THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation Chapter 20
This chapter describes the events which precede and succeed the period of the Millennial Reign of Christ. No mention is made of the Rapture of the Saints nor the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Described here are events which take place after the Rapture and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Satan Bound For 1,000 Years
Verse 1: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Verse 2: And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Verse 3: And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Satan, the once great Archangel Lucifer, the great fallen star, who was given the key to the bottomless pit (Rev.9) will now be dealt with. He had opened the pit, the abode of fallen angels, and let hell loose on earth, so to speak. But now another angel has the key of the bottomless pit and is holding a great chain in his hand. (This angel is not Jesus Christ as some believe. It can never be established that this angel is Christ, cf. Rev.10:1 and 18:1.) This angel has the authority and control over the abyss. And he has the power to overcome Satan. His purpose is to seize Satan, the Devil, that Old Serpent, the Dragon, and lock him up for a thousand years. Unlike the spirits of the Beast and the False Prophet which are cast alive into the Lake of Fire, Satan, the instigator of evil, will be seized and locked up in the abyss where certain disobedient fallen angels have been chained up since the days of Noah (cf. 2 Pet.2:4, Jude 6).
So, with a great chain in his hand the angel overpowers that Serpent and casts him into the bottomless pit. Then he shuts the pit and puts a seal over Satan to keep him from deceiving the nations of the world during the thousand years of Christ's reign. After that Satan will be set free for a short time to fulfill God's purpose for him. It is stated in Isaiah 24:21-23 that together with Satan there will also be kings of the earth taken and cast into the pit. These kings of the earth are the principalities and powers in heavenly places (Eph.3:10 cf. 6:12). They are powerful fallen angels who follow Satan closely in controlling the high places of this wicked world.
When Satan is chained up, Jesus Christ will begin to reign over the earth. As a righteous King, He will rule with a rod of iron and bring about a regeneration of the people of the earth (cf. Matt.19:28). This Age of Regeneration will last a thousand years.
Thrones and Judgement
Verse 4: And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Notice closely that this is the beginning of the setting up of the Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth which will eventually lead to the Holy City New Jerusalem being set up in the New Heaven and New Earth in the Eternal Age. After Satan is chained up Christ will set up thrones on earth (not in Heaven). John saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. The thrones speak of positions of authority. Jesus said, To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne (Rev.3:21).
Those who shall sit on the thrones and be given judgement will be the raptured saints, the Bride-Wife of Jesus Christ of every age. They are the chosen group of the Church of the Firstborn. Because they are overcomers and are faithful to the Word which they have received in their respective ages, they are given the authority to act as judges and pass sentence. They will rule with Christ and share the honour with Him as indicated by the words of Jesus Christ Himself which are recorded in the parables of Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27. Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” Well done, my good servant! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.” Each individual will be given a certain position of authority to reign with Christ in His Kingdom. Christ will determine the position of each saint according to his faithfulness towards his calling in the Body of Christ. The greater the calling that one has received of Christ the more is required of that individual.
The next group of saints that John saw was the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. These are the Great Tribulation Saints. They are mainly the Foolish Virgins who will miss the Rapture. They will be left behind because of their foolish attitude towards the Word of Truth. They are not the denominational tares, for the tares are ordained for the burning. They are those who have heard the message which calls for a separation and the message of Christ's return, and who have separated from Church-ism and its system. They are the separatists, the independents and even the so-called Endtime Message believers. But like the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they are carnally minded and are unwilling to come to grips with the Sacred Scriptures and acknowledge the Word of Truth (Matt.22:29). They are just content to hold to their religious beliefs and teachings of their churches. They would even compromise with the spirit of error just to please certain people. Truly, their white robes are stained with carnalities, false doctrines and teachings, and they do not even know it. Therefore, they will need to go through the Great Tribulation to be purged and then give their lives as a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev.7:9-17; cf. Eph.5:27). Though they fail to cloth themselves with THE SPIRIT and THE WORD, they have the witness of Jesus. With them are the Faithful Jews who have the word of God. They all shall overcome Satan by dying for their faith in that dark hour of the Great Tribulation when the Beast will be given the power of Satan to speak and to force the people of the world to worship him and its image. All of them will die in the faith as they refuse to bow to the Beast and its image.
This second group of saints will not have the same authority as those in the first group who sat upon thrones. Yet, they will be resurrected to reign with Christ for a thousand years. This is God's hierarchy. (We shall later see the placing of those in the lower ranks as God works toward the Eternal Age.)
The Prophet Daniel saw a vision parallel to this vision seen by the Apostle John. He wrote: I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened (Dan.7:9-10).
It is important to note that right after this vision of the thrones scene (which was shown to John) comes the judgement of the nations of the earth. Though the Apostle John did not see a vision of it, Daniel did. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Dan.7:13-14). The Prophet Isaiah also prophesied of it: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isa.2:4).
All nations will have to stand before the Throne of Christ to be judged by Christ and His Wife. The twelve apostles will judge the twelve tribes of Israel and the saints will judge the rest of the people of the world (cf. Matt.19:28; 1 Cor.6:2). When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matt.25:31-46).
Jesus Christ is not the shepherd of these nations of people. But as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats He will divide the nations of people. He will give life to the sheep to live in the millennial Age of Regeneration. These sheep people are those who show love and kindness to Christ's brethren, the Jews and the Christians. To the goats he will pronounce judgement and sentence them to everlasting fire. These goat people are those who have no regard for the Jews and the Christians. They will not immediately be cast into the Lake of Fire to be burnt when the sentence is passed but rather they will die in that curse. And in hell (the place of the wicked dead) they will wait for the time of their resurrection when they shall stand before the Almighty God at the Great White Throne to give an account of their sins.
When the judgement of the nations is completed then is fulfilled the words of Daniel 12:11-12: And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days and Revelation 11:15: And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
The First Resurrection
Verse 5: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Verse 6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
What is the first resurrection and why is the saint who has a part in it called blessed and holy?
Unlike the second resurrection, the first resurrection comprises three phases. The first phase of the first resurrection has already taken place. It took place on the day when Jesus rose from the dead three days after He was crucified and buried in the grave. While His body was lying in the tomb upon His death, the soul of Christ descended into the heart of the earth, known in Hebrew as sheol, the place of the departed dead. Standing there in the midst of all those souls in the prison house of Satan, He preached the Gospel and testified of the Word that He was sent to fulfill and had accomplished (cf. 1 Pet.3:19). Then He went right up to Satan, took the keys of hell and death (Rev.1:18) from him and began to unlock the prison doors of the spirits of His saints. Set free from the captivity of Satan, these saints became the captives of Jesus Christ (cf. Eph.4:8). Then something happened in the City of Jerusalem as Christ led His saints out of the prison house of Satan. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many (Matt.27:51-53). These many bodies of the Old Testament saints have ascended to the paradise of God. This is the first phase of the first resurrection.
Later in the days of the Apostle Paul, many Christians were troubled about their departed loved ones and about the resurrection of the dead. These questions had to be answered and God gave His apostle a revelation concerning the resurrection of the Bride of Christ. Paul stated precisely in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words, and in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Those were the words of an Apostle and they had not been written down anywhere by anyone before him. And no man challenged Paul and asked him for a quote from the Old Testament to prove his teaching. But the revelation was there; the consistency of Scriptural Truth was there. So, let a man prophesy and let his words be judged. Amen.
This second phase of the first resurrection has yet to take place. It will take place when our Lord Jesus comes to take His Church up in the Rapture. We are living at the end time when this event will soon take place. Just before Christ comes to take His Church, the Seven Thunders shall utter their voices specifically to the saints who have prepared themselves. These would be the saints who have separated from the prostituting churches Mystery Babylon the Great Harlot and her Harlot Daughters, and who are contending for the Apostolic Faith once delivered to the saints. These saints would have made themselves ready as Christ's Wife by the time the Seven Thunders shall utter their voices. Because they have hearkened to the Spoken Word of God for the hour and have received the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, they will certainly be ready and waiting to receive the revelation of the Truth that the Seven Thunders shall speak. The Spoken Word from the Seven Thunders will give the Bride-Wife the rapturing faith for her transformation. She will have a revival and it will be hid from the eyes of the people of the world. Then the dead in Christ shall rise incoruptible from their graves as a testimony to the living saints who, in the twinkling of an eye, shall be changed from mortality to immortality. Then together they will be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air.
They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” This statement refers to the Great Tribulation saints who will form the third phase of the first resurrection.
Let's recall. The first resurrection has three phases. In the first phase many of the Old Testament saints arose during the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the second phase the dead in Christ shall rise first and then together with the living saints they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. In the third phase the martyred saints shall rise up after the Great Tribulation period is over. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Notice. But every man in his own order [rank or turn]: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (1 Cor.15:23). The holy saints who shall rise in the first resurrection are deemed blessed and holy because they are assured of eternal life. The second death will not have any power whatsoever to claim any soul who shall rise in the first resurrection. These souls are set apart from the rest of the souls of mankind. So, blessed and holy are these saints for they shall be priests of God and of Christ and they shall rule with Him for a thousand years. This is certainly blessedness of a higher degree and a complete eternal consecration of God.
The Second Death
What is death? Death is the cessation of Life. Man consists of spirit, soul and body. To put it simply, the spirit is in the soul which is in the body. The First Death occurs when a person stops breathing (the air of life in the body is gone). The soul, together with the spirit, will leave the body. The Second Death occurs when the soul is cast into the Lake of Fire. The spirit (of life which originates from God) will leave the soul and return to the Life-Giver as the sinful soul is burnt and destroyed in the Lake of Fire the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezek.18:4). There is no such thing as an eternal hell where souls are burned but do not die. Life cannot exist in Death. The essence of all wicked and sinful souls will be completely annihilated in the all-consuming Lake of Fire, never to exist anymore.
Yes, the second death will have no power over those who shall be raised to life in the First Resurrection, for all these resurrected souls will receive immortal life and will not be judged nor condemned. They will all be worthy to put on Glorified Bodies, and be a part of the Wife of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule with Him for a thousand years. And after the thousand years, the rest of the dead will then be raised and be judged at the Great White Throne. Read Revelation 20:11-15 and Daniel 7:9-10.
The Millennial Age of Regeneration
Now, during the thousand years of the Age of Regeneration the earth will be renewed into the Edenic condition (which will be realized in the Eternal Age the New Heaven and New Earth) by sweeping changes prophesied in Isaiah 11:1-10 and 65:18-25: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; thy shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.
Satan and his hordes of demons will be bound during this period of a thousand years as Christ brings about a new creation upon the earth (Rev.20:1-3). The ordinary natural life and living conditions on the earth will continue during this period. But all nations will come under the rule of Christ and there will be peace and security throughout the whole earth. While the Lord's Christ will rule from Jerusalem over His people, Israel, and over all the nations of the earth, His Redeemed and Glorified People (His Wife) will rule with Him in their respective places of authority all over the earth. The Gentile saints will rule the country from which they are taken (Matt.19:28; Rev.3:21). During this period, the natural people who are the subjects of the kingdom shall give birth to children to replenish the earth (cf. Ezek. 47:22). There will be no death from ageing but punitive action will be taken against rebellious sinners. Those who commit a sin worthy of death will be executed. Poisonous creatures will be rendered harmless and wild carnivorous animals will eat grass. Mankind will gradually revert to eating herbs and fruits of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles (Zech.14:16-19). Yes, The Lord Is There in Jerusalem (Ezek.48:35). And Life shall flow from Jerusalem because the Shekinah Glory of the Lord dwells therein. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Truly, those who trust and obey the Laws of the Lord during His reign of a thousand years will live forever, but the days of the rebellious ones shall be cut short. While sin will still be found in individuals, Satan will not be around to form a fellowship of sin. But right after the end of the thousand years, Satan will be let loose from his imprisonment for a little season to serve the purpose of God.
The Battle of Gog and Magog
Verse 7: And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Verse 8: 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.
Remember that Satan has always desired to be worshipped as God. As such, he is always trying to put God down and to tear down what God has set up. He hates God's authority. He knows God's authority is in Christ and His saints. Satan will go forth all over the earth to deceive and cause the nations under the thousand-year Reign of Christ to rebel against that authority. No, Satan will not build another Beastly Kingdom nor another organization for False Prophecies. Those two evil spirits would have been cast into the Lake of Fire to be destroyed. They will no longer exist on the earth. Satan will just go out there among the nations of people all over the earth and, with lies and hoaxes, deceive them in joining him for war, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (Many Bible readers are confused by the words Gog and Magog. They try to fit them in with the battle recorded in Ezekiel chapter 38 and 39, which is actually a different battle that will be fought prior to the Rapture of the Bride of Christ. The word Gog denotes that which is proud, powerful, large, huge, rebellious, and anti-God in nature; and the word Magog symbolizes the great number of the people of the same land.)
Can you imagine an innumerable multitude of people being deceived? Can you imagine nations being deceived after they have tasted the righteousness and the peace and knowledge of Christ's rule for a thousand years? But God has to weed out the rebellious nature of mankind once and for all before He brings in the New Heaven and New Earth. Every taint of sin must be eradicated. Though the people will have gone through a thousand-year period of 'de-hybridizing' by God's Word and be cleansed of their 'original sin' nature, the faith and loyalty of these nations of people (children born to mortal people in the millennium) have not been tested. Therefore, Satan must be let loose to test them. And a large number, as the sand of the sea, would be deceived and mustered for war against the Christ and His saints.
Verse 9: And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
This battle is actually not much of a battle. As the army of Satan-led nations manoeuvre to their positions around the camps of the saints all over the earth and the city of Jerusalem for the battle, God immediately sends fire down from Heaven to consume them right where they are standing. The saints of God do not even have to lift a finger.
This battle brings the Age of Regeneration to an end. The result of this Age of Regeneration is the preservation of a regenerated nations of mortal people who shall live eternally in a natural realm. These nations of people are those who will not be deceived by Satan into rebelling against Christ and His saints. They will be regenerated by the Words proceeding from the Throne of Christ during His reign. They will receive the revelation of the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ and will walk in the light thereof. And these mortals will go into the Eternal Age in their natural bodies. They will inhabit as nations of natural people on earth in the New Heaven and New Earth.
Verse 10: And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
With the destruction of the great and powerful camp of the proud, the rebellious, the anti-Christian and anti-God people, the Devil that deceived them will finally be consigned to the Lake of Fire, where the beast and the false prophet are. Remember, the Lake of Fire was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt.25:41). Except the spirits of the Beast and the False Prophet, no other being is cast into the Lake of Fire before Satan is cast into it. Other fallen spirits which are kept in chains in the bottomless pit will also be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire together with Satan (cf. 2 Pet.2:4, Jude 6; 1 Cor.6:3). It is not known how long that eternal fire will burn for ever and ever in order to consume these fallen spirits. But these spirits will be burnt out of existence ultimately.
The Great White Throne Judgement
Verse 11: And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Verse 12: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Verse 13: And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
This vision should be imprinted in the mind of all Christians. This is the great judgement in which everyone who does not make the First Resurrection will be judged. They must appear before the Almighty God Who sits on His Great White Throne. This will be the last and final judgement where sin will be completely dealt with. Notice that there is only One Throne and not three thrones. And you will not see 'Three Persons' of Father, Son and Holy Spirit sitting on the Throne. But the Him that sat on it is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all judgement is committed. The Fullness of the Godhead is invested in Him. He has the absolute authority of the Eternal Spirit to sit on the Great White Throne as the Supreme Judge.
In this vision the Apostle John saw not only the Great White Throne and the Almighty One sitting on it but also the earth and heaven vanish from His presence. The scene marks the dissolution of the earth and its heaven (the atmosphere). Their present corruptible state will be transformed into a glorious and incorruptible state. All the handiworks of man will vanish from the sight of the Almighty One sitting on the Throne. All traces of sin will be burned up. The Apostle Peter has warned of this impending judgement in his epistle: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. all these things shall be dissolved, the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Pet.3:7,10-13).
The Second Resurrection
After the dissolution of the heaven and earth had taken place John saw also the dead, small and great, stand before God; And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” Other than those who have already been resurrected in the First Resurrection, all who ever lived and died must come forth out of their graves and stand before the Judge Who sits on the Great White Throne. This is the Second Resurrection where the Second Death has the power to claim any soul whose name is not written in the Book of LIfe.
And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Notice that the dead were judged according to their works and not on anything else.
Verse 14: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Verse 15: And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
This Second Resurrection is the resurrection which the Apostle Paul sought to avoid when he said: If by any means I might attain to the 'out-resurrection' [or earlier resurrection] from among the dead (Phil.3:11, Greek text). He sought to be part of the First Resurrection because Blessed and Holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and they shall reign with Him a thousand years. In the Second Resurrection, the Second Death will have the power to claim life as it is stated that whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. But whosoever whose name is found written in the Book of Life is given Eternal Life. This is a fact that no one can deny. This is the resurrection where two groups of people will stand in judgement, and one group shall be given eternal life and the other shall face the second death. This is the general resurrection which Jesus spoke about when He said: Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all 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 (Jhn.5:28-29). The dead are judged according to their works which are recorded in the books of works and all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life would then be cast into the Lake of fire.
But who are those people whose names are written in the Book of Life? They are the Elected Ones who have a certain FAITH-relationship with God and His Word. For an understanding, let's take a look at Cornelius. Cornelius was a man who did not worship idols, but one who was devout and God-fearing (see Acts 10). As a Gentile, he obviously did not know about the God of Abraham, otherwise he would have been circumcised and be a proselyte of Judaism. Yet, God showed His Grace to Cornelius and gave him the Gospel. Cornelius was indeed a blessed person. For others who do not have this privilege because they live outside the scope of Bible lands or Bible time, God's election still stands (Rom.9:11 cf. 11:2-8). Read Genesis 18:25; Proverbs 11:18-19,30; 14:32; Psalms 58:11 and 112:5-7.
However, among those who have a FAITH-relationship with God, there are many whose names will be removed or blotted out; for some have turned from God to idols (Exod.32:30-34; Ezek.3:20; 18:24,26; 33:18), others have rejected the very Messiah in whom they claimed they believed (Psm.69:21-28); and those who, in the process of time, would reject the Word of Truth and pay homage to the Beast or its Image (Rev.13:8). Consider these words of Jesus: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt.7:21-23).
Those whose names are not blotted out from the Book of Life are like those sheep people (described in Matthew 25:31-46) who will be judged at the end of the Great Tribulation and given Life to enter into the Age of Regeneration. Note that these righteous souls who shall stand in the Great White Throne Judgement are not Holy Ghost Filled Christians of the Church Ages (otherwise they would have followed the Message for their respective ages and be resurrected together with the Endtime living saints at the Coming of Christ), nor are they holy people like Moses, Abraham, Sarah in the Old Testament time who had a deep and intimate FAITH-relationship with God and were led by the Word and the Spirit of God.
Now, consider this question of Paul: Have ye received the Holy Ghost SINCE you believed? (Acts 19:2). Paul was addressing the believers of the Gospel. Truly, there were many Gospel believers throughout the ages, who had never received the Holy Spirit. They believed the Gospel, repented of their sins, and were sanctified by the Spirit, but did not have the INDWELLING PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jhn.14:17; Mk.1:15; Jhn.1:12-13; 20:31; Rom.10:8-13). Without the indwelling presence of the Spirit, many were as carnal as Hymenaeus, Philetus and Alexander. They wandered from the Truth and blasphemed God (1 Tim.1:20; 2 Tim.2:17 cf. Heb.10:38-39; 1 Cor.3:1). Yes, like Judas Iscariot, many were anointed; like the worshippers of old who offered sacrifices for their sins, many were justified; and like a filthy vessel made clean, many were sanctified; but they had not received the Holy Spirit. They were not filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore they will all be judged according to their works (cf. 1 Cor.10:11-15), and whosoever was found written in the Book of Life would be given Eternal Life that the purpose of God according to election might stand (cf. Rom.9:11). And this group that is redeemed and given eternal life will also have immortal bodies. They will be a part of that HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM which is revealed in Paul's words: But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly [Grk: paneguris, all-assembly] and church [Grk: ekklesia] of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb.12: 22-23). However, they will rank lower in God's eternal Kingdom.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Death and hell (the place or state of the departed souls) will be burned up. They will be done away with. There will be no more hell as there will be no more death. They will be annihilated. This marks the end of all the enemies of God Satan, evil spirits, sin, hell, death, etc. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
After the Great White Throne Judgement, time ceases as eternity begins. Remember that the Lord Jesus has never been an Eternal Son of God. He is the Begotten Son of God. As such, the Sonship ministry has its end just as it has its beginning. Having fulfilled all that have been written of Him, Jesus now commits the redeemed Kingdom back to the Eternal Spirit the Heavenly Father that the FATHER may be all in all as it was in the beginning. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all (1 Cor.15:24-28 cf. 1 Cor.11:3).
As the Eternal Age rolls in with the New Heaven and New Earth, Jesus Christ will then take His place at the head of God's family of children as the Eldest, the Firstborn among many brethren (cf. Rom.8:29; Eph.5:23; Col.1:18). Yes, we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom.8:17). Jesus Christ will always be our Lord though He Himself is under the Headship of the Almighty God. As sons and daughters of God, we are His brothers and sisters. Each one of us will have a royal position in the Eternal Kingdom of Yahweh as we reign together with the Lord Jesus Christ.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Revelation Chapter 21
Back to Chapter List