Bound in the Abyss

Scripture: Revelation 20:1-15
Date: 03/15/2003 
This sermon focuses on the Bible's teaching on the Millennium with a special focus on Revelation 20.
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Note: This is an unedited, verbatim transcript of the live broadcast.

Today’s message is called Bound in the Abyss. And it’s dealing with the subject in one of the last chapters in the Bible, chapter 20 of Revelation. Sometimes referred to as the millennium. The word millennium doesn’t really appear in the Bible. It’s the thousand years is how you find it referenced in the Bible. Now every great story usually involves conflict between the good guy and the bad guy. And in most cases at some point during the story it looks like the good guy is losing; and that he’s being abused and mistreated and overwhelmed by this bad power. And of course, one wears a white cowboy hat and the other one wears a black cowboy hat. We all know how that goes. But then near the end of the story the tables take a turn. And suddenly, somehow the good guy is empowered, the bad guy is overthrown and they live happily ever after. That doesn’t always happen in this life. Not all stories work that way. But the Bible story does sort of end that way.

In the theme of the millennium, or the thousand years, what you have is the great finale, the great climax of the battle between good and evil. Now in the study of the thousand years it's different and many of the other prophesies and themes you look at in the Bible. Let me tell you why. Once the period of the thousand years begin, people are not being saved anymore. The lost are lost, the saved are saved. Nobody is changing teams anymore. It comes on the conclusion of the tribulation. And so it's different in that sense. And so what's happening is it's a time of demonstration, at a time of vindication, and it's a time when the bad guy loses the good guy wins.

So I'd like to begin by going to the Bible. I want to re-read, with maybe a few comments. Please turn to Revelation 20. Most of the information that you find on the millennium can be found in the 20th chapter of Revelation. I will say what I'm going to say and I'll tell you what I said, then I'll say it again. Sometimes a little repetition and will help us in this complex study. We read in Revelation 20 that an angel comes down from heaven with a key and a chain. Now before we get to that, I want you to back up just a few verses. In 19 it talks about this rider on a white horse. Who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Who is that? Jesus comes. He is the rider on the white horse. He destroys the wicked with His coming. And the Bible tells us that at the time of His coming the righteous are caught up.

You can read just the last verse of chapter 19, verse 21. And it says, “The rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of him who sat on the horse.” The word of God is that sword. “And the birds were filled with their flesh.” It's talking about some great slaughter. We'll get to that in a minute. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven.” Now when an angel comes down from heaven every other time in Revelation he comes down to what? To the earth, right? This angel comes down from heaven and he's got a key. A key represents control, power. He is able to stop and commence circumstances. “A key to the bottomless pit,” and we'll explain later what that is. “And a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on that dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan.”

Now, is there any question about who is that's been chained? We've got what, four words here? Dragon, Satan, devil, serpent. We know who this is. “And he bound him for 1,000 years. And he cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up and set a seal upon him so that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years are finished. But after these things, he is loosed for a little season.” And it doesn't tell us exactly how long that period is, but for a short period of time. “And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them. In 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, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and not received his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for 1,000 years.” That's where we get the name millennium. It's a composite of two Latin words, mili and annum. “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years are finished. This is the first resurrection.”

Having said that, I want to begin to go through a series of questions with you and we're going to divide the millennium, or the thousand years, up into three parts. Part number one is dealing with, what happens at the beginning of the 1000 years. And we'll talk about what is happening during the 1000 years, and what happens at the conclusion of the 1000 years. To start with, what events marked the beginning of the 1000 years? Well, you can read in I Thessalonians 4:6, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.” The Lord comes down. And it tells you in verse 16, it says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” So we've read that, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” That's in Revelation 20. Who are those in the first resurrection? The dead in Christ rise first.

Now Revelation tells us there are two separate resurrections. And it's the dead in Christ, or the believers, who have died with faith in God, the saved. They are the ones that come forth in the first resurrection. And then what do they do? It says in 20:4, “They live and reign with Christ 1,000 years.” These people now have their glorified bodies. What's happening to the rest of the dead? Verse five tells us, “But the rest of the dead.” I want to pause right here. If the dead in Christ are the ones who are in the first resurrection, who are the rest of the dead? There are only two categories: the saved and lost. So the rest of the dead are the what? The wicked, the lost. “The rest of the dead do not live again until the thousand years are finished.” I need to stop you again. I want to make sure you're processing with me. Does this imply they do live again when the thousand years are finished? At least for a little while, right? They don't live until the thousand years are finished, which means after 1,000 years, they do live again. And we'll find out more about that.

When it says, this is the first resurrection, it's talking about the dead in Christ. The ones who rise when Christ comes down, that's the first resurrection. The rest of the dead don't live until the thousand years are finished. Keep in mind, whenever you translate from one language to and other, some languages structure sentences differently than we do. I don't speak German, but I understand in German, they will say, “Throw the cow over the fence some hay.” Well for us, it sounds like you're throwing the cow over the fence. In Spanish, they don't say white house, they say house white, casa blanca. Am I right? That fool you that it says, “This is the first resurrection.” It's referring to those who are resurrected. So the millennium is the term we use for this thousand-year period. It begins with the first resurrection. It concludes with the second resurrection.

I'm going to use this question and answer format because it helps us. What else will happen at the first resurrection? A number of things are going on. Matter of fact, we won't cover them all, but will cover many. The Bible tells us in I Corinthians 15:51-53, “We will not all sleep, but we shall be changed,” we’ll all be changed, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible.” Furthermore, we read in II Thessalonians 2:8, “And then that wicked one will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the brightness of His coming.” Now we see what's happening. The dead in Christ are getting glorified bodies, like Christ's body. There changed in the moment. They're caught up; they're living and reigning with Christ. Now the fact that says they live and reign with Him 1,000 years, does that mean they die after 1,000 years? Or do we live and reign with Him in a different way, in a different place for 1,000 years, and that’s why it specifies it like that? We’ve got our glorified bodies. We’re living 1,000 years. We’re never going to die again. It says when He comes down, so shall we ever be with the Lord.” But for 1,000 years we live and reign with Him in a different place.

Now this is where much of the Christian world starts to get confused and some part ways. And I’ll try to nail down what I believe the Bible teaches. Don’t miss these next scriptures on what the condition of the world is after Jesus comes and the millennium begins. It says there’s a great earthquake, Revelation 16:18, 20, 21. “Such as was not since men were upon the earth.” You figure not seven or eight on the Richter scale. Figure 20 on the Richter scale. “So mighty an earthquake, and so great.” So much so that it tells us, “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found, and there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone the weight of a talent.”

I was watching on the History channel, when they built this great airport in Japan. It's the biggest man-made island in the world. A little amazing fact for you. They have earthquakes every now and then in Japan. They had to use rocks that were about a ton each under this massive island that they built that is several miles in dimension. Because when they have earthquakes dirt and land can liquefy as it shakes. Did you know that? That doesn't mean it turns to water, but it acts and behaves like liquid. Well, this earthquake that comes when Jesus comes liquefies mountains and islands. It just shakes the foundation of everything. They were very thankful when they had the Kobe earthquake that they had built this Japanese airport so that it could withstand that kind of an earthquake. But the earthquake that is coming when Jesus comes is going to be a much bigger scale. Amen?

We also read, Revelation 19:17, about that feast of the birds. “And I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather together for the supper of the great day of God, that you might eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of captains and the flesh of mighty men. Now I know that’s kind of grisly, but this is talking about what’s happening on earth. Is anyone alive on earth when the millennium begins? No, but some people aren’t clear. We’ll give you more scripture on that in a minute. It’s at this point that the Lord has come down, all the wicked on earth are destroyed by the brightness of His coming, the dead in Christ are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, Satan then is chained. “I saw an angel come down from heaven having the key to the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and he chains him, he binds him for 1,000 years.”

Now we’re going to find out more about what that binding is, and what those chains are in just a moment. But basically this world then it becomes a prison and it’s plunged into blackness. Now when I was growing up back in 1965, I lived in Manhattan. How many of you remember this big blackout they had in New York City? You may not have been there. I was in it. And it just happened to be a night when my mother left my brother and I at home. How old was I, dear, in 1965? I was eight years old, home alone. My brother was 10. All the lights went out. No power. Telephone stopped working. Some of them kept working, but if you had an electrically powered or amp telephone it stopped working. You’ve got two boys running around the house looking for a way to illuminate the house with candles. And mom is gone. It was a night to remember. But what happened in our home was nothing compared to what was going on all over the city. There was confusion and chaos and everything sort of came to a standstill because there was no light. This world is plunged into a state of confusion and chaos and everything. The regular activities of the devil are brought to a screeching halt. You know why? He’s got nobody to tempt or manipulate.

Now the Bible says that he is bound in the bottomless pit. The actual word that you find in the original language is abusos. And it’s where we get the word abyss. Friends, I don’t know how to tell you except to tell you that when the King James’ translators conjured up the word bottomless pit they must have just decided to get colorful as they neared the end of the Bible. It could be also because the word abusos is sort of a nebulous word. It means a yawing chasm, a void, a state of primeval chaos. Don’t miss that translation. A state of primal chaos. And this is what the earth’s condition is during the 1,000 years. Now that same word, if you ever want to understand a word in the Bible you need to go to other places where that word is used. In Luke 8:30-31 it talks about these demoniacs that were filled with legions of devils. How many of you remember this story? And they came to Jesus and they asked for deliverance, and Christ was going to cast the devils out. And the devils said, “Please, do not cast us out into the abusos.” Now that word in Luke is translated the deep, the nothingness. And what the devils were saying to Jesus is, “Do not cast us out with nobody to possess.” What does the devil do when he has nobody to posses? Then the devils said, “Please, cast us into this heard of swine.” Devils operate; they’re spirits and the spirits cannot really do much effective in this world unless they possess some living creature. You’ve heard about haunted houses? Devils really are not interested in haunting rocks and 2x4’s. That doesn’t’ mean anything to them. They can’t do much with it. They typically like to possess living creatures: serpents, humans, pigs in this case. So when it says, “Do not cast us into the deep,” it meant the nothingness.

Let me give you another verse. Luke 11:24, Jesus is speaking, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man he goes through desolate places seeking rest and finds none. And then he says, I’ll return to my house from which I came.” When he goes out of a person he says, “I’ll go back to my place.” Otherwise he’s in desolate regions. The bottomless pit is when the devil is bound on this planet with nobody alive to tempt or manipulate. Now if that makes sense say amen. What it means is he’s basically bound by circumstances. Let me give you some scriptures. II Peter 2:4, “For God did not spare the angels who sinned, but He cast them down to hell and he delivered them into chains of darkness.” There are those chains again. Jude 1:6, “The angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness.” And then of course, Revelation 12:9, “Satan, who deceives the whole world, is cast to the earth.” So he’s restricted to the earth already. He’s restricted further when all the living are taken out of the world. The living wicked are destroyed. That’s why he is bound. For 1,000 years this world, our planet, is a prison house of confusion.

Now this is something I think is real important for us to understand because, let me tell you what much of the Christian world believes. Not necessarily the majority, but many Christians. They believe that the millennium is spent with Christ reigning on earth with the righteous. That we live and reign with Jesus on earth. And we are reigning over the wicked. Now stay with me. First of all, how many of you would consider it paradise to live on this planet and reign over the wicked for 1,000 years? That’s not my idea of salvation. That’s not my idea of being redeemed. I want to be saved from the presence of sin and sinners. And this concept that we are reigning over the wicked, that’s not heaven. When Jesus says we’ll live and reign with Him it means we are going to share in His glory as sons of God over the universe. Because we’ve been transformed into the image of His Son.

Another thing I want you to consider. What direction do we go when Jesus comes back? We are caught up to meet Him in the air the Bible says. “The dead in Christ rise.” Jesus said in John 14, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am,” the place He’s gone to prepare, “you will be also.” So is it clear that when He comes back He’s scooping us and He’s taking us out of this world? We’re going to have an out of this world vacation.

Another reason I want you to notice. The condition of this planet will be such that nobody can survive. What is the condition of the planet during the 1,000 years according to the Bible? That’s our next question. Isaiah 24:1, “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty.” Now the Bible is prophesying a time when the earth is what? Does the Bible say here that God is going to make the earth empty at some point? That’s what it says. “He maketh it waste. He turneth it upside down. I beheld the earth and lo it was without form and void.” Now that sounds like back in Genesis, doesn’t it? Keep reading. This is all one passage. “And the heavens and they had no light.” He goes on and he says, “I beheld the mountains and lo they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld and lo there was no man and all the birds of heaven were fled.” That means they were here, but they’ve gone. “The fruitful places of wilderness and all the cities were broken down.” What broke them down? “The presence of the Lord and by His fierce anger.” Now here it’s describing one place it says the earth is empty, another place it says all the cities are broken down. There is no man. The birds are all fled. And it’s happened by the presence of the Lord.

Keep reading, Jeremiah 25:33, “The slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other.” Is that just a problem in Israel or is it everywhere? The earth is empty, the slain of the Lord, there is no man alive, from one end of the earth to the other, they shall not be lamented, neither gathered nor buried.” Nobody is alive on earth to mourn them and conduct funerals. Now according to the popular Left Behind scenario for the last days, the righteous are secretly raptured up, the wicked live on earth, and during that time, they've got the tribulation that we are saved from. This is what I don't believe. And then at the end of that seven years we come back down to earth. We live and reign over the wicked for 1,000 years and then God makes a new heaven and a new earth. According to that scenario, is the earth ever vacant? No, there's always someone alive down here, always something going on. It doesn't fit. Show me a scripture that says we live and reign with Christ on earth. Show me a scripture anywhere it says we spend the millennium on earth. It doesn't say it anywhere in the Bible. It's clear from the context that we go to heaven.

Now why is Satan bound here on Earth? Think about it. Satan has said, “I'm going to be the ruler of this world. My government is better than the government of God.” The whole battle and the great controversy between good and evil is over, who has the better government, who is a better leader. And Satan said, “It’s me. My policies will bring us more freedom and happiness.” For 1,000 years, Satan is going to have to roam to and fro through this planet with nobody to tempt or manipulate. Could you imagine a workaholic with no work to do? I mean Satan's always busy, isn't he? He's got nothing to do. Now, is he alone? Or does he typically get bound with his angels? Satan and his angels are cast to the earth. Can you imagine all these fallen angels, Satan told them, “Follow me and I'll put you in charge, and I'll give you great position and we'll be happier. We'll have great freedom.” He's got to listen to them chase him around the planet for 1,000 years. “You said you had a better idea.” So he is there beholding all the destruction and the darkness and the dead bodies for 1,000 years.

Now there's something I want you to think about from history that plays into this, and I think you'll be intrigued by it. I think most of us have heard about Dr. George Washington Carver. I thank him every day for the invention of peanut butter. Not only for the kids’ lunch, but for my breakfast. But you know how he came up with that? He didn't sit back one day and say, “I need to make something new so I can patent it and make a lot of money.” The crops in the South, through over farming, were depleted of all the nutrients. He was a specialist in studying agriculture and botany. He learned that there are some crops that you can plant; I believe it was sweet potatoes, peanuts, and a few other things, that would be cover crops that would put nitrogen back into the soil. He could not get the Southern plantation owners to believe, this black scientist, that he had a way to save their crops. For one thing, they said, “What are we going to do with all these peanuts?” He had to develop ways for them to use peanuts. And he developed 300 different ways to use peanuts. But the whole idea was they were over farming their land and cotton took all of the nutrition out of the soil. He was telling them, “Let your crops rest, and grow cover crops, and grow peanuts to put the nitrogen back in.”

You know, in the Bible, God had a plan for dealing with the depletion of the vitality of the soil. The Lord said, “Six years you're supposed to sow your land, gather in the fruits thereof, but the seventh year.” The what? “The seventh year, you shall let it rest and lie still, that the poor of the people might eat.” Now the children of Israel did not want to follow that law. God told them to let it rest, but they kept farming year after year after year. And they did not let the land keep Sabbath. Well, by the end of Hezekiah's reign, during the time of King Zedekiah, God said, “Enough is enough.” The Bible says Nebuchadnezzar the king came. They had already destroyed the northern kingdom by the Assyrians. Then they came to Judah in the southern kingdom. You read in II Chronicles 36:19, “They burnt the house of God and break down the wall of Jerusalem. They burnt all of the palaces thereof with fire. And them that escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon.” And it goes on to say, “Until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths.” The people had not been letting the land keep Sabbath once every seventh year. They had been breaking that. ”So as long as she lay desolate she,” the land, “kept Sabbath to fulfill three score and 10 years.” So 70 years that they were in Babylon, the land was keeping Sabbath. Do you understand that? It wasn't being farmed. Everyone was carried off.

The Bible says in Nehemiah 1:3, what was the condition of Jerusalem during that time? “The walls of Jerusalem were broken down, the gates are burned with fire.” So this land, the Promise Land that God had created, it was broken down, burned with fire. What's the condition of the world during the 1,000 years? It's keeping a thousand years Sabbath, isn't it? For 6,000 years the Lord has been sowing the seed of the gospel. Doesn't God work on a principle of six you work, one you rest? Does not the Bible say in II Peter 3:8, “A day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day”? For 6,000 years. Christ has been sowing the gospels seed. He is pictured in Revelation coming to harvest the earth. After He harvests the earth the earth is desolate, the cities are broken down, just like Jerusalem was. For 1,000 years we live and reign with the Lord in a golden city. The children of Israel that were carried out of Jerusalem went to golden Babylon, didn’t they? We're going to the real Jerusalem not the counterfeit Babylon. So for 1,000 years they live and reign and then at the end of that time they come down and God builds a new earth, doesn't He? What happened after the 70 years when the Lord had the land of Israel keep Sabbath? It says they went back and they rebuilt the city and the Temple. There is a scenario there; there is a parallel there, in the Old Testament of what's happening.

Now back to our study. Where are the saints and what are they doing during the 1,000 years? Well, we've already said that we live and reign with Christ. What does that mean? I get tired flying one hour in an airplane. Can you imagine sitting on a throne a thousand years? Would that get old? Is that all we’re doing? The Bible tells you, Revelation 20:4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat up on them, and judgment was given unto them, and they live and reign with Christ for a thousand years.” What we learn one thing, they're judging. I Corinthians 6:2-3 says, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” And you can read in chapter 1 of Jude, there’s only one chapter, verse 6, “And angels, who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” I Corinthians 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” And so here it says that we are living and reigning and we are judging with Christ. I Corinthians 4:5, “Therefore, judge nothing before the time until the Lord comes.” Stop right there. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not judge.” “Judge not lest you be judged.” Is there ever a time for the saints to judge? For one thing, there are times when we are to use judgment even in this life. Jesus said, “When you judge use a righteous judgment.” But there is a day when our title will be judge. When we live and reign with Christ, we are judging. Now here it tells us, “Judge nothing before the time comes until the Lord come.” What's implied there is after the Lord comes we will do some judging. Doesn't that seem clear?

“Who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the councils of the heart.” So during this time of the 1,000 years what is brought to light? Things that are hidden and the councils of the heart. Let me see if I can explain what’s going on during that judgment. How many of you know that there are going to be three big surprises when we get to heaven? Should we be worthy of that resurrection. Number one is that you’re there. Surprise number two is there are some people there that you are shocked to see there. And I’ve always thought about some of the examples of that. For instance, can you imagine the look on Stephen’s face when he is raised up and there he sees Paul? And the last time he saw Paul, he was throwing stones at him. And Stephen is probably going to say to his angel, “You guys usually do real quality work, but you've made a mistake here. Obviously he doesn't belong here. He was killing Christians last time I saw him.” And what will happen is, the angel will take him to the heavenly video archives, or however they do it. He'll say, “Let me show you what happened.” I'm sure it's going to be 3-D and he'll play back the vision of Paul's conversion forced even to see.

And there will be a number of scenarios like that where people are going to be surprised about how folks were converted. Isaiah the prophet was sawn in two by King Manasseh, wicked King Manasseh. I say is going to get to heaven, his two halves will be whole again, and there he'll see Manasseh who repented before he died. And he's probably going to be thinking, “Did I get in the wrong resurrection? What’s he doing here?” So the angel will then play back how Manasseh was carried off to Assyria and he repented and he turned back to God and he had a real change of heart.

The third surprise is there's going to be some people missing that we thought would lead the parade. What about that large group that will say, “Lord, Lord,” and He’ll say, “I don’t know you.” So many people who have said “Lord, Lord,” and He says, “Depart from me you who work iniquity.” That's a large class of people according to Jesus. He said, “Not everyone that says unto me, ‘Lord Lord,’ but they that do the will of my Father in heaven,” they’re the ones in the kingdom. So Jesus said those things that are done in secret will be shouted from the mountaintops. Is there coming a day where if our sins are not under the blood of Jesus, during the millennium, they're open for anybody to view? Isn't that right?

Who is raised, then in the second resurrection? We already know if they are dead in Christ they're in the first resurrection. Who is in the second resurrection? John 5:28, I remember being surprised to learn the Bible teaches two resurrections. But it really does. Jesus said, “All that are in the grave shall hear His voice and come forth. They that have done good unto the resurrection of life.” And then He goes on to say, “They that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” If you read in Daniel 12 it says, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” It talks about two separate resurrections. I prefer it that way, don't you? I don't want to come out of the grave with my glorified body in a cemetery surrounded by a bunch of lost, decrepit bodies. I'd rather just go have all those saved go to heaven together first and enjoy that, right? Otherwise, it could sort of dampen your joy. What if you're in a family cemetery plot, if everyone came out together, some get glorified bodies and some are resurrected. I don't know, people always ask me what kind of bodies to the lost have when God resurrects them? I don't know, I think He sort of just puts them together enough so that they know what's going on, but they obviously don't get glorified bodies, right? They're able to function. It says we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air; the dead in Christ rise first. You find that, “Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection.” “The rest of the dead,” Revelation 20:5, “do not live again until the thousand years is finished.” That means when the thousand years is finished they do live again.

What marks the close of the 1,000 years? Zechariah 14, and there are several passages here we want to look at. “But the day of the Lord comes and His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem, on the east.” And the Bible says, “and the Mount of Olives will cleave in the midst there of.” And the Bible goes on to say in Zechariah and it forms this enormous valley. When you look at the dimensions of the New Jerusalem, Jesus is basically preparing the foundation for the New Jerusalem with His feet. Isn't it interesting how consistent the Lord is? What was the last part of the planet that Jesus touched when He ascended to heaven? It says, He went up over towards Bethany on the Mount of Olives and He ascended up to heaven. The angel said, “This same Jesus will come back in the same way you saw Him go.” The next time His feet touch the ground it's the same place, isn't it? He is coming back to the very same spot where He left, except something happens. When His feet touch the Mount of Olives, it splits, probably right down to the bedrock, and it forms a great valley, about 375 miles square. And into that foundation that He's prepared the New Jerusalem descends from God out of heaven. Which is our next verse, Revelation 21:2.

This is all happening at the end of the 1,000 years. “I, John, saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” We have been living and reigning with Christ in this space city, back up where ever heaven is. Some astronomers think it's through the nebula and constellation Orion. And I'm inclined to agree. Now, when the New Jerusalem comes down, you remember what the Bible said? Satan is going to be bound 1,000 years. What does that imply happens at the end of the thousand years? He is freed. “And then he must be loosed,” the Bible says, “for a little season.” And what is it that loses him? You read and Revelation 20, the rest of the dead don't live until the thousand years is finished. Now the rest of the dead come out of their graves. Satan is there and he sees not just some of the wicked during any one generation. He sees all of the wicked, who have ever lived through every generation, all alive, all on the planet at the same time. Do you think that's going to be a lot of people? Is that the majority or the minority of those who have lived? “Straight is the gate that leads to life.” I hate saying it, but that's what Jesus said. “Broad is the way that leads to destruction.” That means that the majority of people who have ever lived are going to be in this company.

What is Satan going to do when he sees this incredible sea of humanity, this army that has listened to him? Keep in mind, these are the people who have always shown allegiance to Satan. He's going to see this incredibly loyal army and I think it's going to rouse him. He has no redeemable qualities. He can't change. What does he do when he sees the wicked are raised? You can read here in Revelation 20:8-9, “he'll go out to deceive the nations that are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog.” And it says, “to gather them to the battle, the number of whom is like the sand of the sea.” Now I want to pause here and tell you again what I don’t believe. How many of you have heard that Gog and Magog represent Moscow and the Russians and maybe China? If you have ever listened to Hal Lindsey and some of the futurist interpreters of prophecy, there is not a single, solitary thread of evidence that Gog and Magog represent anybody in those northern regions. You find reference to Gog and Magog and it goes all the way back into the book of Genesis and it refers to them as enemies of God’s people.

Take your Bibles and turn to Ezekiel. “Son of man set your face against Gog in the land of Magog.” Now what does Gog and Magog mean? Gog was a nation, a brutal nation, a very carnal people that were enemies of God’s people. Magog means from the matrix of Gog. What that really means is Gog are Magog and her children. It’s almost synonymous with Babylon and her daughters. Herodius and Salome, her daughter. Jezebel and Athalia. You’ve got the enemies of God’s people. And all of those I just listed were bent on the extermination of God’s people. Magog is the mother, Gog the children. It’s the leaders and the followers who have fought God’s people. These are the enemies of God and His people through time. And isn’t that what the wicked are? So it just identifies all the wicked of all ages as Gog and Magog. It’s very simple; there are two groups in Revelation. You’ve got those who follow Babylon and her daughters. And you’ve got those who are part of the Bride of Christ, that woman in Revelation 12.

Now look at what it says in Ezekiel. “Set your face against the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh and Meshech and Tubal and prophesy against them.” You can go to verse 9. “Thou shalt descend and come like a storm. Thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land.” It says, “The number of whom is like the sand of the sea.” Didn’t we just read that? Here in Ezekiel it says that they cover the earth like a cloud. I’m in chapter 38:9, “Thou and all your bands and many people with you.” All the bands; this is the wicked that come against God’s people. I’m going to go to Ezekiel 38:16, “Thou shalt come up against my people of Israel as a cloud to cover the land. And it shall be in the latter days, when I bring thee against my land.” Did you catch that? I’m giving you good meat, Old Testament, hard-core prophecy. But it’s still understandable. He says that this nation that’s going to cover the earth like a cloud and come against His people is going to happen in the latter days. If you understand that say amen. And he calls them Gog and Magog. So when you go to Revelation, you say, “Ah ha, this is the fulfillment of this prophecy in Ezekiel.”

Ezekiel 38:16, “Thou shalt come against my people, Israel, as a cloud to cover the land. It shall be in the latter days I will bring thee against my land at the heathen might know me.” He's getting ready to execute judgment on the heathen. “When I shall be sanctified in thee, oh God, before their eyes.” With everybody watching, Gog and Magog, the wicked are going to be judged is what this is saying. I want to jump back to verse 14 of Ezekiel 38. This is also very important. “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to God, Thus says the Lord God. On that day when my people Israel dwell safely will you not know it?” Now, get the picture. The New Jerusalem has come down out of heaven. We’ve gone to get our mansions that are in the city. You get to go and build a country home later, but the mansions are in the city. “In my Father’s house.” When the New Jerusalem comes down and settles into this valley that Christ has prepared where are we? We’re in the city. So when it says here in Ezekiel, “You’ll see when my people dwell safely.” Can you imagine being any safer than being in the city of God with Jesus? Will the wicked see that?

All right. Now go back with me, Ezekiel 38:18-22, “And it will come to pass at that same time when Gog comes against the land of Israel.” That’s coming against the New Jerusalem. “Says the Lord. My fury will show in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath I have spoken. Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. So the fish of the sea and the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep upon the earth and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at my presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, every wall will fall to the ground. I will call for a sword against God throughout all my mountains, says the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against this brother.” I’ll explain that in a moment. “And I’ll bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed.” This is before the great judgment. “I will rain down on him and his troops and on many people that are with him, flooding rain, great hail stones, fire and brimstone.” Is that clear? What is God going to do to Gog and Magog when they come against His people? He’ll be sanctified in them. It’ll happen in the latter days. They cover the earth like a cloud, the number of whom is like the sand of the sea. He will rain down upon them fire and brimstone and there will be a great earthquake and their swords all turn one upon another.

Now, I want to give you the picture of what’s going on. Revelation 20:9, “They went up on the breadth of the earth and they compassed the camp of the saints about the beloved city.” Now, get the picture of what’s happened here. Satan is loosed from his prison. Why? He now has people to tempt and manipulate. He’s got work to do. He is no longer bound by circumstances where he can’t do anything. Why is God doing it this way? Why doesn’t the Lord just destroy Satan when he comes back and we’re caught up to meet the Lord in the air? Can He do that? He’s got the power. Why does He not do it that way?

Who is the highest created being that the Lord ever created? It was Lucifer. He was exhibit A. The most powerful, the most beautiful, talented of God’s creatures. Did the other beings in the universe used to love Lucifer, before he went bad? So much so that 1/3 of the angels followed him in his rebellion. God is getting ready to cast them in a lake of fire. Does the Lord need to clearly demonstrate that even 1,000 years of imprisonment he has not changed? You know, some prisoners, you lock them up and they get out of prison, [snap] they commit the same crime right away. Satan’s been locked up for 1,000 years. Is he reformed? Does he change? What is the first thing he does after 1,000 years to behold the results of his rebellion? He has no redeemable qualities. He is so completely possessed by pride and hatred for God that he cannot change. So when God is going to execute judgment on Satan and those that follow him, He is demonstrating to the universe, “I have no choice. They are unredeemable rebels. They are absolutely sold to sin. They have no redeemable qualities.” And so the first thing they do is the wicked listen to Satan. He says, “We can take the city. There’s more of us than there are of them.” They’re desperate. And they’re deluded. You know, people, if they want to believe something bad enough they’ll believe it. And if you were in that crowd, I mean, you look around, you see there’s Alexander the Great (I’m assuming he’ll be there), there’s Julius Caesar, Napoleon’s probably going to be there. You’ve got the great military leaders of the world. You’ve got the sea of humanity. Satan marshals them. We don’t know how long this period of time is when he rallies all the wicked from all the ages. It just calls it in the Bible he is loosed from his prison for a little season. It may be weeks or months, I don’t know. Maybe they forge some of their old weapons and they’re going to launch a nuclear attack on the Holy City. I don’t know. But they do something to prepare a battle against the city of God. They say, “We’re going to take it by force.”

And Lucifer, he’s still a glorious being. He says, “That city is mine. I’m the rightful owner and that’s the enemy that took it from me.” He deceives them. He spins it all around. He’s a master at that. And just when they get ready to launch this assault on the city of God something happens. At this crucial moment what is going to stop his plan of attack? Everything’s going to change. Revelation 20:11, “And I saw a great white throne and him that sat upon it.” How many of you have heard about the great white throne judgment? Revelation 20:12, “And the dead were judged out of those things that were written in the books according to their works.” At this point in history, at this moment, Christ is going to be seen in the glory of the Father on His throne, on the right hand of power, elevated somehow above the city, where everybody can see Him.

Now friends, you need to think for a moment just about this picture. This is gong to be a time in history where I am showing you your future right now. This is an important study because you’re in the picture somewhere, aren’t you? All of the righteous and the good angels and God are in the city. All of the wicked and the lost and the fallen angels are outside the city. You’re in there somewhere. No escaping that. You remember the parable where Jesus said, “The day is coming when I’m going to separate the sheep from the goats”? This is that day. And during this judgment there will be a panorama played out in the heavens where God will show the plans of salvation. He’ll show how He’s done everything He could do to save every individual.

Now when you think of the great white throne judgment, so many people picture this line that’s a billion miles long and one by one everybody comes and all of the jury’s there and they present the evidence and everybody argues. That would take forever. God is going to judge every individual at one time. Can the Lord save 120 people in an upper room at one time? Can He save 3,000 at Pentecost at one time? Can God only save and judge one person at a time? No, He can do it by multiples. He’s not going to stretch this agony out through eternity. The judgment is going to take place so that the books are open so everybody involved in anybody’s case, their going to see the evidence. You will see the panorama of your life played out. So will everyone else. And all the times when God has striven with you through His Spirit and you’ve had opportunities to turn and to follow Him. And He paved the way and He opened the doors and He brought you to people and circumstances where you could be saved, they’ll be there. And other people who have mistreated you, if you’re in the kingdom, and persecuted you and treated you falsely and you’ve prayed for them, they’re going to see you on the walls of the New Jerusalem. The tables are going to be turned. You’re going to be justified and vindicated and they’re going to see they were wrong. Everything is going to come clean. This is the big finale where the wrongs are done right. Where the records are set straight.

And everybody’s going to see God’s goodness in stark contrast with the devil’s badness. They’re going to see the love of God contrasted with Satan’s selfishness. It’s going to be just light and day. And everybody will see it. It’s gong to be clear to every creature that God is good and what He’s done.

What will happen after the wicked are judged? The Bible tells us in Revelation 19:1-2, “Ultimately the whole universe will declare that God is good. I heard a great voice of much people in heaven saying, "True and righteous are His judgments.” You see, there’s three phases of the judgment. The first phase of the judgment takes place right now, before Jesus comes. The Bible says, “Judgment must begin at the house of God.” That’s also Ezekiel 9 and in I Peter. Let’s all face it. When Jesus comes is He giving rewards when He comes? It says, “Behold, I come and my reward is with me.” So if Christ is giving rewards when He comes doesn’t it make sense that some aspect of judgment takes place before He comes? That’s phase one. That judgment involves those who have professed to believe in the Lord.

Phase number two is the judgment that goes on during the 1,000 years, where basically we are judging God’s judgments. We’re trying to understand why things happened. How many of you are going to have 1,000 questions to ask when you get to heaven? It’s going to take 1,000 years for me to understand some things. For one thing, God’s patience with me. But then in that verse that I was showing you it says, “Judge nothing before the time. These things will all be made manifest.” And then in Romans 14:11, “He declares, As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me and every tongue will confess to God.” At that point the devil, all the fallen angels, all the wicked, everyone in the city, all the good angels, everyone is going to say, “God is good. The Lord was right.”

Philippians 2:10-11 Paul also tells us that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth and under the earth, the saved, the lost, every knee will bow at some point. Even the devil will be compelled by irrefutable evidence to get down on his knees. Remember the devil said to Jesus, “You kneel to me and I’ll give it all to you.” Now the tables are turned. He’s kneeling before the Lord and he will declare, “You are the Creator. I am the created. You are just. I am unjust.” He will be compelled to say that, even though in his heart of hearts he doesn’t want to.

And once that declaration is made and the record is set straight in that way, then what happens? What happens next? It’s very severe. The Bible tells us, Revelation 20:9, “Fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them.” Didn’t we read a minute ago that Gog and Magog are devoured? You know what else is happening at the same time? It says, “Every man’s sword turns on his brother.” You know how Gideon over came the Mideonite army? They blew their trumpets, they broke the pitchers, the lights were shining, the Mideonite army was plunged into confusion and they all picked up their swords and stabbed everybody around them.

Can you imagine the anger and the blaming that will be going on among the wicked? Kids will be blaming their parents, “It’s your fault I’m here.” And parents will be blaming their kids and their employers. And everybody’s going to be blaming everyone else that they’re lost. And the fire’s going to be coming down out of heaven and forming a lake of fire around the city. Revelation 20:15, “Whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” And that’s the devil, of course, who will be cast into the lake of fire.

So at the beginning of the 1,000 years you’ve got the first resurrection and the second coming of Jesus. That marks the beginning. It’s concluded by the second resurrection of the wicked and the Holy City descends. During the 1,000 years, this is a little bit of review, the righteous are in heaven. They are examining the books, questions are answered, Satan is bound on earth, nobody to tempt and manipulate. The earth is in a desolate, chaotic condition. Now here’s where the story gets really pretty. After the fire goes out. Will the fire burn forever? The Bible says “The day comes that will burn as an oven and all the proud and all that do wickedly,” this is Malachi 4, “will be burnt up. They’ll be consumed, neither root nor branch.” The wicked are all punished according to their works. If they all burned forever and ever then everyone gets the same punishment. The Bible says even the devil will be as though he had not been, “never shall thou be any more,” Ezekiel said.

But after the fire goes out, on the ashes of this purified planet, God says He will create a new heavens and a new earth. It says, “We’ll go forth,” from what? “the New Jerusalem and will tread upon the wicked, for they are ashes under the soles of our feet.” I’m still quoting Malachi 4. He’s going to create a new heavens and a new earth. The word heavens there means new atmosphere and a new planet. II Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless, we according to His promise look for a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” “Blessed are the pure in heart, they will see God.” “The meek will inherit the earth.” God is transporting the capitol of the universe to our planet. What a wonderful thing to consider. It says, “Behold, the tabernacle,” the dwelling place that means, “of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.”

Friends, that’s when we’re really going to be living and reigning. We’ll be God’s ambassadors as we travel through the universe and sing His praises. There will be no more sin, no more sinners, no more pain, no more suffering, no more rebellion, no more rebels. The Bible says, “Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth.” That’s why Jesus said in John 14, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Now don’t you want to be there, in that day, friends? This is going to happen in the near future. When the millennium period begins probation’s closed. Right now the doors of mercy are still open.

I’d like to suggest something to you. Everybody is going to call Jesus Lord someday. I would much rather call Him Lord now. The Bible says that thief on the cross that was next to Jesus, he turned to Him and he said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Even though he was a mess, he was a sinner, he was guilty, he repented, he confessed and he called Jesus Lord. And because he called Jesus Lord and made him the Lord of his life, that thief is going to be in paradise. I want to be in the new earth. Don’t you?

Father in heaven, I want to thank you and praise you for the good news you have given us, that there will be a day when all the wrongs will be made right, that you will be vindicated and truth will triumph, that evil will be washed from the planet and the earth made new with no more pain, no more sorrow. Lord, you’ve given us a very clear picture that there’s only going to be two groups. We want to be among the righteouses that are caught up to meet you in the air when Jesus comes. Some of us may sleep in dusty beds until that day, but we want to be in the first resurrection. We want to be in the city when the saints come marching in. Lord, if there’s anything in our lives where we have not surrendered, if there are any keys in the rooms of our hearts that we have not handed over, I pray that you will now take those and help us to be submitted to you as our Lord. Bless each of these people with the various needs that are represented in their lives. Please fill them with your Spirit. Help them to have peace that their sins can be forgiven and they can have a place in that kingdom, that Jesus has made it possible. In His name we pray, Amen.

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