29 December 2017 Bible Reading
John sees an angel coming down from heaven. In his hand is the key to the abyss (bottomless pit) and a great chain. This is the same abyss from Revelation 9:1 where we saw Abaddon/Apollyon, symbolic of Satan, open the abyss and release locusts. Those locusts were symbolic of Satan unleashing the Roman Empire as a persecutor of Christians. The angel seizes the dragon and binds him for 1000 years. We are reminded that the dragon is Satan. Satan is thrown into the abyss, shut it, and sealed it for the 1000 years. The binding means that Satan “might not deceive the nations any longer.” This does not mean that Satan no longer deceives people. What has changed is that God has taken away Satan’s ability to operate through a world power. As Daniel prophesied in Daniel 2:44 the kingdoms of the earth have been brought to an end by the kingdom of God that shall never be destroyed.
As with all the numbers in Revelation, 1,000 years is symbolic. It simply means a relatively long time. After the 1000 years. Satan will be released “for a little while.” Satan is going to be sealed in the abyss for a significant duration of time while his release will be for a very short amount of time.
The saints were previously seen as under the altar. They are killed for the cause of Christ either by their testimony of Jesus or for not worshiping the beast. They are now pictured as seated on thrones and reigning with Christ.
The thousand years are the time of the reign of Christ (20:4,6). The scriptures teach that the reign of Christ began when he rose from the dead. It is the result of the ‘war in Heaven’ described in chapter 12.
When the thousand years are ended, Satan is going to be released from his prison in the abyss and will come out to deceive the nations again. We noted at the beginning of this lesson that Satan being prevented from deceiving the nations meant that a world empire would not be able to persecute the Christians nor deceive the world into worshiping it rather than God. Verse 8 indicates that Satan will unleash one more effort as he did during the days of the Roman Empire. Satan is going to use a world power to persecute Christians and sway the world away from worshiping the true God.
Revelation 20:8 identifies Gog and Magog as “the nations that are at the four corners of the earth.” Gog and Magog appear in Ezekiel 38-39.
In speaking about Gog, God said, “Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them?” (Ezekiel 38:17) Gog and Magog represent the enemies of God’s people. These are the nations of the world that fight against God’s people. The devil is going to exert his power over the nations of the world again to gather for battle. The devil will have the power to deceive the nations again just as he deceived those during the days of the Roman Empire, igniting persecution and false worship.
Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ, the place where the beast and false prophet were already cast in chapter 19. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” (Matthew 25:41) Eternal torment in hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. Satan is now cast into the punishment he deserves.
The final scene of this chapter is of a great white throne. This is the scene of final judgment. Earth and sky are no longer needed. The time for this world is over.
14 Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your plunder will be divided within you. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 You shall flee by the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azel; yes, you shall flee, just like you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Yahweh my God will come, and all the holy ones with you.[a] 6 It will happen in that day, that there will not be light, cold, or frost. 7 It will be a unique day which is known to Yahweh; not day, and not night; but it will come to pass, that at evening time there will be light.
8 It will happen in that day, that living waters will go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter will it be.
9 Yahweh will be King over all the earth. In that day Yahweh will be one, and his name one. 10 All the land will be made like the Arabah, from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and she will be lifted up, and will dwell in her place, from Benjamin’s gate to the place of the first gate, to the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 Men will dwell therein, and there will be no more curse; but Jerusalem will dwell safely. 12 This will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the peoples who have fought against Jerusalem: their flesh will consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will consume away in their sockets, and their tongue will consume away in their mouth. 13 It will happen in that day, that a great panic from Yahweh will be among them; and they will lay hold everyone on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand will rise up against the hand of his neighbor. 14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered together: gold, and silver, and clothing, in great abundance.
15 So will be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the donkey, and of all the animals that will be in those camps, as that plague. 16 It will happen that everyone who is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of Armies, and to keep the feast of tents. 17 It will be, that whoever of all the families of the earth doesn’t go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of Armies, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt doesn’t go up, and doesn’t come, neither will it rain on them. This will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike the nations that don’t go up to keep the feast of tents. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations that don’t go up to keep the feast of tents. 20 In that day there will be on the bells of the horses, “HOLY TO YAHWEH”; and the pots in Yahweh’s house will be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to Yahweh of Armies; and all those who sacrifice will come and take of them, and cook in them. In that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of Yahweh of Armies.
20 I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time. 4 I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image, and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years.
7 And after the thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and he will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up over the width of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. Fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them. 10 The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11 I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. 12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.
148 Praise Yah!
Praise Yahweh from the heavens!
Praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all his army!
3 Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you heavens of heavens,
You waters that are above the heavens.
5 Let them praise Yahweh’s name,
For he commanded, and they were created.
6 He has also established them forever and ever.
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
7 Praise Yahweh from the earth,
you great sea creatures, and all depths!
8 Lightning and hail, snow and clouds;
stormy wind, fulfilling his word;
9 mountains and all hills;
fruit trees and all cedars;
10 wild animals and all livestock;
small creatures and flying birds;
11 kings of the earth and all peoples;
princes and all judges of the earth;
12 both young men and maidens;
old men and children:
13 let them praise Yahweh’s name,
for his name alone is exalted.
His glory is above the earth and the heavens.
14 He has lifted up the horn of his people,
the praise of all his saints;
even of the children of Israel, a people near to him.
8 Open your mouth for the mute,
in the cause of all who are left desolate.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
and serve justice to the poor and needy.”