When Satan Dies - Part 2

Scripture: Revelation 20:, Nahum 1:9, Malachi 4:1
This broadcast continues a study on what the Bible says about the millennium spoken of in Revelation 20. What happens during this time? Where are the righteous? Where are the wicked? Where is Satan and his evil angels?
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Today we're going to continue our study of the future millennium of peace when God's people will be with him, in the place He prepared for them. That's the paradise home in Heaven. At the second coming of Christ, all the righteous will be taken there. We learned also that the wicked will be destroyed at His coming and the earth will be turned into a chaos. During the 1,000 years the righteous are in heaven. There's a period of orientation, if you please, a period of rest. The Bible tells us that during this time the righteous will have access to the record books. You know, I have an idea that on the trip to heaven there will be some puzzled expressions on the faces of some because I have an idea that we may look around and be just a bit surprised at some of the folk we see, folk that we never thought would be there. Ah, friend, you and I have no business sitting in judgment on anyone else, do we? God is the judge. If you and I could see into a man's heart and see into his motives, then perhaps we could be in a position to judge. However, we shouldn't judge anyone else.

During these 1,000 years the righteous are going to have access to the books to see why it is that some whom they thought would be there, aren't. You see, in God's great plan, when it's all over and sin and sinners are finally disposed of, the demonstration is going to be so complete in the minds of all that never will affliction rise up again the second time, as the Bible says in Nahum 1:9. Never again is sin going to arise. Why? Because the righteous are going to be so satisfied that God's way was best, that God did the only thing with the emergency of sin that He could have done. Therefore, there is a period of 1,000 years when the righteous will have opportunity to look through the record books and see why those are lost who are and those are saved who are. Christ gives His reward at the second coming, and death seals our destiny. I think there need be no misunderstanding here.

During the 1,000 years, conditions upon this earth are not what we would call ideal, "without form and void," dark, empty, no one here but the Devil and his colleagues. The wicked dead are in their graves or strewn upon the earth, and the righteous are in heaven. Now, what happens at the conclusion of the 1,000 years? As we read on in the book of Revelation the 21st chapter, we discover here the prophecy of the return of the saints to this earth and the return of the New Jerusalem, because it's going to settle here on the earth. The New Jerusalem comes down to this earth with Christ and the righteous within. What happens when it does? The 20th chapter continues the narrative. "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison" (verse 7).

Now let me see how closely you have been following. If the thing that chained Satan here, that tied his hands, was the fact that he had no one to tempt and nothing to do during the 1,000 years, then what would it be that loosed him? You say "a resurrection" and of course that's right. We've already discovered that the wicked are resurrected at the close of the 1000 years (verse 5). So when Christ returns and the New Jerusalem comes down, the wicked are resurrected. We will discover why as we read further. Satan "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" (verse 8). And here is a key verse: "And they (the wicked) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them." (verse 9). Satan is loosed, he marshals his armies, and I can imagine him saying as he sees the righteous inside the city and Jesus, whom he hates desperately, "All right, this is our last chance." He has the great war lords from the beginning of time, many great, mighty and intelligent men who have been lost because they have not accepted Jesus Christ. I can imagine him marshaling his forces and saying, "Look, let's go take the city away from them. There are more of us than there are of them. Let's take the city, and it will be our home throughout eternity!" But then fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. Sinners, the devil, and all trace of wickedness, of filth, of the contagion of the epidemic of sin from this earth, are eradicated, and the earth is purified.

I want to tell you friend, where I want to be when Satan dies. I want to be inside that city, and I want you to be there with me. That's why we're preaching these messages day after day,

Someone might be asking, "Why is it that God is going to resurrect the wicked again seemingly just to destroy them? I think we can understand at least a reason or two. You remember, we mentioned a moment ago that everyone is going to be satisfied when this whole drama comes to an end that God's way is best and that God did with the wicked the only thing that a loving God could do. They wouldn't be happy in heaven; it wouldn't be fair to take them there. Neither can He be just and loving and merciful and kind and torture them throughout eternity. What else could God do but cause them to be as though they had not been?

The wicked are resurrected and the last act of their lives is an act of rebellion as they go up and try to take the city from the redeemed. Then it is that fire comes down out of heaven and devours them. I believe that there will be satisfaction in the minds of those within that city that God has done the only thing with the sin problem that He could have done. The demonstration is going to be complete and satisfying.

I have an idea there are going to be some tears shed there. The Bible says "God will wipe away all tears from their eyes." I don't think God is going to blot out some brain cells and say, "Now just forget about those loved ones outside the city." I believe there are going to be some tears shed on that day, but God is going to wipe them away; and one thing that will help to eradicate those tears is the knowledge that God in His mercy and love and justice did the only thing that a loving God could do.

Friend, it seems to me at this point that this puts a tremendous responsibility upon us for our loved ones, friends, neighbors. How we long to have them inside that city with us when the wicked and Satan and his evil cohorts are destroyed. Every righteous person inside is saved forever. Every wicked person outside is lost forever. When I use the term "wicked" here, I'm not thinking merely of deviates and professional criminals, but rather those who have walked in the pathway of partial obedience, those who have said, "Well, I'll get this close to what God expects, but I wouldn't want to go all the way. I think my way is good enough." Remember, there is no middle ground in this controversy. There are only those who have gone all the way with Jesus Christ and those who have not. I think the Bible is too plain here for us to misunderstand.

Although the Bible gives no details of it, still it is possible that before the wicked are finally destroyed God is going to open before them a great panoramic view of the plan of salvation. The Bible says that before the wicked are destroyed every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, that God's way was best, and it seems likely on the basis of that verse and some of these other verses in the latter part of Revelation 20 that God is going to open a great panoramic view here. The books are opened and the plan of salvation is rehearsed before them. I like to think of it as God's great panorama there, perhaps set in the sky above the New Jerusalem. There before the wicked are destroyed, they see re-enacted, as it were, the plan of salvation.

I can imagine their seeing Eve walk up to the tree, tempted and deceived as she is by the evil one, reaching up to take that fruit and that great throng shouting out in chorus, "Eve, don't touch it!" Knowing as they do now all the evil that would follow in its train. Before long they begin to see the effect of the curse of sin upon the earth: Cain slays his brother. Death haunts our planet. One after another of the great dramas in the plan of salvation is enacted before their eyes. Then they see God sending His son and Jesus walking up that hill, carrying a cross on His shoulder, dying so that they would not have to. They see what they could have had and have lost because of their unconcern. You know, I'm convinced the more I study this great facet of the plan of salvation that the punishment of the wicked is not going to be as much in the physical torment which they endure when they are devoured by the flames which fall (Revelation 20:9), but rather by the unutterable anguish as they recognize what could have been theirs inside the city, which they lost. "Fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." Malachi 4:1 says it will "burn them up." Nahum 1:9 says it "will make an utter end." They'll be "ashes," as "though they had not been." They'll "consume into smoke." God is going to bring to an end the reign of sin. He's not going to perpetuate sin and pain and agony upon this earth. He's going to bring it to an end. That's the reason for the second coming of Christ. We believe something less than the truth about God if we fall for the deception that God is going to torment men throughout eternity. God is going to restore everything to what it was in the beginning. You remember our text in Acts 3:21, when Jesus comes it will be a time of "restitution of all things" as it was in the beginning.

During the millennium the saints have had an opportunity to look over the record books and discover how good God is in His dealings. Every knee bows; every tongue confesses God's way was best after all. Then "fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." And the earth was purified and made holy again. The rebellion against the government of heaven is forever over. All are satisfied. Sin and sinners are no more. One pulse of beauty and harmony beats through the entire universe. The righteous look forward to a glorious eternity with their Lord. "God's tomorrow," friend, "will be better than today." When Satan dies, I want to be inside that city. When the wicked are destroyed, I want to be inside, protected. I want to have my loved ones with me and my family and my neighbors and every one of you. I wonder today how many of you with me would like to say, "By the grace of God, it's my desire that when Satan dies I, too, am going to be inside the walls of that Holy City"?

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