Many people reject God today because of the problem of evil. They say they can't believe in a God who allows suffering and evil throughout the world. But what will be their excuse when God sets the world right?
The Final Rebellion
Conventions and ceremonies were held around the world under the direction of the Global Peace Festival. Delegates from countries all over the globe converged on Taiwan where elaborate ceremonies were held and speeches delivered from dignitaries from around the globe. The ceremonies that took place simultaneously at different locations involved and included hundreds of thousands of people.
This peace initiative which will hold ceremonies this coming year in nearly a dozen countries, including the United States, preaches a message that global peace can come if we commit ourselves to the family, acts of service and, interfaith dialogue.
Which is a politically correct way of saying, one religion shouldn’t try to evangelize another . . . we should let everybody alone.
Which is exactly what the Apostle Paul didn’t do when he visited Athens and saw all the monuments to all the gods and even that one monument to the unknown god. Paul immediately gained an audience and introduced to Athens who that unknown God was and then warned them of the coming judgment of that God – through Jesus Christ.
So much for interfaith dialogue.
I did a little research and learned that the Global Peace Festival flies under the banner, One Family Under God. That’s their motto. That sounds pretty good, right?
However, one leader in the movement was clear – and on record – that God can be interpreted to mean any god you so desire.
The important thing, I guess, is that you have one. I dug a little deeper and discovered that the underpinnings of the Global Peace Festival is the Unification church of Rev. Sun Yung Moon, whose son now leads it.
One Family Under God is really interpreted, One Family under any God but the Bible’s God.
And that’s where Christianity becomes the problem, doesn’t it? Christianity’s core belief is that Christ is the one and only, true and living God – resurrected and returning.
Global peace will finally arrive on the heels of the Prince of Peace.
You remember that little song – from the 80’s I believe?
It won’t be old Buddha who’s sittin’ on that throne;
And it won’t be old Mohammed that’s calling us home;
It won’t be Hare Krishna who plays that trumpet tune,
Cause we’re going to see the Son, not Reverend Moon.
Who would have ever thought that old song would be so current? We ought to teach that to a brand new generation.
Nevertheless, the growth of peace movements capture the imagination of mankind, don’t they?
There is something in the heart of mankind that longs for world peace . . . that golden age.
And it will come! At last, it will come following the return of Jesus Christ to planet earth with His beloved to reign from the city of gold for one thousand years.
The Apostle John has already revealed that much to us in Revelation chapter 20.
Verse 6 summarizes the glory of that golden age; 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.
Now, just why does God introduce a 1,000 year reign? Why not move from the Tribulation immediately into the New Heaven and the New Earth?
Why put off heaven for another 1,000 years?
Why bother with a Millennial Kingdom – a 1,000 year Kingdom?
Reasons for the Millennial Kingdom:
I’ll give you 5 reasons quickly.
- First, to fulfill God’s promises to restore Israel to their land as a redeemed nation (Genesis 15 and Jeremiah 30:5-8). This is when the dessert will blossom as a rose (Isaiah 35:1) and the reconstituted nation of Israel will occupy the land without disturbance for 1,000 years;
So the Millennial Kingdom occurs because God will keep His literal promises to Israel . . . literally.
- Secondly, the Millennial Kingdom will also fulfill Christ’s promises to the church. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians of their future and ours and he revealed that believers will one day judge the world (I Corinthians 6:2); Christ also promised the church in Revelation chapters 3:21 that she would reign with Him on His glorious throne;
The Millennial Kingdom – this 1,000 year reign of Christ from Jerusalem is His way of fulfilling His promises to Israel and the church.
- Third, the Kingdom will fulfill the promises of God the Father to God the Son (Psalm 2). The Father has appointed his Son to reign and has already promised to give him the nations as His inheritance. Satan tempted Christ by offering to give Him the kingdoms of the world and bypass the cross and suffering. But Christ knew Satan’s offer was nothing but sawdust and sand.
The kingdoms of the world will be His inheritance according to Divine plans and it will display the vindication and glory of Christ.
- Fourth, the literal millennial reign will occur to provide an answer to the prayers of the saints who’ve been looking for a city constructed without human hands and a kingdom ruled by sovereign God. From Abraham til today, we’ve been praying, “Thy Kingdom Come!” And it will – literally, physically.
The Millennial Kingdom is going to come in order to answer the prayers of the saints of all ages; display the glory of Christ; fulfill the promises of God to the church and the nation Israel.
One more . . .
- The Millennial Kingdom will exist to ultimately demonstrate beyond any doubt and any denial that mankind is utterly sinful and without excuse.
Apart from the grace of God, man will choose to listen to the serpent and eat the forbidden fruit; mankind is naturally in rebellion against the rule of God.
In our last study, Satan was incarcerated and the Savior was coroneted. The Golden Age had begun.
And it began with the saints returning with Christ to set up His kingdom. That would include you, the church, Old Testament saints, martyred Tribulation saints. We make up the immortal, glorified co-regents who reign with Christ.
Those who survive the Tribulation – and there will be millions of people who do – and who have also believed the gospel of Christ – including the Nation of Israel who sees their Messiah returning in the sky and experiences a national conversion (Zechariah 12:10) – all of these mortals will enter the Kingdom as subjects.
So, only the redeemed, Christ followers are allowed to enter. Matthew 25 informs us that those who don’t believe in Christ will be condemned to await their final judgment, which we’ll study next Lord’s day, barring another ice storm in these days of obvious global warming.
To review then, no unsaved person will enter the Millennial Kingdom. All those who’ve survive and believed in Christ for who He said He was – the way, the truth and the life – and no one comes to the Father except by way of Him (John 14:6).
These Tribulation believers, although converted, will still have their sin nature. They are redeemed and secure in Christ – they can’t lose their position as subjects of His Kingdom anymore than you can lose your position as members of Christ’s body – however, they will still have their sin nature as mortals and will pass along that sin nature to their children just as it has been passed along since Adam’s fall.
And each successive generation will need to hear and respond to the gospel of salvation through Christ, the reigning Lord. / John MacArthur, Revelation: Volume 2 (Moody Press, 2000), p. 239
And what a great time for evangelism! The Millennial Temple will hold annual sacrifices as memorials to the Lamb of God; we will also celebrate communion as we know it – for Christ promised His church that He would drink the memorial cup with us in the kingdom (Matthew 26:29).
Imagine the visual aids to the gospel – the sacrifices held annually in Jerusalem to picture Christ’s sacrifice for our sin; the communion cup and bread illustrating the memorial of the New Testament church – and by the way, we will not be introducing people to an invisible God – but a visible reigning Savior.
Look, you can see at the top of the golden city the glory of His throne!
I agree with evangelical Bible scholars who say that these annual sacrifices will be opportunities for the nations to come and see Jesus Christ personally, physically . . . their willing, gracious Redeemer.
And what a time to be alive – as a glorified immortal, reigning with Christ or even as a mortal subject of the kingdom.
What an amazing Kingdom it will be.
Aspects of the Kingdom
- There will be a perfect government system.
No bribery . . . no corruption . . . no greed . . . no dishonesty . . . no immorality or self-serving among government officials.
There will be no elections either . . . imagine that . . . for the glorified saints will occupy the positions of authority around the world as co-regents with Christ who reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10).
- Not only is there a perfect government, but there will be a pristine environment.
Christ’s return changes everything back to Eden like systems.
Pollution becomes a problem of the past; natural resources will revert back to the purity of early creation and rain will be abundant (Isaiah 30:23) and the land will reflect the glory of God (Isaiah 35:1-2). / John Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Zondervan, 1959), p. 317
All the animals will become herbivores once again as they were in the Garden of Eden. Isaiah the prophet wrote these amazing words, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat, and the calf and the young lion will feed together; and a little boy will lead them – they’ll be his playmates. Isaiah goes on; also the cow and the bear will graze and the young will lie down together and the lion will eat straw like the ox. (Isaiah 11:6-7)
The curse is only partially lifted because there will still be death; animals will still die. / Ibid
In fact, there will be animal sacrifices in the Temple and those sacrifices will also be eaten by the priests, implying that we will still be able to enjoy eating meat . . . and you can still enjoy eating vegetables.
But the animals will no longer be a threat – they will be for the sheer enjoyment and pleasure and exploration of mankind and a demonstration of the creative glory of God.
I had a young boy come up to me after the last service and ask me if our pets were going to be in heaven. I told him that I believe Isaiah makes it pretty clear that we’ll have animals to play with and enjoy and he might end up with any number of amazing pets.
But I had to tell him that we don’t have any biblical indication that our pets will be in heaven. No matter how many times they’ve been blessed at some church.
I read one interesting article not too long ago that said that the pets of Christians get to go to heaven. That’s just really bad theology. Listen, I’ve had some pets I’d rather not see in heaven if it’s all the same to you.
They would ruin heaven for me if they followed me around.
Listen, if the pets of believers go to heaven, where do the pets of unbelievers go? Bad theology makes things worse, not better.
What we do know is that animals will no longer be predators but perfectly tame enough to play with even the wildest of animals – from the dinosaur to the leopard to the cobra.
In the Millennial Kingdom there will be a perfect government and a pristine environment.
- Third, there will be prolonged life spans
The mortals who are born and live during the Kingdom will live such long lives that a 100 year old man will be considered a young man. (Isaiah 65:20)
Again, the Millennial Kingdom reflects many of the conditions of early creation and there is a return to the life spans of Adam who lived 930 years and Kenan who lived 910 years and Lamech who lived 777 years (Genesis chapter 5)
All of this implies a return to the protective climates and conditions of life following the Garden of Eden.
- There will be pronounced health improvements
For all the mortals who live during the Kingdom, the prophets reveal that subjects of the Kingdom will never say they are sick (Isaiah 33:24).
Those mortals who enter the Kingdom with disabilities or sicknesses will be healed (Isaiah 33:24)
Isaiah writes of this glorious kingdom that the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped and the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. . .” (Isaiah 35:5-6)
Perfect government, pristine environment; prolonged life spans for mortals; pronounced health improvements and fifth;
- There will be profuse resources
The Kingdom will be a time of unparalleled abundance and prosperity. Everything the prosperity preachers have been misinterpreting for this age, are intended for that age (Joel chapter 2 and Amos chapter 9)
And their misinterpretations have caused untold sorrow and confusion to so many people who’ve been led to believe they just didn’t have enough faith.
This is the era of health and bounty and peace and dominion and righteousness for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)
- Principled rulers
We, confirmed immortals, no longer struggling with a sin nature that is, for us, forever gone, will rule and reign with perfect justice and balance and wisdom and godly principle.
- The final aspect I’ll refer to is first and foremost in its importance but I’ve saved the best for last – there is the present and perceptible Savior King.
In other words, we will have the ability to serve Him, not as we do now – an invisible Lord we struggle in our flesh and minds to understand and follow.
But there will be face to face communication and face to face dedication; face to face appreciation – imagine saying “Thank you Lord – to His face and hearing His commendation in return!
Face to face devotion and face to face adoration.
This is indeed the Golden Age. This is the world peace festival for us that will last a thousand years on planet earth.
Surely the world will believe and follow Christ in these conditions.
No doubt billions will.
But the promised Millennial Kingdom comes to a close with this significant event.
Notice Revelation 20 and verse 7. And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations . . .
Now wait a second . . . hold on a moment.
Satan doesn’t escape from his prison . . . he’s released. Why in the world would God let Satan loose?
Lock him up and throw away the key, right?!
God intends to prove that man hasn’t changed from the Garden to the Kingdom.
Mankind is ever ready to rebel. They only need an excuse . . . they only need a leader.
Look how quickly our own country has turned its back on the Biblical morals and many of the beliefs of our founding fathers – nationally held truths abandoned in less than 300 years.
In 250 years we’ve gone from a nation that believed all men were created by God to a national disavowal of any notion of a Creator God.
In less than 7 generations our national school system promotes the absolute absence of a Creator and anything having to do with the God of the Bible is prohibited.
Imagine what might be happening in the minds and hearts of the unredeemed over the course of 1,000 years.
We have hints of trouble from the prophets, who tell us that rebels will face swift judgment – implying a growing rebellion of unrepentant sinners (Psalm 2:9-10).
We’re told by the prophet Zechariah that nations who refuse to come to Jerusalem for the annual worship of Christ will not receive rain upon their land (Zechariah 14:16-18).
In fact, Zechariah implies that Egypt will refuse over time to worship Christ as a nation (Zechariah 14:19). / Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record (Tyndale, 1986), p. 421
Mankind will simply love his sin more than the living, glorious Savior. / MacArthur, p. 240
Imagine, here in a perfect society, with pristine living conditions, and prosperous health and plenty of resources, mankind by the millions will be ready to follow the Devil rather than Christ. / Stewart Custer, From Patmos to Paradise (BJU Press, 2004), p. 226
This is the Garden of Eden Part 2. Human nature has not changed from the Garden to the Kingdom.
And Satan hasn’t changed one bit either.
As soon as his prison door swings open, he takes off to bring one more insult to the face of Christ. He already knows he’s defeated, but he doesn’t care.
What matters most to him is that he can deceive millions of people who are ready and waiting. He hates Christ more than ever. And he loves more than anything to cause the created human race to raise their fist against Creator God just like he did at the beginning of time.
Robert Mounce said it this way: A thousand years of confinement does not alter Satan’s plans – nor does a thousand years of [Millennial conditions] change man’s basic tendency to rebel against his Creator; nothing is altered by the mere passing of time. / Robert Mounce, quoted in Life Application Bible Commentary, Revelation (Tyndale, 2000), p. 243
You have had 25 generations born into the Kingdom as mortals over the passing of time.
Children of believing parents during this church age can inwardly reject Christ and become gospel-hardened; likewise, children during the Kingdom will become glory-hardened.” / John Phillips, Exploring Revelation (Loizeaux Brothers, 1991), p. 240
“Yea, yea, we see the golden palace . . . yea, we took that field trip to Jerusalem 170 years ago . . . we see these immortals who claim they’ll live forever . . . we’ve heard all about the King and how He died for our sins 3,000 years ago . . . so what . . . what right does He have to rule over me?”
And the Serpent says, “You’re exactly right to feel that way . . . why should Jesus Christ decide who lives in that house of gold.”
Satan has lost none of his cunning with the passing of years. He knows exactly what to say and what to do to bring about one final rebellion because men are still men, and sin is still sin, and
he knows how to bring them together for this one last uprising. / Ibid
John writes, verse 8 that Satan is able to recruit, from the four corners of the earth – in other words, from the four points of the compass – North, South, East and West.
John mentions Gog and Magog who are involved as well. They represent the Russian and northern nations who have already marched against Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation period in Revelation chapter 6.
Because these two unique names reappear, there are those who believe this battle in Revelation 20 is the same battle narrated in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
On closer inspection, which we accomplished when we studied Revelation chapter 6, the Ezekiel battle is not the same as this battle in Revelation chapter 20.
The Ezekiel battle corresponds to the earlier battle in Revelation 6, which occurs during the early days of the Tribulation. This conflict in Revelation 20 takes place after the close of the Millennial Kingdom.
Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 join other nations living around the Middle East. In Revelation chapter 20, the nations come from the four corners of the earth.
After the battle takes place in the Tribulation, according to Ezekiel, the dead will be buried. Here in Revelation 20, as you’ll see in a moment, the armies are instantly cremated as fire falls from heaven. / Sam Gordon, Worthy is the Lamb; A Walk Through Revelation(Ambassador, 2000), p. 413
Gog and Magog are certainly, literally included in this battle, but their names are emblematic of the enemies of Israel and her God as they have been for thousands of years.
Listen, God is simply going to allow the unredeemed people on planet earth one last gasp – one final fling – to forever prove the fallen nature of mankind is not partial, but total.
But this really isn’t much of a battle . . . in reality it’s a divine execution. / Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom (BMH Books, 1959), p. 508
Notice what John records in verse 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.
Not one shot is fired. Not one sword unsheathed.
Suddenly, it will seem like the sky bursts into flames.
The armies whose number resembles the sand of the seashore has surrounded Jerusalem and suddenly a falling ring of fire will surround the city of Jerusalem radiating outward in all directions until all the armies are engulfed and destroyed by this descending, surging sea of flames. / Adapted from Morris, p. 424
The final judgment is must moments away.
And what does this final rebellion prove?
At least 3 truths:
- A perfect Ruler does not guarantee a perfect heart!
- A clean environment does not erase inward corruption!
- Solving social problems does not solve the sin problem!
Listen, mankind’s biggest problem has never been external, but internal.
Mankind has a heart condition and his biggest problem is that his heart is corrupt and his nature is fallen. He must be redeemed.
You can feed him . . . educate him . . . medicate him . . . insure him . . . heal him . . . clothe him and employee him . . . and he still has a sinner’s heart that needs to be redeemed because you’re still gonna have bury him and after that, the judgment.
Man’s greatest problem is not the parents he went home with from the hospital; his real problems didn’t come from whether or not his mother breast fed him or bottle fed him – I don’t care what you’ve read; mankind’s problems had nothing to do with how old he was when he learned to walk – if he was in the 75th percentile of normal growth patterns or at the bottom of the class; it had nothing to do with how old he was when he got potty trained – his problem isn’t related to the methods his parents used to potty train him – whether they bribed him or gave him candy or got him a puppy; his biggest problem is not the school he was educated in and the neighborhood he grew up in, or the family car he drove around in or the job he had to work in.
His biggest problem has never been out there – his biggest problem has always been in here.
The Millennial Kingdom will be perfect conditions. Perfect justice and balance; a perfect Law Giver on the throne; and yet this final rebellion will prove that man might seem to conform to God’s standard, but his heart is disloyal and ready to rebel against the authority that holds him back.
Havv you ever been driving down the interstate and come up on a pack of cars driving in both lanes – doing exactly 55 miles an hour. You wonder, “What in the world is wrong with these people.” 55 miles an hour is a guideline.
That speed limit sign means that’s the minimum you should be driving or you don’t belong on the interstate. Then after some time you see up ahead a highway patrol car taking an exit off the interstate – aha, that’s why. And as soon as he’s up that exit ramp, what does everybody do – except you and me and a few other righteous people.
The presence of the law enforcer produced conformity to the law but not loyalty to the law’s standard. And certainly not love for the law giver.
There has been outward conformity . . . but over time . . . the King is way off in Jerusalem . . . maybe he can’t see this far down the interstate. There are a lot of trees between us.
Can radar can go through trees . . . you ever wondered that? I haven’t!
Listen, this final rebellion will reveal that apart from God’s saving grace, mankind will be unmoved by the peace and joy and righteousness and glory of the Millennial Kingdom and as soon as they get the chance – as soon as they are deceived into believing they can overthrow that Ruler seated on the golden throne – they will march against Him.
And they will fail, in this final rebellion against God.
And Satan’s doom is now finalized.
Before we wrap up our study, notice in verse 10 that Satan is cast forever into the lake of fire and brimstone.
The verb eblethe (eblhqh) translated thrown is a prophetic aorist passive verb which may not sound all that interesting to you, but it really is. It informs us that some unnamed agent throws the Devil into this everlasting ocean of fire. / Adapted from Robert L. Thomas, Revelation: Volume 2 (Moody Press, 1995), p. 426
Who is this unnamed agent?
We’re not told.
We do know it would be someone empowered by God, and that would be enough to cast even Satan into Hell.
But who would be given this amazing privilege of judgment.
I can only guess, of course, because the Bible doesn’t tell us. And maybe you’re thinking it really doesn’t matter. It think it’s worthy of consideration.
I don’t think it’s an angel, because a representative of the angelic hosts has already been given the privilege to cast Satan into the abyss at the beginning of chapter 20. In that abyss, Satan has been confined during these past one thousand years.
And what a fitting privilege for one of the angels who resisted the temptation of Satan at the beginning of creation to rebel against God, to have had the representative honor of overpowering the highest cherub and putting him into prison.
And angel has already had his moment.
I don’t think it would be an angel here.
I don’t think it is Christ either. It is His word alone that has the power to cast Satan into Hell, and yet God has chosen someone to carry out His word of judgment.
If the agent isn’t a representative of the Triune God, or the angelic hosts, who do we have left?
The human race.
What human being would best represent the human race in casting Satan away for good.
What better representative of the human race to carry out this task than the first human created and the representative of fallen, defeated, dying humanity.
It was Adam and Eve who were the first to hear the serpents words of defiance . . . Eve, you were deceived by this Serpent . . . Adam you knowingly rebelled.
Imagine living for thousands of years, forgiven yes, but with the understanding that it was you who opened the door for sin and sorrow and death to enter the human race.
Imagine living for 1,000’s of years with your name attached to sin – Adam’s sin; Adam’s nature; the Fall of Adam.
It was part of God’s plan all along for the glory of His grace and His plan of His redemption.
But here at the end of this final rebellion . . . what better person to end Satan’s grasp over humanity, than the human being whose sin began it all.
I hope it’s Adam. I would love to see Adam – the representative of all of us who have spent our lives under the curse – and in the battle – I’d love to see our human father who failed, cast Satan away forever. What a moment of triumph for us all.
We don’t know if it’s Adam, but we do know that it ends . . . this is Satan’s everlasting doom and this is the last time he will ever be seen by the redeemed again.
My friends, when Satan comes along and begins to remind you of your present or your past, remind him of his future. / Daymond R. Duck/Larry Richards, The Smart Guide to the Bible: Revelation (Thomas Nelson, 2006), p. 306
You, a sinner . . . a son or daughter of Adam and Eve – you have sinned – you have also rebelled.
Ah, but through Christ your gracious, sovereign, atoning King, you have been forgiven . . . you have been redeemed.
So when Satan comes along reminds you of your sinful past and your stumbling present . . . remind him of his future!
Sing a cappella
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.