The Unchangeable Law

Lesson: 6
The day is coming when laws will be passed regarding worship which go against God's laws. Those who pass the laws will believe what they are doing is right and biblical. We need to know the difference between God's laws and man's laws.
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Tonight our subject is dealing with the topic of the millennium in the Bible, sometimes known as the thousand years. You find this in Revelation 20. It's called 'The Devil's Dungeon.' This topic is really talking about a time when Satan is bound.

Now, before we get into the lesson, we have a little story that helps explain this. In the Bible, when God first created everything in the Garden of Eden, the world and the planet was perfectly healthy and normal. The soil was very vital. It was a paradise - everything grew, nothing died. But then after sin, the environment changed. You can read about this in Genesis chapter 3, verse 17. After the sin of Adam and Eve, it says God declared, "...cursed is the ground for thy sake." That's when thorns and thistles began to appear. And then, additionally, you'll see, in Genesis 3, verse 19, it said, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." Now they had to work the ground - the soil did not cheerfully bring forth its produce and man had to, through the sweat of his brow, labor in the earth to bring out of its - its resources - its bounty. You could also look in Genesis , even when Cain was cursed. You read there in Genesis 4:12, "When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength." What it had originally done, it could not do and it's probably been even deteriorated more since the time of the flood. When God made the world, everybody had a green thumb and - but now the whole creation groans and travails.

So in order to allow the land to heal following heavy farming, God established a law for the children of Israel. Now this, believe it or not, ties into Revelation and it'll help you understand the subject. He told them in Exodus chapter 23, verses 10 and 11, that when they entered the Promised Land and they began to farm their property, he said, "Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people might eat." And so whatever came up volunteer, the poor were allowed to eat it. God would bless them in the good year so they would have plenty to eat during that year, where they'd let the land rest.

You remember the story of Joseph? It says that the land of Egypt - the crops were so abundant during seven years, that when a famine came for another seven years, they were able to live off of what happened during the time of abundance. And even when the children of Israel were going through the wilderness, six days a week God rained manna down from heaven for them. He said, 'You'll get twice as much on the sixth day of the week so that you don't have to go out and gather it on the seventh day of the week.

Now, with that in mind, did the Children of Israel follow that law of letting the land rest every seventh year? You know, those farmers were trying to make money and they said, 'I can't afford - you know, another crop and what if our food doesn't last?' And they didn't trust the Lord. There is no record in the Bible that they ever kept that law and allowed that land to rest and did not plant. So you know what happened? They kept farming. After 490 years of them just letting the, you know, farming year after year and never letting the land rest and never leaving a year for the poor, God, then, finally visited judgments on the nation of Israel and they were conquered and carried away to Babylon.

And you can read about this - now notice, 2 Chronicles chapter 36, verse 19. It says, "And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire." You can read also in 2 Chronicles 36, verses 20 and 21, "And them that had escaped from the sword carried he" - king Nebuchadnezzar - "away to Babylon." And so they were taken out of the land of Israel and all the survivors of that battle were taken off to the city of Babylon and notice, this is the whole verse - that whole story summarizes in this verse. Some of you probably never read or caught this before, 2 Chronicles 36:20 - notice - they were to stay there in Babylon "...until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths:" - that they had neglected to let it rest - "for as long as she" - the land - "as long as (the land) lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten" - how many of you remember what a score is? Twenty. You remember Lincoln's Gettysburg address - four score and ten years ago - threescore and ten is seventy so it says, 'While the land was desolate it was keeping Sabbath.

George Washington Carver was famous because he did some studies and realized that the South was so over-farming their land with cotton that they took all their nitrogen out of the ground and he realized that, in order to reverse the depression, they needed to start planting peanuts and sweet potatoes that would re-nitrogenize the soil and bring back the vitality.

So God's pretty smart. He knew that the land needed to rest to keep it fertile. But here, the land had an enforced rest. You know, the Bible says that there's going to be an enforced rest for one thousand years on this planet. You remember the night we talked about the second coming? Talked about how right now we're living at the six thousand-year period in the world's history? 'A day with the Lord is like a thousand years, a thousand years like a day.'

And then it tells us in Revelation, there's a thousand years where we live and reign with Christ. During that time, the Earth is in a state of desolation. It's almost like a millennial Sabbath. Now I'd like to - then at the end of that time - just finish this out - they were allowed to go back to their home country. It says in Nehemiah 1:3, "The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire." This was the condition during the seventy years: broken down and burned with fire - it's going to come up in our study. Then after seventy years they were allowed to go back to the Promised Land.

Alright, very quickly, if you have your Bible I'd like to invite you to turn with me to Revelation chapter 20, verse 1. This lesson is full of landmarks of prophecy. "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan." - Any question about who the devil, Satan, and the dragon are? - "And bound him for" - how long? - "A thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit," - what is that? - "And shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones and they that sat on them, and judgment was committed to them" - judgment was committed to them. "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the Word of God."

You know, we would have thought that was a pretty ancient statement to hear about people being beheaded. 'Oh that's, you know, just the old days in the Bible.' It's been in the news lately, hasn't it? "Beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the Word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." - The ones who come up first and are saved are from the first resurrection. Verse 6, "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.

Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Alright, we're going to pause right there with that as a background for our study.

Now we're going to get into question #1 of the lesson. You've got the picture and let's learn about this dungeon that the devil is confined to. Question #1 in our study: What events mark the beginning of this one thousand-year period? So how do we know - what's the landmarks that begin this time period? You find in 1 Thessalonians 4:6 it says, "For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout,..." The second coming of Jesus is when the Lord descends, and it says "and the dead in Christ shall rise first." Now you notice we read in Revelation, 'Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection." Whenever you hear about firsts, sequentially that means what? Somewhere there's a second. So it's saying 'blessed and holy are those that are in the first..." - You want to be in the first resurrection, friends. That's the resurrection of the saved. And then you read in Revelation 20, verses 4 and 5, "And they lived and reigned with Christ" - for how long? - "a thousand years. But" it tells us "the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are finished. This is the first resurrection."

Now, you do not find the word 'millennium' in the Bible. Millennium is a composite of two latin words that simply mean 'mili' which is a thousand, and 'anum' which means years. And so, the beginning of the one thousand-year period, it starts with what we call the first resurrection and the end of it is the second resurrection. There are two complete separate distinct resurrections. I remember when I first heard this, it kind of surprised me. I thought there was one resurrection at the end of time. The Bible is very clear.

Question #2: What else will happen at the first resurrection? You read in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 51 through 53, it says, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, the last trump. For the trumpet will sound and all the dead will be raised incorruptible and we will be changed. For this corruptible" - it goes on to say - "must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." And so, each of us is going to get - if you're alive when Jesus comes - just think about that. Some people will never die.

There are already a few people who have never died. Who are they? Just two: Enoch and Elijah. The Bible says Elijah - Enoch walked with God and God took him. Elijah went to Heaven in a fiery chariot. There are going to be others who are alive when Jesus comes, that will never experience death. Now, if God asks me what my preference is, that's my preference. God wired us to try to avoid death, right? We try to stay alive, don't we - from day to day? It's sort of natural. But, you know, if I get there and He has to lay me down first, praise the Lord. I just want to be with Him, amen? But some of us will escape it.

So what happens? When the Lord comes down, all of a sudden we go through this miraculous complete and total revitalization where we're transformed, and we get these glorified eternal bodies and it just happens in the twinkling of an eye. That's quicker than a blink. You can read more about this answer; it's in Phillippians 3, verse 21. It says, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." What kind of bodies do we get? Do we turn into ghosts or do we get glorified bodies? What was Jesus' body like when He rose from the dead? Did He tell the disciples to touch Him? It was a glorious body. It was a supernatural body but it was real at the same time. Then He said, 'Do you have anything to eat? I'm hungry. Twice He asked them to feed him. Actually, once He did the cooking - when it was by the seashore.

The other - so He's making it clear. He says, 'I'm not an ethereal ghost.' Your glorified body is a real body. When God made Adam and Eve did they have real bodies? Did He intend them to live forever? Does the Bible say in Heaven we're going to plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them and build houses and inhabit them? We'll be doing real things - we're not just going to be strumming harps on a cloud somewhere. So our bodies will be like Jesus' glorified body.

And again, 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 8, "And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord...shall consume with the brightness of His coming." So when the Lord comes, the dead in Christ that are dead will be caught up. Those who are saved will be transformed and caught up. And what happens to those left behind? Just like what happened to the devil: consumed with the brightness of His coming. Furthermore, Revelation 16:18, "And there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great."

You know, I've been in some earthquakes. We had one in Sacramento - we almost never have them in Sacramento, but we felt one there this last year and they've been having more earthquakes that are like 8. The one in Indonesia they say was 9. This is going to be a 15 on the Richter scale because it says islands are swallowed up and the mountains are shaken out of their foundations. Alright, and it goes on to say, "...and every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of Heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent." You see that picture? That's somebody who's holding walnut-sized hail. I did an amazing fact one time to find out what was the largest hail ever recorded. In Bangladesh they had softball-sized hail. Now, that can kill you. But still, that's not 75 pounds. Can you imagine the world being pummeled by that kind of hail?

Now, when all these things are happening, with the coming of Jesus, this Marks the beginning of a period where Satan is bound. Revelation 20, verses 1 and 2, "an angel...laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years." Now how do you bind a devil? I mean Sampson, they tied him up with all different kinds of ropes and he just broke the ropes. You wonder, is Satan stronger than Sampson? How do you tie up a devil? If we knew how, we'd all want to do it, wouldn't we? Satan is not being bound by ropes, it's the chain that's being referred to. It says the angel had a great chain in his hand. It's talking about a chain of circumstances. The angels once said that they were held in everlasting chains of darkness.

Now, that bottomless pit is a very interesting word and this is what throws people. It comes from a Greek word that you find other places in the Bible. You ever heard the word 'abyss?' It comes from the Greek word 'abussos.' It sounds similar, right? That word 'abussos' it means 'the void; the nothingness. Not too far from here in this state a boy was riding his horse back in 1901, looking for a cow, I think, and he saw a bush on fire and he went to explore it. He saw this black smoke rising up out of this valley and got a little closer and found out it wasn't smoke, it was a vortex - a tornado of bats that were boiling out of a cave. And this boy, sixteen years old, named James White - Jim White - he went and he made a - came back a few days later - he marked the spot. He made a ladder out of some sticks and some barbed wire - it takes a lot of courage to do that - sixteen years old - and he went back down in this abussos by himself with a kerosene light and he was the first to discover and explore - at least of the Europeans - Carlsbad Caverns.

But, you know, when they first found Carlsbad Caverns, there was this one pit - I've been there once, years ago - and they used to call it the bottomless pit because when they first found it and they took people on tours. They'd take a little rock and they'd throw it over the side - and this big old yawing chasm - and the rock would just go...nothing. They said, 'It's bottomless - goes to China.' Well, they finally got an expedition together, you know, a few years later with some ropes and lamps, and they went down. They found it's only about three hundred yards deep. And at the bottom was this very fine lime sand filled with little pebbles that people had thrown over the edge. The pebbles were going down, they were going 'poof' but they didn't hear that. So when you - bottomless pit - it doesn't mean there's really a bottomless pit, like a black hole out there, and the devil's going to be stuck in this bottomless pit. The word 'abussos' means that the devil is chained where he cannot do anything. It's isolation for him.

The same word is used in Luke chapter 8, verse 31. You remember, there's this man who was possessed with a legion of demons and the demons say to Jesus, 'Do not cast us out into the' - same exact word - 'abussos.' Demons and the devil do not want to be cast into nothingness. The devil wants to possess somebody. He possessed a serpent, the devils in this story possessed pigs. They'll possess people. They want to tempt. The devil's a workaholic. With nothing to do - it's torture for him. And so, the bottomless pit is this planet. For one thousand years Satan is going to be bound down here in darkness, with his demons, with no humans alive.

Why? Because when Jesus comes back, what direction do the dead in Christ go? Up - the living saints are transformed and what direction do they go? We will be caught up. Remember, Jesus said, 'I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again to receive you unto Myself that where I am, you may be.' So we're all going back to the mansions He's prepared when He comes, right?

What happens to the wicked who are alive when he comes? The devil and all - the devil's going to run from His presence. All the wicked are destroyed by the brightness of His coming. How many people are alive on the planet at that point? Nobody. Who does the devil have to tempt - him and his demons? They're going to be chained on this dark planet. Now, I've got more proof for that coming up in just a moment.

Question #3: Who will be raised in the second resurrection, and when will it take place? John 5, verses 28 and 29, it says, "And those that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Those are the words of Jesus - two resurrections, you notice that? You've got a resurrection of life when He first comes. The resurrection of destruction is at the end of the thousand years. We know that because you read in Revelation 20:5, "The rest of the dead live not" - now, if all the righteous are raised when Jesus comes, who are the rest of the dead? Only one group left - after you take away the righteous there's only one group left - the wicked, right? The rest of the dead - the wicked - they don't live again until the thousand years are finished. So you see how what separates, like two pillars, this one thousand-year period is the two resurrections.

Question #4: In what condition will the earth be left after this devastating earthquake and hailstorm that begin the one thousand years? Let's let the Bible explain itself. Isaiah 24, verse 19, "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down...the earth is utterly broken down." How many people are on the earth? It's empty. Read now in Jeremiah 4, verse 23, "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void;" - now, you read that and you might think he's talking about creation because it's the same wording. But that's not what he's talking about.

Keep reading, "I beheld...and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled...there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled...the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger." What was the condition of Israel after Nebuchadnezzar came and left? Desolate - cities broken down. Didn't we just read that? Read Jeremiah 25 and verse 33, "and the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth:" - is that clear? - "They shall not be lamented neither gathered nor buried." Why is there nobody to gather them or to bury them? Because there's nobody alive.

Now, I'll tell you why this is such an important subject - I need both hands, I've got to put down my clicker for this. Many dear Christians believe the Tim Lahaye 'Left Behind' scenario of final events, which say - and again, we may just respectfully disagree - but they say that the secret rapture takes place seven years before Jesus actually touches the earth.

They go back to Heaven. Great tribulation - people still alive on Earth during the tribulation - then at the end of that time Jesus comes down and the millennial reign is here on Earth and then at the end of that millennial reign, the wicked are slain and we just occupy the Earth. In that scenario, where is the Earth completely vacated from all life? It doesn't fit. It never happens. It doesn't fit the scheme in the Bible of what it's describing.

And so this is what Protestants used to believe for about 1,500 years and it's getting eclipsed by Hollywood productions now. It tells us 'The slain of the Lord covered the Earth. There is no man. I turn the Earth upside down it's utterly empty. The cities are all broken down. They've all fled from the presence of the Lord by His fierce anger. There's no one to lament or bury them or mourn.' They're all gone. But we're living and reigning with Christ. Satan is bound on this planet. You know, in the Greek Old Testament - it's the same Old Testament as Hebrew except it's in Greek, called the Septuagint, when it says the Earth is void, it uses the word 'abussos.' It calls this planet the same thing. And that verse in Jeremiah uses the word 'abussos.' The Earth was an abyss. Satan is bound on this planet with nobody to tempt and manipulate and he has to look at the consequences of his rebellion for one thousand years. That's a long prison sentence.

Alright, question #5: Where will the saints be during the 1,000 years and what will they be doing? Alright, now we're going to jump to Heaven. It's going to be a prettier picture. John 14, verse 3, Jesus said, "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." He's taking us to where He is - where He's told His disciples He was going. Is it clear we're going up? Yet, the 'Left Behind' scenario says that we spend the millennium here on Earth reigning over the wicked. I don't know about you, but I have no aspirations to reign over the wicked. That would be really strange. Think about that, that the righteous are here on Earth and they've got glorified bodies and they're reigning over the wicked that still marry, have babies and die. It just - it just seems really strange to make that fit.

Revelation 20, verse 4 - what are we doing in Heaven when it says we live and reign with Christ? It tells us in the Bible. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them...and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Now what does 'judgment' mean? Does that mean that we're up there going 'Innocent!' 'Guilty!' 'Innocent!' 'Guilty!' - Who are we judging? Keep reading, it tells us. 1 Corinthians - this is Paul - chapter 6, verse 2, "Do ye not know" - and verse 3 - "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" - Keep going - "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" Good angels or bad angels? See the bad angels are in prison awaiting sentence. They're bound on the earth.

Now, how many of you want another person judging you? But if those in Heaven have the mind and the Spirit of Christ, then is it safe for them to participate in the judgment with Christ? Who ultimately renders the final sentence, us or God? How are we involved in that judgment? Well, several ways. One way, when you get to Heaven there's going to be several surprises. One surprise is going to be that you're there. You'll be very happy. 'Oh, praise, I made it!' Then you all know there'll be another surprise, and that's going to be you'll see people there and you'll go, 'What in the world are they doing here?' I mean, some people are going to be surprised to see Mary Magdalene in a position of honor in Heaven. And can you imagine the look on Stephen - you know, the martyr Stephen? Can you imagine the look on Stephen's face in the resurrection? All of a sudden he sees Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul, and he says to his angel, 'Oh, you know, I don't want to be critical but you guys made a mistake. Last time I saw this guy he was killing us. How in the world did he get here?' Right? Won't that be an interesting reunion in heaven? There's going to be a lot of questions we're going to be asking.

And the third surprise is we're going to say, 'Where is Deacon Jones? He was such a good man. He always prayed such beautiful prayers and he seemed so kind and generous. Why isn't he here?' It might be a family member. You're going to want to have complete satisfaction that God was absolutely fair. Do you know the Bible says those things done in secret will be proclaimed from the housetops? Nothing is hidden from His sight. And we will see, in the lives of those that are not there, why.

Now, if you accept Jesus your sins are under the blood of the lamb. I don't want any of you getting ahold of my DVD of my life. That's one very strong motivator for me to be in the Kingdom. You don't want me getting ahold of yours either, do you? But if you're not saved then someone is going to be able to access every idle word you spoke and everything you did because God says it is all recorded. And 'nothing will be secret,' Jesus said. If our sins are not covered, they'll be laid bare. We want them under the blood, amen? Stricken from the record.

So the saints are doing this judging. We're going to have a thousand years - do you know one question I'm going to ask? I want to meet a lot of the Bible characters when I get to Heaven, don't you? But at some point I'm going to have some time alone with Jacob and we're going to have a little talk. And I'm just going to say, 'Jacob, help me understand. How come you didn't know it was Leah until the morning?' Am I the only one that's read that and wondered how? Isn't that right? I just said, 'I'm going to park that,' and Jacob and I, we're going to talk when I get up there.

You know, there's an interesting story from history. During World War II there was a good man - a Christian man - he was of noble birth, educated in law. His name was Baron Fabian von Schlabrendorff and he - that's quite a name, I know - he was forced into Hitler's army because of his prestige and education, but he was convinced that Hitler was insane - he was a madman. And he actually realized that if they didn't do something, he was going to destroy Europe.

So he was part of the resistance and even part of a plot to assassinate Hitler, but the plot was foiled, he was discovered, he was brought into court, and they were going to execute him. Matter of fact, they brought him into this Berlin court, all the witnesses were there, the room was filled with all these German officers and the judge and everybody that was there, ready to pronounce him guilty. They weren't going to make him wait, they were going to take him right out back by a brick wall and shoot him. They went through the formality of the trial, they declared him guilty, and just as they were leading him out to execute him, an air raid siren went off, the courthouse received a direct hit. Everybody in the courthouse was killed except Baron Fabian von Schlabrendorff who, believe it or not, survived the war and then became a judge in Germany.

Isn't that an interesting turn of events? You know, we're, as Christians, going to be persecuted by the world. We're going to be judged. There'll be a death decree on us. But before that happens, Jesus is going to come and rescue us and the tables are going to turn. That means Paul will, someday, be sitting in judgment of Nero, who declared that Paul should be beheaded. Won't that be interesting? So God is just.

Question #6: What will happen at the close of the 1,000 years? Several things. "Behold" - it says - now, I'm in Zechariah 14, verses 1, 4, 5, and 9, "Behold the day of the Lord cometh,...and His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof." I want to pause there for just a second. When Jesus comes down after he left, there's a specific part of geography he comes to. Where is it? Mount of Olives.

Why the Mount of Olives? That is a very special place to Jesus. You remember when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and he said, 'Lord, not My will, Thy will be done?' Where was He when He prayed that prayer? That's on the Mount of Olives, I've been there. And when Jesus foretold His second coming, you know where He was? Sitting on the Mount of Olives. And when Jesus ascended into Heaven and said 'I will come again.' the last place His feet touched were the Mount of Olives. The angel said, 'He's coming as He left.' Not only is He coming visibly - He's coming in the clouds, He's coming back to the same place. That's why I told you the night we studied the second coming, if anybody comes along and they say, I'm Jesus, if his feet are touching the ground, he's not Jesus, because when Jesus' feet touch the ground, He's coming to the Mount of Olives and it's going to split and form a great valley.

Now why does that happen? It'll be this tremendous earthquake - the Earth's all broken anyway - and it tells us that at that point the New Jerusalem, where we've been living with God - God's space city - coming down from God out of Heaven. Oh, that's our next verse - Revelation 21, verse 2 - it's in your lesson, "And I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." This is the great marriage supper where, finally, the end of that seven thousand-year period takes place. This all happens at the end of that one thousand years - the New Jerusalem comes down. That is the good Jerusalem - city of peace.

Alright, so when that happens, what happens next to now free Satan from his prison? You read in Revelation chapter 20, verse 5 - we already touched on this but we're going to read it again, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." What does that imply? After the thousand years are finished, what happens? They live again. You know what else we read? After the thousand years are finished, Satan is loosed from his prison. What is it that looses Satan from his prison? All the wicked dead who have ever lived are going to come back to life. Now that's going to be a - how many people are alive in the world today? 7 Billion? Think about every human that's ever lived. Now, is the majority going to be in the city with the saved or outside the city with the lost? I wish it wasn't so, but Jesus made it clear, 'Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it. Broad is the way that leads to destruction.'

How many people are in Albuquerque tonight? But how many people are here searching the Word of God, even though we advertised all over town, 'Would you like to know the future?' People are preoccupied with the cares of this life. So in that resurrection of the lost, is it going to be the minority or the majority of mankind? It'll be the majority that's in the bad resurrection, right? Satan now sees all these people who have followed him all during their earthly lives. He suddenly has something to do again, right? They don't live till the thousand years is finished.

Now, go to Revelation 20, verse 7, "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison." What looses him? He's now got this vast army again that's always listened to him before. They're ready and able to listen to him again and he says, 'See that city? That was taken from me by an imposter. I am the real son of God.' And he still has a lot of his former power and glory and beauty and wisdom and he knows these people. He knows how to manipulate the masses. And think about who's going to be in the crowd that day. He's going to have many of the great generals of history. You want another - I like to sprinkle amazing facts in with the presentation. You know who this fellow is? Napoleon Bonaparte? Did you know that Napoleon, who was a brilliant little general, and he led France into a number of victories. Finally, when he saw a vacuum of power he, basically, seized it and declared himself the Emperor of France and he won a series of victories and he was beginning to take over all of Western Europe. And that was like from 1804 to 1815. But, finally, a confederation of European forces fought with him, he was captured, and they banished him to the island of Elba, off of Italy, and they said, 'You've got to stay there.'

Well, he stayed there for awhile, but he got restless. He managed to get the other soldiers on the island - he convinced them to follow him - he escaped from Elba, came back to France, found all of his old officers were not very happy listening to the new king, and they were ordered to arrest Napoleon. He said, 'Are you going to shoot your Emperor?' And they fell down and they worshiped him. He said, 'We can take France back to her days of glory.' And he went back into power again for a short season. About a hundred - they called it the hundred-year reign - hundred-day reign, rather - of Napoleon and then, finally, at Waterloo, he was soundly defeated. This time they said, 'No, we're putting you out in the middle of the ocean. They sent him to St. Helena. He died there five and a half years later.

But it's interesting, like the devil he was banished, but came back for a brief episode of power again. You know why? It showed he couldn't change. Napoleon still had the same aspirations. He wanted to be king of the world.

So what will Satan do when the wicked are raised? This is question #8 in your lesson. Revelation 20, verses 8 and 9, it says, "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." - And it goes on to say, "They went up on the breadth of the Earth and they compassed the camp of the saints about; the beloved city." So, he rallies all the wicked that have ever lived and he says, 'We outnumber them' - who knows? - A hundred to one? Ten to one? Whatever it is. And Napoleon will probably be in that crowd, won't he? Alexander the Great. Adolph Hitler, I'm guessing - not that he was a great general. He was actually a pretty bad general. He was a motivational speaker. But - and then all of these people are going to be there at the devil's command. They're going to try and build these implements of war. They're going to see the New Jerusalem, which is a very real city.

Now, do you realize that at this point in history, everybody's there? The Bible tells us 'The wicked cover the Earth like a cloud.' By the way, you might be wondering who is Gog and Magog? Look in Ezekiel 38, verse 16 - matter of fact, you need to read Ezekiel - to understand Revelation you need to read Daniel, Zechariah - you need the whole Bible. In fact, there are 404 verses in the book of Revelation; 278 of the 404 verses in Revelation are found in the Old Testament. So what's the key to understand Revelation? You've got to know your Bible, right? Ezekiel talks about Gog and Magog coming against the people of God. Gog and Magog, you read in Genesis, they are some of the ancestors of the tribes that fought against Israel. They represent the enemies of Israel. Gog - Magog means from the matrix - or the children - of Gog. Gog was a war-like nation that fought against Israel. Magog meant 'and the children of Gog.'

So I've heard people say, 'Oh, it's Russia and China.' And Revelation is not talking about those kind of battles of nations, it's talking about the battle between good and evil, Christ and Satan, those who follow Him and those who don't. Revelation, it talks about Babylon, the mother of harlots, and her daughters. Gog and Magog - you've got the wicked and their children it talks about and that's all that's saying. It says, 'They cover the earth like a cloud.' Can you imagine just the swarms of humanity all over the planet? And those in the city - it's going to look pretty ominous for us.

Question #9: At this crucial moment, what will stop everything? Revelation 20, verses 11 and 12, "And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Who are the dead that are being judged at this judgment? That's the wicked. They're dead spiritually. Jesus said, if you have the Son, you have life. If you don't have the Son, you do not have life.

And so, that's what it's talking about here. It's not talking about - the righteous are already in Heaven, right? Our judgment happens before Jesus comes. We're judged based on Christ's merits and His righteousness and His blood. When the Lord comes, and some are being caught up to meet Him in the air, do you think Jesus is taking people up in the air - taking them up into Heaven and saying, 'Hope you guys enjoy this, we're going to judge you later?' So we're, obviously, saved. There is some kind of judgment that happens before Jesus comes.

Is that clear? The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:17, 'Judgment must begin at the house of God. And if it begins at us, what will the end be of those that know not the Gospel?' That first judgment happens among those who claim to accept Jesus.

So what are we judged according? Those things written - now the books that God has, you know, we think about books like what you might have in your hands or how we do our Bibles - God is using words that we can understand. I don't know what kind of amazing, sophisticated mechanism God has for recording information, but I'm sure it's not paper books with ink print on them. But the Lord has a record - a perfect record - I don't know if we'll just plug in a wire into our angel and download it, because they see everything. I don't know how He's going to do it but He's got a record book of everything done. The Bible talks about a Book of Life too, right? We want our names in that book. And so, this is that great white throne judgment.

Now, I want everyone here to catch a very vivid picture of what's going on here. At this point, the New Jerusalem has come down from God, Jesus' feet touch the valley, and the Mount of Olives, it splits and forms a valley - it's the big foundation for the New Jerusalem, where the Mount of Olives used to be.

It settles down, the City of God is roughly 375 miles on each side – 1,500 miles around - 12,000 furlongs, according to the Bible. Didn't God promise Abraham, 'I'm going to give you this land?' And He pointed out the land around Israel. He gave him certain borders, if you read that. Do you realize the New Jerusalem will completely encompass the borders of the Promised Land that God said He'd give Abraham? That's why the Bible says, 'Abraham looked for a city that had foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.' Abraham lived in tents. God said, 'I'm giving you all this land.' Abraham said, 'I don't want it for 175 years, which is how long he lived, he said, 'I want it forever.' And when he gets that land he's going to get it because the capital of the universe is going to be right there where the New Jerusalem comes down. All the saved are in this city - big city. All the lost are outside the city. Jesus is inside the city with the redeemed. The devil is outside the city.

All the good angels are in the city. All the bad angels are outside the city. Do you know what that means? We will all meet again someday. There's going to be a moment when everybody who has ever lived will look each other in the eye and we will all be alive at the same time. And you can imagine - now this period of time - I don't think it's going to happen in twenty minutes, this may take days.

It says, 'Satan is loosed from his prison for a season.' You know, a day with the Lord is like a thousand years. I don't know how long this season is - long enough for the devil to rally an army. Why is God allowing Satan - why doesn't he just kill him when he comes again? Why does He allow him time to do all that? Keep in mind, you need to look at things through an angel's eyes. Those angels in heaven, they knew Lucifer for a long time. They loved him. And now God is getting ready to not only destroy Lucifer and all of his angels - these are the fallen angels who used to be friends with saved angels, right? They were all together at one point. God is going to have to cast them all into this lake of fire.

The Lord is going to demonstrate to everybody alive, before He throws the lost in the lake of fire, that He has no other choice. Because even after the devil has a thousand years to think about what he did, when he sees Jesus come back, does he say, 'Lord, it was - I don't know why I did it. It was so crazy. So dumb. Please forgive me. How could I do such a thing?' Does he repent? Or like little Napoleon, first chance he gets he wants the throne again. God has no alternative. During that time of that great white throne judgment, there'll be some conversations outside the city. People are going to be there who maybe knew about Jesus - even went to church - but they never really surrendered fully to Christ and folks are going to say, 'You knew these things. Why didn't you tell us? Why didn't you follow it? Why didn't you live it?' And the demons are probably going to be chasing Lucifer around and saying, 'This is where you got us by listening to you. Look at what happened to us because of our listening to you.' There's going to be all kinds of very interesting conversations that will happen.

So everybody is going to all be - you know, the Bible tells us in Matthew chapter 25, verse 31, Jesus said, "When The Son of Man comes in His glory, He'll sit on His throne and He'll judge the nations and He'll separate them as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. Sheep'll be on the right hand - nothing personal, you guys - goats on the left hand. I guess I'd say 'Nothing personal' to the goats. But He separates them. And this - you notice - in this picture that Jesus gives in the parable, everybody's there - sheep and goats. There's a grand white-throne judgment where everybody is present. And as they prepare to launch this attack on the city of God, Jesus is exalted above the city where everyone can see Him on His throne.

And that takes us to our next question - #10: What will happen after the wicked are judged? Their lives will pass before them in a panorama of the sky. The Bible says, in Romans 12, verse 11, "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God." You find a similar verse in Philippians 2, verses 10 and 11, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father." Again, Revelation 19, verses 1, and 2, "I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying,...true and righteous are His judgments." So everyone will ultimately declare what God is about to do is fair.

So back to our picture. Everybody is present, right? All the wicked are outside the city. Now you might - someone's going to ask a question - 'The righteous, Pastor Doug, they get glorified bodies. When God resurrects the wicked, what if they died in a plane crash? How - what kind of bodies do they get? Do they come back, you know, all sewn back up, kind of half together like zombies or something?' God is going to reassemble them, probably with their old bodies so that they are alive and can appreciate what's going on. But, you know, they won't even be able to commit suicide. It says they'll seek for death and not be able to find it. That's kind of a hard thing to imagine. Not until they're judged - you won't even be able to take your own life at that point.

And so, during that time, when they prepare to launch this assault on the city of God, Jesus is exalted above the city, this battle is paused. The Lord will make every person's life to pass before them. In the heavens where all can see, above the New Jerusalem, they'll see Jesus coming into the world. They'll see His perfect life. They'll see that He taught everybody what they need to do to be saved. They'll see Jesus' sufferings at the hands of Lucifer and the way that the devil was so filled with this love for power and Jesus was so filled with the power of love. They'll see the contrast between Christ and Satan so clear. Can the Lord save a thousand people at one time, like at the day of Pentecost? Yeah, the Holy Spirit can reach several hearts at one time. I hope it's happening now. Can the Lord judge a million at one time? Yeah.

So this great white-throne judgment, everybody gets personal attention, but it's going to be simultaneous. Their lives'll pass before them and it'll happen in a way where you'll be aware of the lives of those around you. God's going to give the supernatural discernment to everybody then, so they're going to be very clear on what He did.

Question #11: What will happen next? After God shows the issues - shows people their sins - shows His goodness, everyone bows down and they say 'Jesus is Lord.' Even the devil will finally be constrained by the justice of God to bow down and declare that Jesus is Lord. It'll be harder for him than anyone.

And, at that point, the devil jumps back to his feet and he says, 'It's our last chance! Take the city!' They come against the City of God. It tells us in Revelation 20, verse 9, at that point God has no alternative, does He? "Fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them." Again, Revelation 20, verse 15 - and it tells us, "And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." As that fire rains down around the New Jerusalem - New Jerusalem's got big walls. It's safe. Even with molten outside the city, everyone inside is safe. And all the wicked are going to be punished according to what they deserve and anyone not found in the Book of Life is thrown into the lake of fire.

The Bible says, "This is the second death." So quickly - and that's, by the way, Revelation 20, verse 14. Let's review what happens now to Mark out the millennium. We'll just put a little chart up on the screen to give you a quick picture of 'How do you separate this period of time?' At the beginning of the one thousand years, you have the first resurrection and the second coming, right? And then, at the end, it's the second resurrection and the Holy City comes down. During the one thousand years, the righteous are in Heaven. We're looking at the books. We're asking questions. We're judging, so that when the judgment happens, we're all in agreement saying, 'True and righteous are His judgments.' And then after the one thousand years, fire comes down - it's called the executive part of the judgment, when people receive their penalties.

Question #12: After the fire goes out, what will God do for His people at that time? The Bible tells us that the Earth, now, has been covered with the ashes. Malachi chapter 4 says 'Behold, the day comes that will burn as an oven and all the proud, yes, and all who do wickedly will be stubble. The day that comes it will burn them up. It will leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you who fear My name shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and you will go forth and tread upon the wicked for they are ashes under the souls of your feet.'

So what happens? Do we continue treading on ashes or does the Bible say - Isaiah 66:17, "For, behold, I create a new Heavens and a new Earth." Wherein dwells righteousness. We will get to see Him making this new Heaven and this new Earth, amen? Won't that be exciting? And then read also Revelation 21, verse 1, "And I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth: for the first Heaven and the first Earth were passed away." And the Lord wants you in that city, friends. 2 Peter 3, verse 13, "We, according to His promise, look for new Heavens and a new Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." Blessed are the meek; they will inherit the Earth. We will get to watch Jesus making the world all over again - even more beautiful than before because He's going to give us an upgrade. God, Himself, will dwell with us, amen?

Question #13: Where will God and the righteous finally live? Revelation 21, verse 3, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them." God is going to live with us. Instead of this just being another world, the Lord is moving the capital of the universe to this planet and that's why we will reign with Christ. Won't that be wonderful, friends? At this point, all of this is behind us. The meek will inherit the Earth.

The question is, where will we be? the Lord has brought you to these meetings. You're watching now - you're here now because He wants you to accept his gift of everlasting life that He's offering. He has a special plan for your life, that He can only mobilize and activate when He returns and when you surrender your life to Him. It begins now. Would you like to make that decision tonight, friends? You can have that. We don't have to fear all the pain and darkness in this world if we give our lives to Jesus.

We're going to close with prayer in a moment but I'd like John to come out and he's going to sing a verse of a familiar spiritual that I think will give us all some encouragement.

There'll be no dark valleys when Jesus comes.

There'll be no dark valleys when Jesus comes.

There'll be no dark valleys when Jesus comes

To gather His loved ones home.

To gather His loved ones home.

To gather His loved ones home.

There'll be no dark valleys when Jesus comes

To gather his loved ones home.

Amen. Aren't you looking forward to that day, friends? No more dark valleys. There'll be no more problems - no more sorrow. I want to be ready for that time. You know, I know the Holy Spirit has spoken to you tonight because we've looked at some big landmarks in prophecy talking about the time just ahead when Jesus comes. We're talking about what's going to happen in the great judgment. We know that there is a judgment that even takes place before Jesus comes. We need to cast our vote for Christ before He comes if we're going to be ready when He comes.

I want my name written in that Book of Life, friends, don't you? Is that your prayer? Is that your desire? Can we ask Him together tonight? Could you bow your heads with me? Father in Heaven, Lord, my heart is stirred as I consider these important themes of prophecy - being reminded that we are living in a very solemn time - that soon this world is going to be a place of darkness where only death and evil are bound. We want to be ready when Jesus comes. To be caught up to meet You in the air to receive glorified bodies - to have that gift of everlasting life. Be with each person here, Lord. I know that there are different struggles represented in their lives.

Please bless them in their families. Bless them in their homes. Bless them in their health and, most of all, in their spirit. And there are some who are even watching now, Lord, and your Holy Spirit is striving with them. I pray that each of us will resolve, in our hearts, to pray with Jesus that prayer: 'Lord, not my will, Thy will be done.' That we will surrender our hearts to You - repent of our sins and be filled with Your spirit. We thank You. We believe it's possible. We believe it can happen because we're asking in Jesus' name. Amen.

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