Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#Revleation 20> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Millennial Kingdom, Great White Throne ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (3-22)
     B. The Millennial Kingdom of Christ (20a)
     C. The Great White Throne Judgment (20b)


Chapter 20 describes events which follow the return of Christ to earth. Here, we see the binding of Satan, the reign of Christ and saints in the millennial kingdom, the loosing of Satan, the deceit of the nations resulting in a final revolt against Christ, the putting down of this rebellion, Satan cast in to the lake of fire, and the Great White Throne Judgment.  

B. The Millennial Kingdom of Christ (20a)

First, Satan is bound. An angel, with the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain, lays hold on Satan, who is here described as "the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan". For a thousand years, the same amount of time as Christ's millennial kingdom, Satan will be bound in the abyss, unable to influence the nations. Today, Satan "walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

Next, saints will rule with Christ in His millennial kingdom on earth. John saw "thrones", with people sitting on them, to whom judgment had been given. Although there are numerous passages which indicate that several groups, including the church, and the twelve apostles, will reign with Christ, only tribulation saints are mentioned here. These are referred to as "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 had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands". The tribulation martyrs will reign "with Christ a thousand years".

Two resurrections appear in Revelation 20--the first and the second. The first resurrection is described as "blessed", as those who take part in it will not be hurt by the second death, which is the lake of fire (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8). The term "first", does not mean that this is the first time people will be raised from the dead, but rather, shows the difference between the resurrection of saints and of the lost. Several resurrections have preceded that of the tribulation saints in Revelation 20. 1 Corinthians 15:22, for example, calls the resurrection of Christ the "firstfruits" of those who will follow "every man in his own order". Also, a number of saints rose just after Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:6). Thus, the first resurrection consists of the all the resurrections of the righteous, and stands in contrast to the resurrection of the lost, which will occur after the millennium.

At the end of the thousand years, "Satan shall be loosed out of his prison". Immediately, he will "go out to deceive the nations", and will succeed in gathering them to rebel against Christ. This vast army, which is numbered "as the sand of the sea", will compass the camp of the saints, where God will quickly devour them with fire from heaven. Satan will then be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are still being tormented. This "torment" will endure "day and night for ever and ever" (v10).

C. The Great White Throne Judgment (20b)

Finally, Christ will judge the dead of all ages, at the Great White Throne. The majesty of Christ is such that the present heavens and earth will flee from His face, and be dissolved (cf. 2 Peter 3:12). Who will appear in this judgment? John saw, "the dead, small and great". This group will consist of every unsaved (and thus also spiritually dead) individual of all time, whose name "was not found written in the book of life". They will be judged "according to their works", as recorded in "the books", and "cast into the lake of fire", which "is the second death".

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