Sunday, October 10, 2010

Revelation 20:7-9

Verse 7-8 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison. And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”

After the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let loose from his imprisonment. The purpose being to allow him to round up the rebels so that once again God can clean up the earth and get rid of the chaff, as he did a thousand years previously. Satan goes out and deceives not just individual people, but entire nations around the planet. The rebels number as the sands of the sea. That means that the majority of those who live under the millennial reign will hate it and God. Man really loves his sin. He will have been restrained because he has been ruled with a rod of iron, and he dare not live otherwise, because to do so is immediate judgment. People will have hundreds of years to seethe in their resentment towards what they feel is repression. They will be forced to be good when their inclination is to be bad. They will jump at the chance to follow Satan, even knowing that he lost the last time around. As for most, it will be a story that they have heard and not something they lived through, they will not believe it, just as people do not believe the Bible nowadays. And this in spite of the fact that they will live with the very real presence of God on earth.

Here is where it gets interesting. Everybody refers to Ezekiel 38 and 39 as always referring to a war that takes place at some point during our end times before the Second Coming. I believe it is true that those chapters do refer to a war at that time. Some say that it is the war that kicks off the seven years. At the moment (and I admit I need to study it much more thoroughly to be sure) I believe it is actually speaking of the war of Armageddon. But as with all prophecies, there is a near and far fulfillment. In this case, the first fulfillment has not happened yet and is still future. The second fulfillment comes, though, at the time of the war at the end of the millennium. That is why one has to sift through the verses and try to decide what refers to our immediate future and what refers to the far distant future. Most of the other prophecies have already had their first fulfillment in Israel and so we can sift out what referred to their time and what did not. It makes it much easier to see what refers to our time. This is not the case with these passages, so it is harder to determine what exactly will happen in our time. We know that God is referring us back to Ezekiel here because of the mention of Gog and Magog. It is a clear message for us to look back to those passages, especially given that they have had no fulfillment at all yet, and as said before, prophecies tend to be used twice. God uses His word efficiently.

Verse 9 “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

As before at Armageddon, Satan takes his world armies to Jerusalem (the beloved city) to destroy the temple and all of Israel. This time there is no rider on a horse. It is basically the same as before though in that what is described in Zechariah as taking place (think Indian Jones and the Ark of the Covenant and all those melting people) sort of takes place again. With no battle, the armies are merely consumed as they stand, by fire coming down out of heaven. Quick and easy. The last time it took seven years of waiting and horrors before the climax of Armageddon took place. This time, it is a short-lived episode. Satan rounds people up as quickly as possible, and God disposes of them the same way. There is no mortgage to reclaim, no agreement to fulfill, so it is over and done before it barely gets started. God has no patience to endure it this time around.

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