references the second invasion.
8. Sadly, the ability of Satan to deceive the minds and hearts of millions upon millions of people at the end of the Millennium shows three things:
a. The human heart is depraved. Ever since man’s fall into sin (Genesis 3), man’s heart has been tainted by sin (Jeremiah 17:9; Rom. 3:9-19; 5:12).
b. Changing man’s environment will not change his heart. With a corrupted human heart, man will not seek after God. In spite of having lived for hundreds of years in the most nearly perfect environment on earth since man’s first sin, the Millennial reign of Christ upon earth, man is still susceptible to revolting against Jesus and God if an attractive alternative is presented!
c. God must take the initiative to change a human heart. Until God begins to work in man’s heart, man will run away from God, not toward Him (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26).
E. Satan will be released from his prison in order to deceive people (Rev. 20:7).
1. The text states clearly that Satan will be released from his prison at the end of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ.
2. Why will God permit Satan to be released? He will be permitted to reestablish his insidious, deceptive assault upon the people of the earth. He will have an appreciative audience among those who have lived under Jesus’ reign, but whose hearts have remained apathetic toward Him. Somehow he will gain the trust of this audience through deception. Satan will succeed in deceiving nations from “the four corners of the earth,” specifically Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:8).
a. The very next verse says that he will be released “and will come out and deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth ...”
b. God deliberately permits the nations to be deceived. Why would He do that?
c. It becomes apparent that a significant plurality, if not majority, of the world’s populace have not become believers in Christ, the King, despite his having reigned as a benevolent and righteous King for 1000 years!
d. These who have not believed, despite massive, first-hand evidence of Jesus’ Divine wisdom, goodness, and power, have exhausted the grace of God. Quietly, apathetically rejecting the rule of Christ in their hearts, they must be revealed as the unbelievers they really are.
3. A sad lesson to learn again (it should have been learned in the Garden of Eden in Gen. 2-3), is that Environment is neither the cause of, nor the cure for human spiritual dysfunction. In the most splendid, ideal, truth-and-goodness-filled environment since Eden and this side of the New Jerusalem, man in his reactions to God demonstrates, once again, that he tends to choose against God, not for Him. Given the opportunity, He will choose to follow Satan instead of God. Given the opportunity, He will choose to believe error rather than truth. Such is the condition of fallen man.
4. So God will release Satan upon the earth to deceive the unbelievers and to lead them into open rebellion, which will sort out the righteous from the unrighteous.
F. Satan's strategy will be to deceive the nations of the earth (Rev. 20:8).
1. Satan’s strategy will be the same as it was in the Garden of Eden. He will deceive people God created. Satan is the consummate liar, the father of lies (John 8:44).
2. Satan will succeed in deceiving the nations, huge numbers of people from the north, the south, the east, and the west.
3. Gog and Magog will be instrumental in molding global opinion against the King and His administration.
4. The world’s liberals and progressives will be easy targets for Satan. Having an inbuilt dislike for any rules they have not invented, the liberals will find Satan’s cunning redefinition of good and evil inviting, even liberating!
G. Satan's method to topple the Messiah and His regime will employ all-out war (Rev. 20:8-9).
1. Satan will succeed not only in deceiving people about the goodness of Jesus, but he will convince them to become activists against (what Satan will call) Jesus’ corrupt administration.
2. Satan will evidently succeed in re-creating allies he had used in his attempt to destroy and occupy Jerusalem in the seven-year Tribulation period (Ezek. 38:1-12). Using Gog (the ruler) and Magog (his territory) as a focal point and rallying cry, Satan will succeed in mobilizing a huge percentage of earth’s population.
3. Satan, remember, is not only a liar, but he is a murderer, a being utilizing and promoting violence to obtain his ends. Liars are bent on ruling through destruction, not liberating through truth.
4. Satan will convince many of the world’s leaders not only to revolt against the King, but to destroy Him and His administration through military conflict! For a thousand years, there will have been no war, no defense budgets, no standing armies, no weaponry (Isa. 2:3-4). The world will have lived through an unprecedented age of peace! But Satan will change all that in relatively short order!
5. Satan, Gog, and Magog will oversee the manufacture and production of lethal weapons. The arms race will escalate, but it will be a one-sided race. The conservatives, wishing to remain true to the King, will seek to defend His integrity. They may wish to arm themselves, but the text is silent on how far Jesus allows the saints to go in preparing to defend themselves. The saints will have to rely on the predictions laid out in God’s Word well over three thousand years earlier!
6. Satan will succeed beyond his wildest imaginations. His campaign of deception, propaganda, and misinformation will succeed in harnessing the loyalties of millions upon millions of people from around the globe. Their number will be like the sand upon the seashore (Rev. 20:8 ). They will descend upon the nation of Israel bent on war.
7. The enormous army will come upon the broad plain of the earth. The Satan-inspired army will surround the camp of the saints. This evidently refers to the opposing army of believers who are camped outside the city of Jerusalem, preparing to defend themselves against Satan and his rebel hordes. The number of soldiers in the invading army is sufficient to surround not only the encampment of the believers, but the entire city of Jerusalem, where, no doubt, many loyal citizens from the entire region will have fled for protection (Rev. 20:9a).
H. What is Satan's reason?
1. Satan obviously wants to destroy Jesus, the King. He wants to destroy the King’s administration. He wants to destroy all those who are loyal to the King.
2. Then Satan will want to set up his own kingdom on earth. He will have been unsuccessful in permanently establishing his kingdom through the reign of his False Messiah, the Antichrist over a thousand years earlier. But that will not deter him from attempting to re-establish his kingdom. Perhaps he plans on using Gog of Magog to be his supreme world ruler, replacing the legitimate King, Jesus.
3. No one knows how fast these events will unfold. No one knows how long it will take Satan to reshape public opinion and promote a mutinous spirit on the earth. Once he has succeeded in arming and marshaling his troops, no one knows how long it will take before they surround the forces of the true King. No one knows how long it will take before war begins. Will there be an all-out assault? Will there be intermittent skirmishes? Will there be a lull, a tense waiting period? Will the saints cry out in fear? Will it seem as though the King has become apathetic, uncaring, inept, impotent?
I. God will destroy the rebel invaders with fire from heaven (Rev. 20:9).
1. All of a sudden the unthinkable will happen. The King will utter a word. He will unleash His potent control over nature.
2. From somewhere high in the atmosphere or even from deep space, one of those miracles that liberals and progressives deplore, will descend to the earth. Blazing fire, heavenly napalm, if you will, will plummet from heaven.
3. This will be smart fire. With unerring accuracy, this fire will descend ONLY upon the rebels. None of the conservative Loyalists will be so much as singed by the raging inferno.
4. The enemy invaders will shriek with fear and pain. Some will attempt to run away, but the fire will pursue them. Some will stop, drop, and roll, but to no avail. There is no way to starve this fire by depriving it of oxygen. The air will be filled with the shrieks and blasphemous curses of the enemy combatants. They will scream and howl in pain. The smell of burnt human flesh will fill the nostrils of the stunned Loyalists. The Loyalists will feel a sense of exhilaration and relief, but some will dissolve into tears as they watch the horrifying demise of their fellow human beings.
5. Finally the last shrieking rebel voice will be silenced. With no more human bodies to consume, the flames will flicker and die out. As far as the eye can see will lie the incinerated remains of Satan’s duped warriors. Their charred, bony fragments will litter the countryside surrounding Jerusalem, for miles in all directions. The cost of rebellion against God will once again prove to be deadly (Isa. 66:22-24)!
J. Satan will be seized and cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
1. There will be no reprieve for Satan this time. There will be no permission to wander off and continue to deceive humanity as he has for millennia.
2. There will be no imprisonment in the abyss this time, chained in for a thousand years or two thousand or one hundred thousand.
3. Satan will be taken captive, probably by a powerful angel or angels. He will howl in protest and seek to overcome his captors by his incredible, supernatural power, but he will be unable to do so, for God will grant Satan’s captors with the authority and power to impose their will on Satan.
4. Satan will not be given a trial. There will be no jury of his peers or of humans. He is the Diabolical Slanderer, the Overthrower. He is Satan, the Great Adversary of God and the Messiah.
5. Satan will be thrown summarily into the lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is sulphur. The reeking, rotten-egg smell and the perpetual incineration of that lake will inflict enormous pain on Satan, even though he is a spirit being. He will join the beastly Anti-Christ, his own substitute, false Messiah. He will join the beastly False Prophet, who did so much to promote the regime of the Antichrist during his brief, seven year administration. The latter two will have been tormented in the flaming sulphur for one thousand years, but they will not have been burned up. They will still be howling in pain and agony. And now they will be joined by an over-matched but no less belligerent leader. Needless to say, the reunion will not be a happy one!
6. The Unholy Trinity – Satan, his Antichrist, and his False Prophet, will be tormented in the Lake of Flaming Sulphur. The pain and the torment are relentless. The pain and the torment will continue round the clock, day and night. The pain and the torment will be interminable. It will continue day and night, non stop, for ever and ever and ever and ever. There will never be any relief. Justice will have been served, and the Justice will be Eternal!
K. What lessons can we learn from The Final Revolt?
1. The most ideal environment cannot prevent man from sinning, from revolting against God.
2. The personal presence of Christ on earth, reigning as King over the entire earth, cannot prevent man from sinning, from revolting against God.
3. Left to his own resources, man will always revolt against God.
4. The removal of Satan from this earth cannot prevent humans disbelieving Jesus Christ on the inside, even if they are outwardly cooperative.
5. Satan’s ability and power to deceive human beings is limited only by God’s proactive selection and preservation (John 6:44).
6. Satan has an uncanny ability to deceive human beings into thinking that they can get away with rebelling against Jesus and God.
7. People on this earth either choose to serve Jesus or Satan. There is no middle ground.
is impossible for Satan to defeat God and
it is impossible for Satan, with all his
extraordinary power and authority, to defeat God and Jesus, how much
more is it
impossible for mere man to defeat God and Jesus?
final destination for Satan, God’s greatest
Adversary, is Eternity in the Lake of Fire and Sulphur
11. The doom for all who reject Jesus and follow Satan is also fiery destruction (Rev. 20:9, 11-15).
12. There is only one known remedy for escaping fiery destruction, and that is to place your confidence in Jesus, serving God’s Anointed King, instead of allowing yourself to be deceived by Satan and serving him (John 3:16, 18, 36).
13. In the final analysis there are only two choices, life and death (John 5:24). Which will you choose? Will you, the reader, choose to serve Jesus, who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6; 1 John 5:10-13) – or Satan, who is the great Deceiver and Murderer (John 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8)?
Prepared by James T. Bartsch
Published online by WordExplain.com
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Bible quotations and Bible Study questions are based upon the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.
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by James T. Bartsch