The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE DOOM OF SATAN
- In Revelation 20, John gives us only a few of the details of the millennial kingdom. The prophecies of Isaiah and some of the other Old Testament books give us much more detail.
- It is from John that we learn our Lord's reign will last for one thousand years (20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
- In Revelation 20:7, John takes us directly to the conclusion of the millennial kingdom when Satan shall be loosed from his prison.
- Here is a lengthy but very interesting quote from John Walvoord: "On being relieved from his confinement, Satan loses no time in resuming his nefarious activities and plunges into his campaign to deceive the nations of the entire earth. These who are tempted are the descendants of the tribulation saints who survive the tribulation and enter the millennium in their natural bodies. B. F. Atkinson believes infants born during the millennium will live to its conclusion and will not be required to make a choice between the devil and Christ until the end. The children of those entering the millennium far outnumber the parents, and undoubtedly the earth is teeming with inhabitants at the conclusion of the thousand-year reign of Christ. Outwardly they have been required to conform to the rule of the king and make a profession of obedience to Christ. In many cases, however, this was mere outward conformity without inward reality, and in their inexperience of real temptation they are easy victims of Satan’s wiles. The golden age of the kingdom will last a thousand years, during which righteousness will reign, and peace, prosperity, and the knowledge of God be universally enjoyed. But this will not entail universal conversion, and all profession must be tested… Will not a thousand years under the beneficent sway of Christ and the manifested glory of God suffice to render men immune to his [Satan’s] temptations, will they not have radically changed for the better, and become by the altered conditions of life and the absence of Satanic temptations, children of God and lovers of His will? Alas! It will be proved once more that man whatever his advantages and environment, apart from the grace of God and the new birth, remains at heart only evil and at enmity with God" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- Revelation 20:7-9 certainly does not line up with the popular saying, "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better" -- Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie (February 26, 1857 – July 2, 1926), a French psychologist.
- Another Frenchman, the writer Victor Hugo said this, “In the twentieth century war will be dead, the scaffold will be dead, hatred will be dead, frontier boundaries will be dead, dogmas will be dead; man will live. He will possess something higher than all these -- a great country, the whole earth, and a great hope, the whole heaven.”
- Well, the twentieth century has come and gone and war is not dead.
- The twentieth century gave us many wars, including WWI and WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
- Plus 20,000,000 killed by Joseph Stalin, and 40,000,000 killed by Mao Zedong, and many others killed in wars all over the world.
- It has been estimated that the number of people killed during the 20th century by government actions could be as high as 400 million. This includes deaths caused by wars, genocide, and mass murders.
- These horrifying statistics make Victor Hugo's predictions seem ridiculous. We wonder how such a brilliant man could be so confused. It is because he did not understand the Bible!
WHY WOULD GOD LET SATAN LOOSE? (20:7)
This is a question that has perplexed Christians. Robert Govett gives four reasons why Satan must be loosed after a thousand years:
- To demonstrate that man even under the most favorable circumstances will fall into sin if left to his own choice.
- To demonstrate the foreknowledge of God who foretells the acts of men as well as His own acts.
- To demonstrate the incurable wickedness of Satan.
- To justify eternal punishment, that is, to show the unchanged character of wicked people even under divine jurisdiction for a long period of time (The Apocalypse Expounded, pp. 506-8, cited by Walvoord).
GOG AND MAGOG (20:8)
- Verse 20 says, the devil "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."
- The nations are referred to as “Gog and Magog” (20:8). The context indicates this is not the same prophecy described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
- The battle described here is entirely different and separated by at least a thousand years from that of Ezekiel’s prophecy.
- Ezekiel predicts Israel will be invaded by a great northern power called Gog, which, from certain geographical indications, is easily identified with Russia. Gog and Magog are here used in a wider sense than in Ezekiel, and their invasion differs greatly in time and details.
- In the prophecy here in Revelation 20, Gog and Magog are used to designate the nations, not merely from the north, but from “the four quarters of the earth” (20:8).
- Satan is prominent in this prophecy in Revelation 20, but he is not mentioned at all in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
- In Ezekiel 39, the men of war will die on the mountains, and their bodies will be buried. However, here in Revelation 20, the rebels that follow Satan will be devoured by fire from heaven, and their judgment will be instantaneous (20:8, 9).
- Both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach that Christ’s reign will be a reign of righteousness, during which evil will be not tolerated, but will be promptly crushed (20:9).
- Regarding the term "Gog and Magog," Walvoord says a "plausible explanation is that the expression is used much as we use the term 'Waterloo' to express a disastrous battle, but one not related to the historic origination of the term" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- In 1815 the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (then part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but now in present-day Belgium).
- Ever since then, the term "he met his Waterloo" has meant to meet one's end or to be defeated. Satan's "Waterloo" is described here in Revelation 20:9 and 10.
- The word “camp” refers to those engaged in battle, and here in Revelation 20:9 this great host of rebels led by Satan will surround the camp of the saints and "the beloved city" (Jerusalem).
- During the tribulation period, Jerusalem is referred to as "Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified" (Rev. 11:8). But when our Lord returns, Jerusalem once again will be "the beloved city" (20:9).
- The Lord will allow this army to assemble and encircle the beloved city. Then He will send fire down from heaven and destroy them like He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Walvoord says, "Thus ends also the false theory that man under perfect environment will willingly serve the God who created and redeemed him. Even in the ideal situation of the millennial reign of Christ, innumerable hosts immediately respond to the first temptation to rebel. This is the end of the road for the nations who rebel against God as well as for the career of Satan" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
SATAN WILL BE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE (20:10).
- Many people have this idea that Satan is in hell right now, but that is not true.
- First Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
- Satan is not in hell now, but after the millennial kingdom, and after his final rebellion, he will be cast into the lake of fire (20:10).
- There he will join the beast and the false prophet, who will precede him by one thousand years.
- This is yet another Scripture affirming the doctrine of eternal damnation, since both the beast and the false prophet are still in the lake of fire when Satan joins them, a thousand years after being cast into it.
- The Word of God plainly declares that death is not annihilation and that the wicked will exist forever in eternal torment (cf. Rev. 14:9-11).
- John Walvoord says, "There would be no way possible in the Greek language to state more emphatically the everlasting punishment of the lost than that used here in mentioning both day and night and the expression 'for ever and ever'" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- The lake of fire which God has prepared for the devil and the wicked angels is also the destiny of all lost sinners who are deceived and misled by Satan (II Cor. 4:3, 4).
- Three times in this passage, Satan is referred to as the deceiver (20:3, 8, 10).
- Satan himself was deceived, then he set out to deceive others (Isa. 14:12-14; Genesis 3:1-5).
- And this has been the pattern ever since. Second Timothy 3:13 says, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
- The devil is a master of deception (Rev. 12:9).
- I mentioned the Battle of Waterloo. There are many interesting stories about that famous battle.
- It has been said that on the morning of the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon stood gazing upon the field of battle as he described to his commanding officer his strategy for that day’s campaign. "We will put the infantry here, the cavalry there, and the artillery here. At the end of the day England will be at the feet of France, and Wellington will be the prisoner of Napoleon."
- After a pause, the commanding officer said, "But we must not forget, sir, that man proposes, but God disposes."
- With arrogant pride, Napoleon stretched his body to full height and replied, "I want you to understand, sir, that Napoleon proposes and Napoleon disposes."
- But God sent heavy rain and hail so that the troops of Napoleon could not maneuver as he had planned, and on the night of battle it was Napoleon who was the prisoner of Wellington, and France was at the feet of England.
- "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble" (James 4:6; I Peter 5:5).
- Following the battle of Waterloo, the news of the outcome was transmitted by the use of lights across the English Channel to anxious Englishmen on the other side.
- The words were spelled out, "Wellington defeated . . ." and then a thick fog moved in over the English Channel.
- England thought the battle was lost and the dreadful news was spread quickly, throwing the people into great despair.
- But when the fog eventually lifted they could see the final word, "Wellington defeated Napoleon," and the mood in Great Britain changed from tragedy to triumph. The whole country rejoiced as the news was relayed. Napoleon had been defeated.
- Some people have heard inaccurate reports: "GOD DEFEATED." It certainly seems that way sometimes as this wicked world plunges deeper and deeper into sin and spiritual darkness.
- But if we look at things from God's perspective we can see the message says, "GOD DEFEATED SATAN" (cf. Revelation 20:9, 10).